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St Albans () is a
cathedral city City status in the United Kingdom is granted by the monarch of the United Kingdom to a select group of communities: , there are 69 cities in the United Kingdom – 51 in England, six in Wales, seven in Scotland and five in Northern Ireland. A ...
in
Hertfordshire Hertfordshire (; often abbreviated Herts) is one of the home counties in southern England. It is bordered by Bedfordshire and Cambridgeshire to the north, Essex to the east, Greater London to the south, and Buckinghamshire to the west. For gover ...
, England and the major urban area in the
City and District of St Albans The City and District of St Albans () is a local authority district in Hertfordshire in the East of England region. The main urban settlements are St Albans and Harpenden. The council offices are in St Albans. History St Albans City and District ...
. It lies east of
Hemel Hempstead Hemel Hempstead () is a large town in Hertfordshire, England, located northwest of London, and part of the Greater London Urban Area. The population, according to the 2011 Census, was 97,500. Developed after the Second World War as a new town, ...
and west of Hatfield, about north-north-west of central
London London is the capital and largest city of England and the United Kingdom. The city stands on the River Thames in the south-east of England, at the head of its estuary leading to the North Sea. London has been a major settlement for two millen ...
, south-west of
Welwyn Garden City Welwyn Garden City ( ; locally referred to as 'Welwyn') is a town in Hertfordshire, England. It is located approximately from Kings Cross, London. Welwyn Garden City was the second garden city in England (founded 1920) and one of the first new t ...
and south-south-east of
Luton Luton () is a large town, borough and Unitary Authority situated in south east England, but in the East of England region for administrative purposes. It has a population of () and is one of the most populous towns without city status in the ...
. St Albans was the first major town on the old
Roman Roman or Romans usually refers to: *Rome, the capital city of Italy *Ancient Rome, Roman civilization from 8th century BC to 5th century AD *Roman people, the people of ancient Rome *''Epistle to the Romans'', shortened to ''Romans'', a letter in ...
road of
Watling Street Watling Street is a historic route in England that crosses the River Thames at London and which was used in Classical Antiquity, Late Antiquity, and throughout the Middle Ages. It was used by the ancient Britons and paved as one of the main Rom ...
for travellers heading north and it became the Roman city of
Verulamium Verulamium was a town in Roman Britain. It was sited southwest of the modern city of St Albans in Hertfordshire, England. A large portion of the Roman city remains unexcavated, being now park and agricultural land, though much has been built upon. ...
. It is within the
London commuter belt The London metropolitan area includes London and its surrounding commuter zone (the area in which it is practicable to commute to work in London). It is also known as the London commuter belt, or Southeast metropolitan area. , the London metropol ...
and the
Greater London Built-up Area The Greater London Built-up Area, or Greater London Urban Area, is a conurbation in south-east England that constitutes the continuous urban area of London, and includes surrounding adjacent urban towns as defined by the Office for National Statist ...
.


Name

St Albans takes its name from the first British saint, Alban. The most elaborate version of his story, Bede's ''
Ecclesiastical History of the English People The ''Ecclesiastical History of the English People'' ( la, Historia ecclesiastica gentis Anglorum), written by the Venerable Bede in about AD 731, is a history of the Christian Churches in England, and of England generally; its main focus is on the ...
'', relates that he lived in
Verulamium Verulamium was a town in Roman Britain. It was sited southwest of the modern city of St Albans in Hertfordshire, England. A large portion of the Roman city remains unexcavated, being now park and agricultural land, though much has been built upon. ...
, sometime during the 3rd or 4th century, when Christians were suffering persecution. Alban met a Christian priest fleeing from his persecutors and sheltered him in his house, where he became so impressed with the priest's piety that he converted to Christianity. When the authorities searched Alban's house, he put on the priest's cloak and presented himself in place of his guest. Consequently, he was sentenced to endure the punishments that were to be inflicted upon the priest, unless he renounced Christianity. Alban refused and was taken for execution. In later legends, his head rolled downhill after execution and a well sprang up where it stopped.


History


Celtic

There was an
Iron Age The Iron Age is the final epoch of the three-age division of the prehistory and protohistory of humanity. It was preceded by the Bronze Age and the Stone Age (Paleolithic, Mesolithic, Neolithic, and Chalcolithic). The concept has been mostly app ...
settlement known as Verulamium,Rosalind Niblett, ''Roman Hertfordshire'', Wimborne: Dovecote Press, 1995
Verlamion Verlamion, or Verlamio, was a settlement in Iron Age Britain. It was the centre of Tasciovanus' power and a major center of the Catuvellauni from about 20 BC until shortly after the Roman invasion of AD 43. Its location was on Prae Hill, 2 km ...
, or Verlamio, near the site of the present city, the centre of
Tasciovanus Coin of Tasciovanus, king of the Catuvellauni. Tasciovanus (died c. 9 AD) was a historical king of the Catuvellauni tribe before the Roman conquest of Britain. History Tasciovanus is known only through numismatic evidence. He appears to have beco ...

