St Stephen's Chapel

St Stephen’s Chapel is the forgotten heart of the Palace of Westminster.  For seven centuries St Stephen’s was at the centre of the political and religious life of the nation, and its influence may still be detected today. 

As the palace chapel of the most important royal residence of medieval England, St Stephen’s witnessed the worship of kings and queens and their households.  Its college of canons combined their religious duties with service to the crown as diplomats and administrators. 

In 1548 St Stephen’s took on a dramatic new role as the debating chamber of the House of Commons.  After the devastating fire of 1834 it was reimagined by Charles Barry as St Stephen’s Hall, which is still the public entranceway into Parliament.

St Stephen's: the House of Commons and Parliamentary Democracy 1548 - 1834

In the mid-sixteenth century St Stephen's became the venue for political debate and discussion at a time when Parliament was growing in power and influence.

St Mary Undercroft

St Mary Undercroft was rebuilt in the nineteenth century and is still a working chapel within the Houses of Parliament

St Stephen's Project Virtual Model

Contemporary context

See what historians think St Stephen's looked like throughout its history

Key dates

Key dates

Find out more about the important moments in the history of Westminster Hall

Further Your Research on St Stephen's

Reference material for more in-depth research

Related information

Explore the Parliamentary Art Collection that is displayed throughout the buildings of the Parliamentary Estate.

Also within Living Heritage

The present-day Palace of Westminster, or the Houses of Parliament as it is also known, was constructed after a great fire in 1834. Find out more about its architecture and the history of the buildings that stood on the estate before the fire.

Related information

Parliament is open to the UK public and overseas visitors. Attend debates, watch committee hearings and tour the buildings