St. Albans, Hertfordshire

St. Albans was the Iron Age settlement and then Roman town of Verulamium. It was an important place with the status of a 'Municipium'. St. Alban was a Roman soldier. executed for converting to Christianity after sheltered a priest in his house. He was buried in a cemetery outside the old town walls and it was around his mausoleum that the Saxon and medieval town grew up. A church had been built over his grave and his shrine attracted pilgrims. King Offa turned it into a rich abbey. The present building is largely Norman, but you can easily see how it was constructed using vast numbers of recycled Roman tiles. King Henry V's brother is buried there. It's most famous abbot was the leprous Richard of Wallingford, something of a medieval Eynstein. He invented a clock which was way ahead of its time. The city is also well known for its Roman Museum and the Fighting Cocks Inn which is reputed to be the oldest in the country.

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