Admiring St Albans’ cathedral and ambling around a market

11 May 2013

“We’re driving up to St Albans today, Flat Kathy,” Paula told me as we climbed into the car on a very cold, overcast and blustery day. “St Albans is a pretty market town on the northwestern outskirts of London. It has a famous historic cathedral that has been a place of pilgrimage since medieval times.”

A view of St Albans Cathedral
A view of St Albans Cathedral

“St Albans was one of the largest towns in Roman Britain,” continued Morton, while tucking me into my plastic pocket, to keep me safe from the buffeting wind. We had climbed up some steps and were looking out across the town towards the Cathedral.

“During Roman times, roughly between AD 50 and 440, the town was known as Verulamium. It has a very old and interesting history,” added Paula. “There is a really good Roman museum here, where you can learn all about ancient Roman life here about 2,000 years ago.”

St Albans Cathedral is named after its patron saint, a Roman soldier who became a Christian martyr
St Albans Cathedral is named after its patron saint, a Roman soldier who became a Christian martyr

“Work began on the Cathedral during Norman times in the early 11th century, and continued through the 13th and 14th centuries.  During medieval times, the city was quarried for building material for its construction, and thus much of the tower contains bricks from ancient Roman buildings.”

Look - there's a market down there!
Look – there’s a market down there!

“The modern city of St Albans was apparently named after a Roman soldier,” Paula explained knowledgeably. “He had been condemned to death in AD 308 on the orders of Roman Emperor Diocletian for sheltering a Christian. Diocletian had ordered the death of all subjects and allies of the Roman Empire who refused to give up Christianity. When Alban, who had been converted to Christianity, was beheaded, he effectively became the first British Christian martyr.”

We walked around the Cathedral for a bit, admiring the beautiful detail, before ambling over to the market, to see whether there might be anything tasty to buy, as we were feeling a bit peckish. Despite the cold and blustery weather, the stallholders were kept busy by a steady stream of customers.

I’ve decided that I really like these kinds of markets!

Fruit and vegetable sellers, and lots of interesting stalls to be explored
Fruit and vegetable sellers, and lots of interesting stalls to be explored

2 thoughts on “Admiring St Albans’ cathedral and ambling around a market

    1. Yes, I thought so too, Sybil. I was pleased to see that English people take such pride in their history, and in preserving their beautiful old churches and buildings for future generations.

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