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palace of Westminster

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From the time of Edward the Confessor to the early years of the reign of Henry VIII, Westminster was the main royal residence. The palace grew up around the abbey built by the Confessor on Thorney Island and consecrated in December 1065, a week before the king's death. William Rufus built the great hall and first held court in it in 1099: it was reroofed by Richard II and for centuries was the home of the law courts, the place of impeachments and state trials, and the venue for the coronation banquet. By the 15th cent., the palace was a rabbit warren of rooms and corridors, swarming with servants and lawyers, and liable to flooding. After the fire of 1834, only Rufus' great hall was left.

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