Saint Albans

Albon, Verulam, Verulamium

St. Albans, also known as St. Albans City, is a city in Hertfordshire, England. It’s situated north of London and was called Verulamium by the Romans.

The location of King Uther Pendragon’s last great battle.

In Geoffrey, Uther fights Octa’s and Eosa’s Saxons here, but Malory makes his enemies a collection of lesser kings seeking to usurp Uther’s throne. Uther went out into the field even though he was so sick had to be carried in a horse litter, and was victorious (in Geoffrey, Octa and Eosa were killed). Following the battle, King Uther became more ill and died.


St. Albans | 0 to 9th century

Roman Verulamium
Verulamium was a significant Roman settlement located on the site of the present-day St Albans. It was established during the first century AD and became one of the major towns in Roman Britain. Verulamium boasted typical Roman features, including a forum, basilica, theater, temples, and townhouses. The city’s layout reflected Roman urban planning principles. As a Roman settlement, Verulamium was an important center for trade and commerce. It was situated along Watling Street, a major Roman road.

Around the year 209 AD, Saint Alban, a resident of Verulamium, became the first British Christian martyr. The story recounts his conversion to Christianity and eventual execution for sheltering a Christian priest.

Anglo-Saxon Period
With the decline of Roman influence in Britain, Verulamium experienced a period of decline and decay. The Anglo-Saxons eventually settled in the area, and the town’s significance diminished. The region, including St. Albans, became part of the emerging Kingdom of Mercia, one of the Anglo-Saxon kingdoms.

Viking Raids
In the ninth century, the region faced Viking raids and invasions. The Vikings targeted various towns and monasteries in England during this period. The Vikings sacked and burned several Anglo-Saxon towns, including St. Albans. The raids contributed to the decline of existing settlements and disrubted established communities.

St Albans Abbey
In the later medieval period, there was a revival of settlement, and St Albans Abbey was established on the site associated with the martyrdom of St Alban. The Normans rebuilt St Albans Abbey in the eleventh century, marking the beginning of a new phase of growth for the city.


Sources
De Excidio et Conquestu Britanniae | Gildas, c. 540
Historia Regum Britanniae | Geoffrey of Monmouth, c. 1138
Roman de Brut | Wace, c. 1155
Le Morte Darthur | Sir Thomas Malory, 1469-1470