Tasciovanus
' power and a major centre of the
Catuvellauni The Catuvellauni (Gaulish: "war-chiefs") were a Celtic tribe or state of southeastern Britain before the Roman conquest, attested by inscriptions into the 4th century. The fortunes of the Catuvellauni and their kings before the conquest can be ...
from about 20 BC until shortly after the
Roman Roman or Romans usually refers to: *Rome, the capital city of Italy *Ancient Rome, Roman civilization from 8th century BC to 5th century AD *Roman people, the people of ancient Rome *''Epistle to the Romans'', shortened to ''Romans'', a letter in ...

Roman
invasion of AD 43. The name "Verulamium" is Celtic, meaning "settlement over or by the marsh". The town was on Prae Hill, 2 km to the west of modern St Albans, now covered by the village of St Michael's, Verulamium Park and the
GorhamburyRuins of Old Gorhambury House Old Gorhambury House located near St Albans, Hertfordshire, England, is a ruined Elizabethan mansion, a leading and early example of the Elizabethan prodigy house. It was built in 1563–68 by Sir Nicholas Bacon, Lord ...
Estate. Although excavations done in 1996 produced finds which include silver coins from the Roman Republic era dating from 90/80 BC. There was evidence of trade with the republic and that a settlement already existed on the site 50 years before Julius Caesar attempted to invade Britain. However, it is believed that the tribal capital was moved to the site by Tasciovanus (around 25 to 5 BC).
Cunobelinus Cunobeline (or Cunobelin, from Latin , derived from Common Brittonic ''*Cunobelinos'' "Strong as a Dog", "Strong Dog") was a king in pre-Roman Britain from about AD 9 until about AD 40.Malcolm Todd (2004)"Cunobelinus_[Cymbeline/nowiki>_(d._''c''._A ...

Cunobelinus
may have constructed Beech Bottom Dyke, a defensive earthwork near the settlement whose significance is uncertain.


Roman

The Roman city of
Verulamium Verulamium was a town in Roman Britain. It was sited southwest of the modern city of St Albans in Hertfordshire, England. A large portion of the Roman city remains unexcavated, being now park and agricultural land, though much has been built upon. ...
, the second-largest town in
Roman Britain Roman Britain is the period in classical antiquity when large parts of the island of Great Britain were under occupation by the Roman Empire. The occupation lasted from AD 43 to AD 410. During that time, the territory conquered was rai ...
after
Londinium Londinium, also known as Roman London, was the capital of Roman Britain during most of the period of Roman rule. It was originally a settlement established on the current site of the City of London around AD 47–50. It sat at a key crossin ...
, developed from the Celtic settlement and was granted the rank of ''
municipium Municipium (pl. municipia) was the Latin term for a town or city. Etymologically the ''municipium'' was a social contract among ''municipes'', the "duty holders," or citizens of the town. The duties, or ''munera'', were a communal obligation assumed ...
'' around AD 50, meaning that its citizens had what were known as "Latin Rights", a lesser citizenship status than a ''
colonia Colonia may refer to: Arts and entertainment *Colonia (music group), a Croatian dance music group *Colonia (Autopsia album), 2002 *Colonia (A Camp album), 2009 *''Colonia'' (film), a 2015 historical romantic thriller Places *Colonia (Roman), a ...
'' possessed. It grew to a significant town, and as such received the attentions of
Boudica Boudica or Boudicca (, ), also known as Boadicea (, also ) or Boudicea, and in Welsh as (), was a queen of the British Celtic Iceni tribe who led an uprising against the conquering forces of the Roman Empire in AD 60 or 61. According to Roman ...
of the
Iceni The Iceni ( , ) or Eceni were a Brittonic tribe of eastern Britain during the Iron Age and early Roman era. Their territory included present-day Norfolk and parts of Suffolk and Cambridgeshire, and bordered the area of the Corieltauvi to the west, a ...
in 61, when Verulamium was sacked and burnt on her orders. Excavations preceding the museum's new entrance done in 1996–97 within the centre of the Roman town gave archaeologists the chance to date a black ash layer to 60–65 AD, thus confirming the Roman written record. It grew steadily; by the early 3rd century, it covered an area of about , behind a deep ditch and wall. Verulamium contained a
forum Forum (plural forums or fora) may refer to: Common uses *Forum (legal), designated space for public expression in the United States *Forum (Roman), open public space within a Roman city **Roman Forum, most famous example *Internet forum, discuss ...
,
basilica In Ancient Roman architecture, a basilica is a large public building with multiple functions, typically built alongside the town's forum. The basilica was in the Latin West equivalent to a stoa in the Greek East. The building gave its name to ...
and a
theatre Theatre or theater is a collaborative form of performing art that uses live performers, usually actors or actresses, to present the experience of a real or imagined event before a live audience in a specific place, often a stage. The performer ...
, much of which were damaged during two fires, one in 155 and the other in around 250. These were repaired and continued in use in the 4th century. The theatre was disused by the end of the 4th century. One of the few extant Roman inscriptions in Britain is found on the remnants of the forum (see
Verulamium Forum inscriptionThe Verulamium Forum Inscription (tentatively dated to AD 79, during the reign of the emperor Titus) is one of the many Roman inscriptions in Britain. It is also known as the "Basilica inscription", as it is believed to have been attached to the basi ...
). The town was rebuilt in
stone A rock is any naturally occurring solid mass or aggregate of minerals or mineraloid matter. It is categorized by the minerals included, its chemical composition and the way in which it is formed. Rocks form the Earth's outer solid layer, the ...
rather than
timber Lumber, also known as timber, is a type of wood that has been processed into beams and planks, a stage in the process of wood production. Lumber is mainly used for structural purposes but has many other uses as well. There are two main types ...

