Stunning Cathedral in St Albans
Alban, Britain's First Saint, is not well known and despite its role in British history, St Albans Cathedral does not have the high profile it merits. With help from the Lottery Heritage Fund and over 1000 donors, this significant and magnificent structure towers in the St Albans skyline. A visit to St Albans Cathedral is a must.
Ever Changing Ever Growing
Little is known of the early churches built over Alban’s grave. The Shrine of St Alban was the reason for the Abbey’s foundation and the town that grew up around it. It is said that King Offa of Mercia founded a monastery here in 793. After the Norman invasion of 1066, William the Conqueror appointed Paul of Caen as the first Norman Abbot of St Albans. He commissioned a new church and started the great rebuilding of the Abbey with the Tower, which still stands today. The Norman church was built from bricks and tiles saved from the ruins of Roman Verulamium. This ambitious project was completed in 1115, under the rule of Abbot Richard d’Albini. At 85 metres long, it has the longest nave of any cathedral in England.
The only English pope, Adrian IV, was born locally and granted special privileges to the Abbey. In 1213 St Albans Abbey was the meeting place for a group of churchmen and nobles. Their discussions led to Magna Carta which was reluctantly sealed by the king at Runnymede in 1215.
Living & Learning
The medieval Abbey was famous as a place of learning. The monks who lived here produced high quality manuscripts in a workshop called the scriptorium. These included bibles and books on science, music and classics. St Albans Abbey was closed in December 1539 and most of the buildings were destroyed. The shrines of St Alban and St Amphibalus were demolished and Alban’s relics disappeared. In 1553, the people of St Albans bought the church for their own use. However, the upkeep was expensive and by 1832, the Abbey was in a very poor state. Luckily, wealthy Victorian benefactors paid for the building to be repaired. This included remodelling the West End, removing medieval features and replacing the statues in the High Altar Screen.
In 1877 this local parish church became a cathedral and the seat of the Bishop of St Albans.
An amazing place to visit.
- Mon 8.30am - 5.30pm
- Tue 8.30am - 5.30pm
- Wed 8.30am - 5.30pm
- Thur 8.30am - 5.30pm
- Fri 8.30am - 5.30pm
- Sat 8.30am - 5.30pm
- Sun 8.30am - 5.30pm
Opening Times may vary due to events.
- Food and Drink
- Disabled Access
- Entrance Fee