The City of St Albans
Explore the ancient market town of St Albans
Where is St Albans
St Albans is a thriving Hertfordshire city full of history and charm. Medieval buildings and alleys open into a market place where on a Saturday and Wednesday there has been a market for over 1000 years.
Yet St Albans is just 25 miles north of London just outside the M25 orbital road. This closeness means that today, fast trains can reach the capital in around 20 minutes and St Albans has become a prime residential city and a beacon for commuters with a population of around 130,000.
Why is it called St Albans?
Centre stage in the City is the Cathedral and Abbey Church of St Alban. Alban was Britain's first Christian martyr. Consequently pilgrims have been coming to St Albans since Saxon times when King Offa founded a Benedictine monastery to enshrine the remains of the saint.
Alban lived in the roman city of Verulamium in the 3rd century. According to tradition, Alban was executed for helping a Celtic priest escape persecution by exchanging clothes. The Cathedral now stands on approximately the site where it is believed that Alban met his fate by the blade of the executioners sword.
Execution of Alban by Matthew Paris
The Saxon Abbots promoted pilgrimage and began providing guest houses and care for the sick and developed the town very much as we see it today. Matthew Paris writing in his chronicle suggests that the town was created by the Abbot Ulsinus in 948. The Abbot diverted the old roman road Watling Street to go up and round the Benedictine Abbey and built three churches at the entrances to the new town; St Michaels, St Stephens, and St Peters (shown in the picture above)
St Albans Today
St Albans is a fine city with a multicultural community which we as Rotarians are proud to serve. It has a uniquely long history and a varied architectural heritage. There is something here for everyone, resident or tourist alike.
Take a look at our City in a light hearted way.
A range of walks and talks available around our historic city including the ever popular evening ghost walks. Click on the logo for more information.
The Cathedral and Abbey Church of St Alban
Created a cathedral in 1877 with a diocese covering Hertfordshire and Bedfordshire
Including the award winning Verulamium museum which houses the best roman mosaics and wall paintings in the country.
Including the Fighting cocks, often claimed to be the oldest inhabited pub in the country. There are more pubs in St Albans per square mile than anywhere else in the country. The reason is simple. Pilgrims and travellers. St Albans used to be a days ride from london and was on the old stage coach route to Holyhead(A5).
Shops and Market.
Take a stroll down our High Street
The Gardens of the Rose
The Gardens as currently developed, cover more than five acres. Work started in September 2005. The plans, so far, include some 8,000 roses in approximately 2,000 different varieties - a veritable 'living dictionary of roses'
Discover St Albans by taking a guided walk in the warmer months and the ever popular ghost walks when its dark.
The are also first class hotels and guesthouses providing both accomodation,banqueting and conference facilities. Click the Tourist information logo for more details.