timber
at least twice over the next 150 years. Roman occupation ended between 400 and 450 AD The body of St Alban was probably buried outside the city walls in a Roman cemetery near the present
cathedral A cathedral is a church that contains the ''cathedra'' () of a bishop, thus serving as the central church of a diocese, conference, or episcopate. Churches with the function of "cathedral" are usually specific to those Christian denominations ...
. His hillside grave became a place of pilgrimage. Recent investigation has uncovered a
basilica In Ancient Roman architecture, a basilica is a large public building with multiple functions, typically built alongside the town's forum. The basilica was in the Latin West equivalent to a stoa in the Greek East. The building gave its name to ...
there, indicating the oldest continuous site of Christian worship in Great Britain. In 429
Germanus of Auxerre Germanus of Auxerre ( cy, Garmon Sant; French: ''Saint Germain l'Auxerrois''); 378 – c. 442–448 AD) was a bishop of Auxerre in Late Antique Gaul. He abandoned a career as a high-ranking government official to devote his formidable energy toward ...
visited the church and subsequently promoted the cult of St Alban.
Martin Biddle Martin Biddle, (born 4 June 1937) is a British archaeologist and academic. He is an emeritus fellow of Hertford College, Oxford. His work was important in the development of medieval and post-medieval archaeology in Great Britain. Early life ...
, "Alban and the Anglo-Saxon Church", in Robert Runcie (ed), ''Cathedral and City: St Albans Ancient and Modern,'' Martyn Associates, 1977
A few traces of the Roman city remain visible, such as parts of the
city walls A defensive wall is a fortification usually used to protect a city, town or other settlement from potential aggressors. The walls can range from simple palisades or earthworks to extensive military fortifications with towers, bastions and gate ...
, a
hypocaust A hypocaust ( la, hypocaustum) is a system of central heating in a building that produces and circulates hot air below the floor of a room, and may also warm the walls with a series of pipes through which the hot air passes. This air can warm the u ...
– still ''
in situ ''In situ'' (; often not italicized in English) is a Latin phrase that translates literally to "on site" or "in position." It can mean "locally", "on site", "on the premises", or "in place" to describe where an event takes place and is used in m ...
'' under a mosaic floor, and the theatre, which is on land belonging to the
Earl of Verulam Ruins of Old Gorhambury House was the ramshackle medieval family seat in England from the 1670s until the family built the new Gorhambury House Earl of Verulam is a title in the Peerage of the United Kingdom. It was created in 1815 for James Grims ...
, as well as items in the museum. Further remains beneath nearby agricultural land have only had a few exploratory trenches, which have never been fully excavated and were seriously threatened by deep
ploughing A plough or plow (US; both ) is a farm tool for loosening or turning the soil before sowing seed or planting. Ploughs were traditionally drawn by oxen and horses, but in modern farms are drawn by tractors. A plough may have a wooden, iron or st ...
, which ceased in 2005 after compensation was agreed. Test trenches in 2003 confirmed that serious damage had occurred to buildings on the northern side of Old Watling Street by deep ploughing. Permission needs to be granted to enable the full extent of the damage to the western half of Verulamium to be investigated.


Anglo-Saxon

After the Roman withdrawal the town became the centre of the territory or '' regio'' of the
Anglo-Saxon The Anglo-Saxons were a cultural group who inhabited England. They traced their origins to the 5th century settlement of incomers to Britain, who migrated to the island from the North Sea coastlands of mainland Europe. However, the ethnogenesis ...
'' Waeclingas'' tribe.
St Albans Abbey St Albans Cathedral, officially the Cathedral and Abbey Church of St Alban but often referred to locally as "the Abbey", is a Church of England cathedral in St Albans, England. Much of its architecture dates from Norman times. It ceased to be an ...
and the associated
Anglo-Saxon The Anglo-Saxons were a cultural group who inhabited England. They traced their origins to the 5th century settlement of incomers to Britain, who migrated to the island from the North Sea coastlands of mainland Europe. However, the ethnogenesis ...
settlement were founded on the hill outside the Roman city where it was believed St Alban was buried. An archaeological excavation in 1978, directed by
Martin Biddle Martin Biddle, (born 4 June 1937) is a British archaeologist and academic. He is an emeritus fellow of Hertford College, Oxford. His work was important in the development of medieval and post-medieval archaeology in Great Britain. Early life ...
, failed to find Roman remains on the site of the medieval
chapter house A chapter house or chapterhouse is a building or room that is part of a cathedral, monastery or collegiate church in which meetings are held. When attached to a cathedral, the cathedral chapter meets there. In monasteries, the whole community ...

