St. Albans is a city in the area of Hertfordshire, England, which is considered the primary urban area in the City and District of St. Albans. St. Albans is today considered a market town and is well known for its unique and interesting historic past.

A Brief History

The area that is now known as St. Albans has a rich and long history. The first known settlers of the area where the Catuvellauni tribe, which settled towards the western area of the modern city of St. Albans. When the Romans invaded and settled the area, they built their own city–Verulamium–alongside the original Celtic settlement. The Roman city was located much closer to the modern city center of St. Albans, and like most modern Roman cities, contained grid mapped streets, public bath houses, temples and a theater. When the Romans left the city, it became known as Verlamchester, a variation on its prior Roman name.

Tradition tells us that Saint Alban, the very first Christian martyr that was British-born, was beheaded in the city which eventually became St. Albans. The St. Alban’s Abbey is supposed to have been built on he very spot that Saint Alban was executed. The original Abbey was eventually converted into a cathedral in 1877, when the City Charter of St. Albans was agreed upon.

The current cathedral is one of the oldest buildings in the city, along with the St Albans School. The school was first founded in 948 AD and boasts, among its many students, Pope Adrian IV. The school is located on one of the most historic roads of the city, called Abbey Mill Lane. This road lies between the Abbey and the School, and contains various old buildings such as the palaces owned by the Bishops of St. Albans, as well as one of the oldest public houses in all of England, which supposedly boasts a history as far back as the 12th century.

Although today St Albans boasts a historic heritage and the city was always a frequent stop for travelers on their way to London, the city itself did not experience any periods of tremendous growth and remained a mostly rural town until the 20th century. After the end of World War II, the city saw a significant increase in population and increased interest in its historic heritage sites.

The city is also a popular destination for films due to its closeness to the London area and its unique blend of historic architecture from its early past and modern architecture from its recent modern growth.

Notable Births and residents

Francis Bacon, philosopher

David Essex, singer