The Info List - Verulamium

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was a town in Roman Britain. It was sited in the southwest of the modern city of St Albans
St Albans
in Hertfordshire, Great Britain. A large portion of the Roman city remains unexcavated, being now park and agricultural land, though much has been built upon (see below).[1] The ancient Watling Street
Watling Street
passed through the city. Much of the site and its environs is now classed as a scheduled ancient monument.[2]


1 History

1.1 Roman Theatre 1.2 Sub-Roman times

2 Loss and recovery 3 Verulamium

3.1 Collections

4 Other 5 References 6 External links

History[edit] Before the Romans established their settlement, there was already a tribal centre in the area which belonged to the Catuvellauni. This settlement is usually called Verlamion. The etymology is uncertain but the name has been reconstructed as *Uerulāmion, which would have a meaning like "[the tribe or settlement] of the broad hand" (Uerulāmos) in Brittonic.[3] In this pre-Roman form, it was among the first places in Britain recorded by name. The settlement was established by Tasciovanus, who minted coins there. The Roman settlement was granted the rank of municipium around AD 50, meaning its citizens had what were known as "Latin Rights", a lesser citizenship status than a colonia possessed. It grew to a significant town, and as such received the attentions of Boudica of the Iceni
in 61, when Verulamium
was sacked and burnt on her orders: a black ash layer has been recorded by archaeologists, thus confirming the Roman written record. It grew steadily; by the early 3rd century, it covered an area of about 125 acres (0.51 km2), behind a deep ditch and wall. It is the location of the martyrdom of the first British martyr saint, Saint Alban, who was a Roman patrician converted by the priest Amphibalus.[4] Verulamium
contained a forum, basilica and a theatre, much of which were damaged during two fires, one in 155 and the other in around 250. One of the few extant Roman inscriptions in Britain is found on the remnants of the forum (see Verulamium
Forum inscription). The town was rebuilt in stone rather than timber at least twice over the next 150 years. Occupation by the Romans ended between 400 and 450. There are a few remains of the Roman city visible, such as parts of the city walls, a hypocaust still in situ under a mosaic floor, and the theatre, as well as items in the Museum (below). More remains under the nearby agricultural land which have never been excavated were for a while seriously threatened by deep ploughing. Roman Theatre[edit] Main article: Roman Theatre, St Albans

Roman theatre

Although there are other Roman theatres in Britain (for example at Camulodunum), the one at Verulamium
has been claimed to be the only example of its kind, being a theatre with a stage rather than an amphitheatre.[5] Sub-Roman times[edit] St Albans
St Albans
Abbey and the associated Anglo-Saxon settlement were founded on a hill outside the Roman city. The site of the abbey may have been a location where there was reason to believe that St Alban
St Alban
was executed or buried. More certainly, the abbey is near the site of a Roman cemetery, which, as was normal in Roman times, was outside the city walls. It is unknown whether there are Roman remains under the medieval abbey. An archaeological excavation in 1978, directed by Martin Biddle, failed to find Roman remains on the site of the medieval chapter house.[6] David Nash Ford identifies the community as the Cair Mincip[7] ("Fort Municipium") listed by Nennius among the 28 cities of Britain in his History of the Britains.[8] As late as the eighth century the Saxon inhabitants of St Albans
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.[9] Loss and recovery[edit] The city was quarried for building material for the construction of medieval St Albans; indeed, much of the Norman abbey was constructed from the remains of the Roman city, with Roman brick and stone visible. The modern city takes its name from Alban, either a citizen of Verulamium
or a Roman soldier, who was condemned to death in the 3rd century for sheltering Amphibalus, a Christian. Alban was converted by him to Christianity, and by virtue of his death, Alban became the first British Christian
martyr. Since much of the modern city and its environs is built over Roman remains, it is still common to unearth Roman artefacts several miles away. A complete tile kiln was found in Park Street some six miles (10 km) from Verulamium
in the 1970s, and there is a Roman mausoleum near Rothamsted Park
Rothamsted Park
five miles (8 km) away. Within the walls of ancient Verulamium, the Elizabethan philosopher, essayist and statesman Sir Francis Bacon
Sir Francis Bacon
built a "refined small house" that was thoroughly described by the 17th century diarist John Aubrey. No trace of it is left, but Aubrey noted, "At Verulam is to be seen, in some few places, some remains of the wall of this Citie". Moreover, when Bacon was ennobled in 1618, he took the title Baron Verulam after Verulamium. The barony became extinct after he died without heirs in 1626. This title was revived in 1790 for James Grimston, a Hertfordshire politician. He was later made Earl of Verulam, a title still held by his descendants.