chapter house
. As late as the eighth century the Saxon inhabitants of St Albans nearby were aware of their ancient neighbour, which they knew alternatively as Verulamacæstir or, under what H. R. Loyn terms "their own hybrid", Vaeclingscæstir, "the fortress of the followers of Wæcla", possibly a pocket of British-speakers remaining separate in an increasingly Saxonised area.


Medieval

The medieval town grew on the hill to the east of Wæclingacaester where the
Benedictine The Benedictines, officially the Order of Saint Benedict ( la, Ordo Sancti Benedicti, abbreviated as OSB), are a monastic religious order of the Catholic Church following the Rule of Saint Benedict. They are also sometimes called the Black Monk ...
Abbey of St Albans St Albans Cathedral, officially the Cathedral and Abbey Church of St Alban but often referred to locally as "the Abbey", is a Church of England cathedral in St Albans, England. Much of its architecture dates from Norman times. It ceased to be an ...
was founded by Ulsinus in 793. There is some evidence that the original site was higher up the hill than the present building, which was begun in 1077. St Albans Abbey was the principal medieval
abbey An interior of the Catholic_monastery_in_Naantali.html" style="text-decoration: none;"class="mw-redirect" title="Nådendal Abbey">Bridgettine's Nådendal Abbey, a medieval Catholic Church">Catholic monastery in Naantali">Nådendal Abbey" ...
in England. The scribe Matthew Vickers lived there and the first draft of
Magna Carta (Medieval Latin for "Great Charter of Freedoms"), commonly called (also ''Magna Charta''; "Great Charter"), is a royal charter of rights agreed to by King John of England at Runnymede, near Windsor, on 15 June 1215. First drafted by Archb ...

Magna Carta
was drawn up there. It became a parish church after the dissolution of the Benedictine abbey in 1539 and was made a cathedral in 1877. St Albans School was founded in AD 948. Matthew Paris was educated there and it is the only school in the English-speaking world to have educated a
Pope The pope ( la, papa, from el, πάππας, translit=pappas, "father"), also known as the supreme pontiff () or the Roman pontiff (), is the bishop of Rome, chief pastor of the worldwide Catholic Church, and head of state or sovereign of the V ...

Pope
(
Adrian IV Pope Adrian IV ( la, Adrianus IV; born Nicholas Breakspear (or Brekespear); 1 September 1159, also Hadrian IV), was head of the Catholic Church and ruler of the Papal States from 4 December 1154 to his death in 1159. He is the only Englishman to ...
). Now a public school it has, since 1871, occupied a site to the west of the Abbey and includes the 14th-century Abbey Gateway. One of its buildings was a hat factory, a link with the city's industrial past. On Abbey Mill Lane, the road between the Abbey and the school, are the palaces of the Bishops of
St Albans St Albans () is a cathedral city in Hertfordshire, England and the major urban area in the City and District of St Albans. It lies east of Hemel Hempstead and west of Hatfield, about north-north-west of central London, south-west of Welwyn Gar ...
and
Hertford Hertford ( , ) is the county town of Hertfordshire, England, and is also a civil parish in the East Hertfordshire district of the county. The town has a population of approximately 26,000, according to the 2011 census. Toponomy The earliest ...
and
Ye Olde Fighting Cocks Ye Olde Fighting Cocks is a public house in St Albans, Hertfordshire, England. It is one of several pubs that lay claim to being the oldest in England. The building is described by Historic England as being of sixteenth-century appearance, but as ...
, claimed to be the oldest pub in England. Between 1403 and 1412 Thomas Wolvey was engaged to build a clock tower in the Market Place. It is the only extant medieval town belfry in England. The original bell, named for the Archangel Gabriel sounds F-natural and weighs one ton. Gabriel sounded at 4 am for the
Angelus 240px, ''The Angelus'' (1857–1859) by Jean-François Millet The Angelus (; Latin for "angel") is a Catholic devotion commemorating the Incarnation. As with many Catholic prayers, the name ''Angelus'' is derived from its incipit—the first f ...
and at 8 or 9 pm for the curfew. The ground floor of the tower was a shop until the 20th century. The first- and second-floor rooms were designed as living chambers. The shop and the first floor were connected by a flight of spiral stairs. Another flight rises the whole height of the tower by 93 narrow steps and gave access to the living chamber, the clock and the bell without disturbing the tenant of the shop. Two battles of the
Wars of the Roses The Wars of the Roses were a series of fifteenth-century English civil wars for control of the throne of England, fought between supporters of two rival cadet branches of the royal House of Plantagenet: the House of Lancaster, represented by a ...
took place in or near the town. The
First Battle of St Albans The First Battle of St Albans, fought on 22 May 1455 at St Albans, 22 miles (35 km) north of London, traditionally marks the beginning of the Wars of the Roses in England. Richard, Duke of York, and his allies, the Neville earls of Salisbury ...
was fought on 22 May 1455 within the town, and the
Second Battle of St Albans The Second Battle of St Albans was fought on 17 February 1461 during the Wars of the Roses in England. It took place at St Albans in Hertfordshire, the first battle having been fought in 1455. The army of the Yorkist faction under the Earl of War ...
was fought on 17 February 1461, just to the north. A street market on Wednesdays and Saturdays, founded by Abbot Ulsinus, still flourishes.St Albans Millenary Pageant Souvenir Programme, n.p, 1948


