History[change | change source]
Many of the Roman walls were knocked down by William the Conqueror and used to build St Albans Abbey, otherwise known as St Albans Cathedral. The town had many notable buildings but most were knocked down by Henry VIII. The only building left is the abbey. Though many other buildings have been built nearby Ye Old Fighting Cocks, which claims to be the oldest pub in the UK, a Roman amphitheatre and hypocaust floor, a disused bear baiting square in Verulamium Park, and the imposing Rats Castle at the top of Hatfield Road as well as Roman Verulanium Museum
The bones of St. Alban, the first English martyr, were kept in the Abbey in a shrine, but were stolen during the 19th century.They were smuggled out of the country into Munich. A few years ago The German Cathedral sent the shoulder bone of St. Alban and it is kept in the shrine behind a curtain
St Albans School[change | change source]
St Albans School is a public school. It occupies a site to the west of the Abbey, which includes the 14th century Abbey Gateway. The school was founded in AD 948 and is the only school in the English-speaking world to have educated a Pope. Adrian IV was the only Englishman to become Pope.
Important people from St Albans[change | change source]
- Nicholas Breakspear (or Breakespeare, c.1100–1159), later Pope Adrian IV, was born in Abbots Langley, and attended school in St Albans.
- Nicholas Bacon (1509–1579), Lord Keeper of the Great Seal under Queen Elizabeth I, built Old Gorhambury House.
- Francis Bacon (1561–1626), noted philosopher, scientist and statesman, lived at Old Gorhambury House. Bacon was styled 'Viscount St Albans' from 1618.
- Sarah Churchill, Duchess of Marlborough (1660–1744), wife of John Churchill, 1st Duke of Marlborough and close friend of Queen Anne, was born in St Albans.
- Edmund Beckett, 1st Baron Grimthorpe (Lord Grimthorpe) (1816–1905), lawyer, amateur horologist, and architect; best known locally for rebuilding the west front of St Albans Cathedral in 1880-1885 at his own expense, but also designed Big Ben. Lived at Batchwood Hall.
- Cuthbert Thicknesse (1887–1971), 4th Dean of St Albans Cathedral 1936–1955, objected to the use of nuclear weapons in August 1945, and refused to let the cathedral's bells be rung on VJ Day.
- Stanley Kubrick (1928–1999), film director, lived in Childwickbury Manor, to the north-west of the town, from 1978 until his death
- Stephen Hawking (b 1942), theoretical physicist, was educated at St Albans School.
- Sir Stephen Lander (b 1947), former head of MI5, has lived in St Albans for many years.