Another stretch of Roman wall


The Verulamium
Museum in 2003

The Verulamium
Museum is a sizeable museum run by the district council in Verulamium Park
Verulamium Park
(adjacent to St Michael's Church), which contains much information about the town, both as a Roman and Iron Age settlement, plus Roman history in general. The museum was established following the excavations carried out by Mortimer Wheeler
Mortimer Wheeler
and his wife, Tessa Wheeler, during the 1930s. Between September 1996 and May 1997, the museum was extended. During the building work, an excavation of the site took place.[10] It is considered one of the best museums of Roman history in the country and has won an architectural award for its striking domed entrance (designed by Peter Melvin). Collections[edit] It is noted for the large and colourful mosaics and many other artefacts, such as pottery, jewellery, tools and coins, from the Roman period. Many were found in formal excavations, but some, particularly a coffin still containing a male skeleton, were unearthed nearby during building work. Other[edit] The asteroid 4206 Verulamium was named in honour of the ancient city. References[edit]

^ Boundary of settlement walls , Pleiades ^ Historic England. "Details from listed building database (1003515)". National Heritage List for England. Retrieved 13 November 2013.  and related schedules. ^ Isaac, Graham R. "Place-Names in Ptolemy's Geography: An Electronic Data Base with Etymological Analysis of the Celtic Name-elements". Aberystwyth : CMCS Publications, 2004. Computer file : CD-ROM. ^ This story is recorded by Bede
and also by the monks of the abbey of the town, notably Brother Matthew Paris
Matthew Paris
in his Anglo-Norman Vie de Seint Auban. ^ "The Roman Theatre". www.gorhamburyestate.co.uk. Retrieved 2017-07-26.  ^ "Chapter House History - The Cathedral and Abbey Church of Saint Alban". Stalbanscathedral.org. Retrieved 2013-11-13.  ^ Nennius (attrib.). Theodor Mommsen
Theodor Mommsen
(ed.). Historia Brittonum, VI. Composed after AD 830. (in Latin) Hosted at Latin Wikisource. ^ Ford, David Nash. "The 28 Cities of Britain" at Britannia. 2000. ^ Loyn, Anglo-Saxon England and the Norman Conquest, 2nd ed. 1991:11. ^ "Museum excavation". www.stalbansmuseums.org.uk. Retrieved 2017-07-26. 

External links[edit]

Wikimedia Commons has media related to Verulamium.


v t e

Major towns of Roman Britain

Placenames in brackets are either present-day names or counties where the towns formerly existed.


Britannia Superior


Britannia Inferior




Caesaromagus (Chelmsford) Corinium Dobunnorum
Corinium Dobunnorum
(Cirencester) Deva Victrix
Deva Victrix
(Chester) Durnovaria
(Dorchester) Durovernum Cantiacorum
Durovernum Cantiacorum
(Canterbury) Glevum
(Gloucester) Isca Augusta
Isca Augusta
(Caerleon) Isca Dumnoniorum
Isca Dumnoniorum
(Exeter) Isurium Brigantum
Isurium Brigantum
(Aldborough) Lactodurum
(Towcester) Lindum Colonia
Lindum Colonia
(Lincoln) Luguvalium
(Carlisle) Moridunum (Carmarthen) Noviomagus Reginorum
Noviomagus Reginorum
(Chichester) Petuaria (Brough) Ratae Corieltauvorum
Ratae Corieltauvorum
(Leicester) Venta Belgarum
Venta Belgarum
(Winchester) Venta Silurum
Venta Silurum
(Caerwent) Verulamium
(St Albans) Viroconium Cornoviorum
Viroconium Cornoviorum


Alchester (Wendlebury) Bannaventa
(Northamptonshire) Calleva Atrebatum
Calleva Atrebatum
(Hampshire) Cunetio
(Wiltshire) Venta Icenorum
Venta Icenorum

List of Roman place names in Britain

v t e

Roman visitor sites in the UK


Bignor Brading Chedworth Crofton Dover Painted House Fishbourne Great Witcombe Littlecote Lullingstone Newport Piddington Rockbourne Sparsholt Wroxeter

Forts & military

Arbeia Binchester Birdoswald Burgh Castle Caerleon Chesters Derventio Dover Castle Eboracum Housesteads Lunt Carvoran Roman Army Museum Pevensey Castle Portchester Castle Ribchester Richborough Segedunum Venta Icenorum Vindolanda


Aldborough Roman Site Colchester Corbridge Silchester Venta Icenorum St Albans Wroxeter


Roman Museum Carvoran Roman Army Museum Colchester
Castle Museum Corinium Museum Jewry Wall
Jewry Wall
Museum Ribchester Senhouse Roman Museum Trimontium Trust (Melrose) Verulamium

Other sites

Bath Roman Baths Caerleon
Roman Baths Jewry Wall, Leicester Welwyn Roman Baths York
Roman Baths

v t e

Listed buildings in Hertfordshire

Grade I


Eleanor Cross Wormleybury


130–136 Piccott's End Ashridge Business School Beechwood Park Berkhamsted School
Berkhamsted School
Old Building St Mary's Church, Hemel Hempstead

East Hertfordshire

Aston Bury
Aston Bury
Manor Balls Park Benington Castle
Benington Castle
(remains) Hertford Castle
Hertford Castle
Gatehouse Hunsdon House Rye House Gatehouse Scott's Grotto Shire Hall, Hertford St James' Church, Stanstead Abbotts St Leonard's Church, Bengeo St Mary's Church, Ware St Mary the Virgin's Church, Little Hormead Waytemore Castle
Waytemore Castle
(remains) Woodhall Park (Heath Mount School)