Modern

St Albans High Street in 1807, showing the shutter telegraph on top of the city's Clock Tower Before the 20th century St Albans was a rural
market town A market town is a European settlement that obtained by custom or royal charter, in the Middle Ages, the right to host markets (market right), which distinguished it from a village or city. In Britain, small rural towns with a hinterland of v ...
, a
Christian pilgrimage Christianity has a strong tradition of pilgrimages, both to sites relevant to the New Testament narrative (especially in the Holy Land) and to sites associated with later saints or miracles. Traditions of Christian pilgrimage Christian pilgrim ...
site, and the first coaching stop of the route to and from
London London is the capital and largest city of England and the United Kingdom. The city stands on the River Thames in the south-east of England, at the head of its estuary leading to the North Sea. London has been a major settlement for two millen ...
, accounting for its numerous old inns. Victorian St Albans was small and had little industry. Its population grew more slowly than London, 8–9% per decade between 1801 and 1861, compared to the 31% per decade growth of London in the same period. The railway arrived in 1858. In 1869 the extension of the city boundaries was opposed by the Earl of Verulam and many of the townsfolk, but there was rapid expansion and much building at the end of the century, and between 1891 and 1901 the population grew by 37%.Asa Briggs, "The Victorian City", in ‘’Cathedral & City: St Albans Ancient and Modern’’, ed.
Robert Runcie Robert Alexander Kennedy Runcie, Baron Runcie, (2 October 1921 – 11 July 2000) was an English Anglican bishop. He was the Archbishop of Canterbury from 1980 to 1991, having previously been Bishop of St Albans. He travelled the world widely to ...
, Martyn Associates, 1977
In 1877, in response to a public petition, Queen Victoria issued the second royal charter, which granted
city statusCity status is a symbolic and legal designation given by a national or subnational government. A municipality may receive city status because it already has the qualities of a city, or because it has some special purpose. Historically, city status w ...
to the borough and
Cathedral A cathedral is a church that contains the ''cathedra'' () of a bishop, thus serving as the central church of a diocese, conference, or episcopate. Churches with the function of "cathedral" are usually specific to those Christian denominations ...
status to the former Abbey Church. The new
diocese In church governance, a diocese or bishopric is the ecclesiastical district under the jurisdiction of a bishop. History In the later organization of the Roman Empire, the increasingly subdivided provinces were administratively associated i ...
was established in the same year, in the main from parts of the large
Diocese of Rochester The Diocese of Rochester is a Church of England diocese in the English county of Kent and the Province of Canterbury. The cathedral church of the diocese is Rochester Cathedral in the former city of Rochester. The bishop's Latin episcopal signatur ...
. In the inter-war years it became a centre for the
electronics Electronics comprises the physics, engineering, technology and applications that deal with the emission, flow and control of electrons in vacuum and matter. It uses active devices to control electron flow by amplification and rectification, whic ...
industry. In the post-
World War II World War II or the Second World War, often abbreviated as WWII or WW2, was a global war that lasted from 1939 to 1945. It involved the vast majority of the world's countries—including all the great powers—forming two opposing milit ...
years it expanded rapidly as part of the post-War redistribution of population out of
Greater London Greater London is a ceremonial county of England that makes up the majority of the London region. This region forms the administrative boundaries of London and is organised into 33 local government districtsthe 32 London boroughs and the City ...
. It is now a popular tourist destination.


Local government


Past

St Albans was an
ancient borough The ancient boroughs were a historic unit of lower-tier local government in England and Wales. The ancient boroughs covered only important towns and were established by charters granted at different times by the monarchy. Their history is largely ...
created following the dissolution of the monastery in 1539. It consisted of the
ancient parish In England, a civil parish is a type of administrative parish used for local government. It is a territorial designation which is the lowest tier of local government below districts and counties, or their combined form, the unitary authority. C ...
of St Albans (also known as the Abbey parish) and parts of
St Michael Michael (; he, מִיכָאֵל, lit=Who is like El?, translit=Mīḳā'ēl; el, Μιχαήλ, translit=Mikhaḗl; la, Michahel; cop, ⲙⲓⲭⲁⲏⲗ; ar, ميخائيل ، مِيكَالَ ، ميكائيل, translit=Mīkā'īl, Mīkāl or Mīkh ...
and
St Peter Saint Peter; he, שמעון בר יונה, Šimʿōn bar Yōnāh; ar, سِمعَان بُطرُس, translit=Simʿa̅n Buṭrus; grc-gre, Πέτρος, Petros; cop, Ⲡⲉⲧⲣⲟⲥ, Petros; lat, Petrus; ar, شمعون الصفـا, Sham'un al-Safa, ...
. The
municipal corporation#REDIRECT Municipal corporation#REDIRECT Municipal corporation {{Redirect category shell, 1= {{R from other capitalisation ...
{{Redirect category shell, 1= {{R from other capitalisation ...
was reformed by the Municipal Corporations Act 1835 and the boundary was adjusted to additionally include part of the parish of
St Stephen Stephen ( grc-gre, Στέφανος ''Stéphanos'', meaning "wreath, crown" and by extension "reward, honor, renown, fame", often given as a title rather than as a name; he, סטפנוס הקדוש, ''Stephanos HaQadosh''; c. 5 – c. 34 AD) trad ...
. In 1887 the borough gained
city statusCity status is a symbolic and legal designation given by a national or subnational government. A municipality may receive city status because it already has the qualities of a city, or because it has some special purpose. Historically, city status w ...
, following the elevation of St Albans Abbey to cathedral, and the boundary was adjusted to include part of the parish of Sandridge. The Local Government Act 1894 divided parishes that were partly within municipal boroughs. The parts of St Michael, St Peter and Sandridge within the borough became the new parishes of St Michael Urban, St Peter Urban and Sandridge Urban. The part of St Stephen within the borough was absorbed by the parish of St Albans. The parishes that were formed outside the borough, that is St Michael Rural, St Peter Rural, Sandridge Rural and the reduced St Stephen, became part of St Albans Rural District in 1894. In 1898 the parish of St Albans absorbed St Michael Urban, St Peter Urban and Sandridge Urban so the parish and borough occupied the same area. In 1901 the population of the borough was 16,019, growing to 18,133 in 1911. St Albans expanded in 1913 by gaining parts of Sandridge Rural (241 acres), St Michael Rural (138 acres), St Peter Rural (992 acres) and St Stephen (335 acres). In 1921 the population of the enlarged borough was 25,593, growing to 28,624 in 1931. It expanded again in 1935 as part of a county review order gaining more of St Michael Rural (890 acres), St Peter Rural (436 acres) and St Stephen (712 acres). The population of the borough was 44,098 in 1951 and 50,293 in 1961.


Present

The borough was abolished on 1 April 1974 and St Albans became part of the new, larger City and District of St Albans. City status was transferred to the entire district by letters patent dated 9 July 1974. Local government services are now provided by Hertfordshire County Council (strategic services), St Albans City and District Council and eight Parish councils in England, local parish councils (limited local services). Within the town, the Ashley, Batchwood, Clarence, Cunningham, Marshalswick South, St Peters, Sopwell and Verulam wards unparished area, have no parish councils, but since June 2013 a City Neighbourhood Committee has had comparable responsibilities for small parks, playgrounds, open spaces, war memorials, allotments and public conveniences within those wards.


Parliamentary representation

St Albans is a parliamentary constituency represented in the House of Commons of the Parliament of the United Kingdom. Established in 1885, it is a county constituency in Hertfordshire, and elects one Member of Parliament (MP) by the first past the post system of election.


Geography


Climate

St Albans has an oceanic climate (Köppen climate classification ''Cfb'') similar to most of the United Kingdom.


Neighbourhoods

* Batchwood * Bernards Heath * Chiswell Green * Cell Barnes * Cottonmill * Fleetville * Hill End * Jersey Farm * Marshalswick (also extends into Sandridge parish) * New Greens * Sopwell * St Julians * St Stephens (not to be confused with
St Stephen Stephen ( grc-gre, Στέφανος ''Stéphanos'', meaning "wreath, crown" and by extension "reward, honor, renown, fame", often given as a title rather than as a name; he, סטפנוס הקדוש, ''Stephanos HaQadosh''; c. 5 – c. 34 AD) trad ...
) * The Camp * Townsend