Tyttenhanger House

North Hertfordshire

Holy Trinity Church, Weston St Katharine's Church, Ickleford St Mary's Church, Ashwell St Mary's Church, Baldock St Mary's Church, Hitchin St Mary and St Thomas's Church, Knebworth Royston Cave

St Albans

Clock Tower Old Gorhambury House
Old Gorhambury House
(remains) Rothamsted Manor St Albans
St Albans
Cathedral St Helen's Church, Wheathampstead St Mary's Church, Redbourn St Michael's Church, St Albans Verulamium

Three Rivers

Moor Park


Holy Rood Church, Watford St Mary's Church, Watford

Welwyn Hatfield

Brocket Hall Hatfield House/Old Palace New St Lawrence Church, Ayot St Lawrence

Grade II*


Rawdon House Theobalds House


173 High Street, Berkhamsted Ashlyns Hall The Bury, Hemel Hempstead Cell Park Dean Incent's House Gaddesden Place Golden Parsonage St Peter's Church, Great Berkhamstead Tring Park Mansion

East Hertfordshire

All Nations Christian
College All Saints' Church, Hertford Almshouses, Buntingford Bayfordbury Chapel at St Edmund's College, Ware County Hall Cromer Windmill Fanhams Hall Goldings Haileybury and Imperial Service College Hare Street House Hanbury Manor Marden Hill
Marden Hill
House Much Hadham Palace St Andrew's Church, Buckland Stansted Hall Youngsbury
Stable Block


Aldenham House Hilfield Castle Lululaund Salisbury Hall Wrotham Park

North Hertfordshire

All Saints Church, Radwell All Saints Church, Willian The Cloisters, Letchworth St Nicholas' Church, Hinxworth Hinxworth Place Homewood, Knebworth Knebworth House Princess Helena College Spirella
Building St Margaret of Antioch's Church, Bygrave St Martin's Church, Knebworth St Mary Magdalene's Church, Caldecote St Paul's Walden Bury St Vincent's Church, Newnham

St Albans

All Saints Pastoral Centre Court House, St Albans New Gorhambury House Redbournbury Mill St Leonard's Church, Sandridge St Nicholas Church, Harpenden St Peter's Church, St Albans St Stephen's Church, St Albans Westwick Cottage

Three Rivers

Hunton Park Langleybury Oxhey Chapel Redheath


The Grove The Mrs Elizabeth Fuller Free School building

Welwyn Hatfield

Digswell Viaduct Old St Lawrence Church, Ayot St Lawrence Shaw's Corner

Other boroughs


Grade II


Broxbourne railway station Cheshunt Great House
Cheshunt Great House


Ashlyns School Goldfield Mill The Green Dragon, Flaunden Inns of Court War Memorial The Mansion, Berkhamsted Pendley Manor Rex Cinema Rossway Shendish Manor Stocks House St John's Church, Boxmoor

East Hertfordshire

All Saints' Church, Hockerill Benson Memorial Church Brent Pelham Windmill Buntingford Manor House Button Snap Christ Church, Ware Hertford Museum
Hertford Museum
Tooke House Hopper's Hall The Horns, Bull's Green Little Munden Primary School Panshanger orangery, conservatory and stables Red House, Buntingford Rowneybury House St John's Church, Letty Green The Tilbury, Datchworth The White Horse, Burnham Green The White Horse, Hertford


Bhaktivedanta Manor The Chequers, Potters Bar Duke of York, Potters Bar Dyrham Park Country Club The Green Man, Potters Bar Ladbrooke School The Lion, Potters Bar Oakmere House Potters Bar War Memorial Shenley Hall Shenley Lodge Wall Hall The White Hart, South Mimms The White Horse, Potters Bar Wyllyotts Manor

North Hertfordshire

Ashwell Bury Ashwell War Memorial Breachwood Green Mill British Schools Museum Lannock Mill, Weston Letchworth Garden City railway station Lytton Mausoleum Minsden Chapel Putteridge Bury St George's Church, Letchworth St Nicholas' Church, Norton St Mary's Church, Letchworth Stagenhoe

St Albans

The Blue Anchor The Boot Childwickbury Manor The Cock Colney Heath Mill Fleur de Lys Hare and Hounds The Lower Red Lion The Old Kings Arms Ye Olde Fighting Cocks The Queen's Head, Sandridge Rose and Crown The Six Bells St Albans
St Albans
School Sopwell House Sopwell Nunnery (ruins) Verulam House The White Lion


The Barclay School The Thomas Alleyne Academy Trigg's Barn/37 High Street, Stevenage

Three Rivers

Croxley Green Windmill


High Elms Manor St John's Church, Watford Watford Grammar School for Boys Watford Palace Theatre

Welwyn Hatfield

The Beehive, Welwyn Garden City The Brocket Arms Digswell House The Eight Bells, Hatfield Hope and Anchor, Welham Green The Horse and Groom, Hatfield The Green Man, Hatfield The Red Lion, Hatfield Tolmers Park The W