Nearby towns and villages

* Other nearby towns: Borehamwood,
Luton Luton () is a large town, borough and Unitary Authority situated in south east England, but in the East of England region for administrative purposes. It has a population of () and is one of the most populous towns without city status in the ...
, Stevenage, Berkhamsted, Chipping Barnet, Barnet (historically a separate town, a London borough since the 1960s) * Nearby villages: Abbots Langley, Kings Langley, Bricket Wood, Colney Heath, Elstree, Frogmore, Hertfordshire, Frogmore, Lemsford, London Colney, Markyate, Park Street, Hertfordshire, Park Street, Radlett, Redbourn, Sandridge, Wheathampstead, Shenley * Nearby hamlets: Chiswell Green, Colney Street


Transport


Road

The north-south M1 motorway runs west of St Albans and the M25 motorway is slightly further south. The A414 road runs directly south of St Albans between
Hemel Hempstead Hemel Hempstead () is a large town in Hertfordshire, England, located northwest of London, and part of the Greater London Urban Area. The population, according to the 2011 Census, was 97,500. Developed after the Second World War as a new town, ...
and Hatfield. The A405 road provides a direct link to Watford.


Rail

Two railway stations serve the city: St Albans City railway station, St Albans City, which is situated east of the city centre, and St Albans Abbey station, St Albans Abbey, which is situated approximately south-west of the city station. St Albans City on the Midland Main Line is served by Govia Thameslink Railway, Thameslink services, on a frequent and fast rail link to central
London London is the capital and largest city of England and the United Kingdom. The city stands on the River Thames in the south-east of England, at the head of its estuary leading to the North Sea. London has been a major settlement for two millen ...
. Suburban services stop at all stations on the route, while express services are non-stop to St Pancras railway station, London St Pancras. Trains run north to Harpenden railway station, Harpenden, Luton railway station, Luton, Luton Airport Parkway railway station, Luton Airport Parkway and on to Bedford railway station, Bedford. St Albans Abbey station is the terminus of the Abbey line from Watford Junction railway station, Watford Junction.


Culture and media

St Albans has a cultural life, with regular concerts and theatre productions held at venues including Trestle Theatre, Trestle Arts Base, St Albans Abbey, Maltings Arts Theatre, the Alban Arena, the Abbey Theatre, St Peter's Church and St Saviour's Church, given by organisations including St Albans Bach Choir, St Albans Cathedral Choir, St Albans Cathedral Girls' Choir, St Albans Symphony Orchestra, St Albans Chamber Choir, St Albans Chamber Opera, The Company of Ten, St Albans Choral Society, and St Albans Organ Theatre. St Albans is also home to Trestle Theatre Company, who have been creating professional, physical storytelling theatre since 1981. Originally known for their work with masks, Trestle collaborates with UK and international artists to unify movement, music and text into a theatrical experience. The Sandpit Theatre is a theatre attached to Sandringham School which hosts plays throughout the year, mainly performances put on by the pupils of Sandringham School. The school also hosts Best Theatre Arts, a part-time theatre school for children aged 4 to 16. The Odyssey Cinema, St Albans, Odyssey Cinema (formerly the Odeon) on London Road is an independent, arthouse cinema that was restored and re-opened in 2014. Originally opened in 1931, it stands on the site of the Alpha Picture House, Hertfordshire's first cinema, which was opened in 1908 by film-making pioneer Arthur Melbourne-Cooper. The Watercress nature reserve is by the River Ver and is run by the Watercress Wildlife Association. St Albans Museums runs two museums: St Albans Museums#Verulamium Museum, Verulamium Museum, which tells the story of everyday life in Roman Britain using objects from the excavations of the important Roman Town; and, the St Albans Museums#St Albans Museum + Gallery, St Albans Museum + Gallery, located in the old St Albans Town Hall, which focuses on the history of the town and of Saint Alban. The area is served by Radio Verulam, 92.6FM Radio Verulam, a community radio station.


Filming location

The mixed character of St Albans and its proximity to London have made it a popular filming location. The Abbey and Fishpool Street areas were used for the pilot episode of the 1960s ecclesiastical TV comedy ''All Gas and Gaiters''. The area of Romeland, directly north of the Abbey Gateway and the walls of the Abbey and school grounds, can be seen masquerading as part of an Oxford college in some episodes of ''Inspector Morse (TV series), Inspector Morse'' (and several local pubs also appear). Fishpool Street, running from Romeland to St Michael's village, stood in for Hastings in some episodes of ''Foyle's War''. ''Life Begins (TV series), Life Begins'' was filmed largely in and around St Albans. The Lady Chapel in the Abbey itself was used as a location for at least one scene in Sean Connery's 1995 film ''First Knight'', whilst the nave of the Abbey was used during a coronation scene as a substitute for Westminster Abbey in ''Johnny English'' starring Rowan Atkinson. The 19th-century gatehouse of the former prison near the St Albans City railway station, mainline station appeared in the title sequence of the TV series ''Porridge (1974 TV series), Porridge'', starring Ronnie Barker. The 2001 film ''Birthday Girl'' starring Ben Chaplin and Nicole Kidman was also partly filmed in St Albans. More recently, several scenes from the film ''Incendiary (film), Incendiary'', starring Michelle Williams (actress), Michelle Williams, Ewan McGregor and Matthew Macfadyen, were filmed in St Albans, focusing in particular on the Abbey and the Abbey Gateway. It has also been used in the setting for the fictional town ''Waltringham'', in the TV show ''Humans (TV series), Humans''.


Sport

In December 2007, Sport England published a survey which revealed that residents of St Albans were the 10th most active in England in sports and other fitness activities. 30.8% of the population participate at least 3 times a week for 90 minutes.


Cricket

Clarence Park plays host to St Albans Cricket Club. The club currently runs four Saturday sides, playing in the Saracens Hertfordshire Cricket League and also two Sunday sides in the Chess Valley Cricket League. In 2008 the club's 1st XI won the Hertfordshire League Title. In the previous two seasons, the first XI came 5th (2011) and 4th (2012) in division one.


Football

The local football team is St Albans City FC: its stadium is on the edge of Clarence Park and the team won promotion from the Conference South League in 2005–06. It played in the Conference Premier, Nationwide Conference Division of the Football Conference for the 2006–07 season, but finished at the bottom of the table and was relegated.


Gymnastics

St Albans Gymnastics Club, founded in 2005, provides the St Albans area with recreational classes as well as a professionally managed competitive squad.


Hockey

St Albans is also home to St Albans Hockey Club, based in Oaklands, St Albans. The club is represented at National league level by both women's and men's teams, as well as other local league competitions. The club's nickname is ''The Tangerines''.


Rugby league

St Albans Centurions Rugby league Club have their ground at Toulmin Drive, St Albans. They play in the London Premier League. In 2007 and again in 2010 'The Cents', as they are known, won 'the triple' – topping the league, and becoming the Regional and National Champions of the Rugby League Conference Premier Divisions.


Rugby union

Old Albanian RFC is a rugby union club that plays at the Old Albanian sports complex. They play in National League 1 English rugby union system, the third tier of the English rugby union system. Saracens A team and OA Saints Women's Rugby team also play here. This complex hosts the offices of the English Championship (rugby union), RFU Championship club Saracens FC, Saracens (and have recently moved their home ground to Barnet Copthall, Barnet). St Albans RFC play at Boggymead Spring in Smallford. Verulamians RFC (formerly Old Verulamians) play at Cotlandswick in London Colney.


Skateboarding

St Albans is home to one of the country's oldest indoor skateparks, the Pioneer Skatepark in Heathlands Drive, next to the former fire station. Its ramps are available to all skateboarding, skateboarders and inline skates, inliners. A new outside mini ramp was built in March 2005. A second outdoor mini ramp was opened at Easter 2009.


Links with other sports

St Albans is additionally home to a community of traceurs from around Hertfordshire. St Albans was once home to the then most prestigious Steeplechase (horse racing), steeplechase in England. The Great St Albans chase attracted the best horses and riders from across Britain and Ireland in the 1830s and was held in such high esteem that when it clashed with the 1837 Grand National the top horses and riders chose to bypass Aintree. Without warning the race was discontinued in 1839 and was quickly forgotten. St Albans was once home to Samuel Ryder, the founder of the Ryder Cup. He ran a very successful packet seeds business in the 1890s which at one time he ran from a packing warehouse on Holywell Hill (formerly Café Rouge). His interest in golf and sponsorship led to his donation of the now famous Ryder Cup. He is buried in Hatfield Road Cemetery, where in London Olympics 2012, July 2012 the 2012 Summer Olympics torch relay, Olympic Torch Relay passed by to honour him.


Education

St Albans has List of schools in St Albans, many state primary and secondary schools, and a number of independent schools. The law school of the University of Hertfordshire used to be based in Hatfield Road in St Albans until it moved to the university's De Havilland campus in Hatfield in 2011. Hertfordshire County Council purchased the site. The interior of the former law school building has since been refurbished and now forms part of Alban City School, a state-funded Free School for primary aged children, which started taking reception class children in September 2012. A campus of Oaklands College, a further education college, is also located in Smallford in St Albans.


Notable people


See also

* Diocesan House, St Albans * Kingsbury Watermill Museum * St Albans Museums * St Albans (UK Parliament constituency) * Sopwell Priory * Sopwell House * Verulam House, St Albans * Verulamium Museum


References


External links

*
St Albans council website

Once Upon a Time in St Albans – a graphic journey to St Albans past

enjoystalbans – visitor website for St Albans – what's on, where to go, what to see, accommodation, etc

allaboutstalbans – events and leisure website for visitors to St Albans

Herts Advertiser newspaper

St Albans & Harpenden Review newspaper

Radio Verulam – St Albans based community radio station, covering West Herts on 92.6FM

St Albans Museums


* {{DEFAULTSORT:Saint Albans St Albans, Towns in Hertfordshire Unparished areas in Hertfordshire City of St Albans