St Albans has many faces. It’s a vibrant, modern Hertfordshire city with attractive buildings and surprising architecture. It’s a buzzing market town on Wednesdays and Saturdays. It’s a cathedral city with the abbey at its heart, the Easter Pilgrimage that draws thousands of pilgrims from near and far, and the Alban Pageant with larger-than-life puppets that recreate Alban’s story along its streets every June.A rich seam of history runs from the time of Julius Caesar and Roman Verulamium, through the time of King Offa of Mercia and the monastery built to honour Alban in 793 to the twelfth-century Sopwell Nunnery with its adventurous abbess, author of a book on fishing, thought to be the first book written in the English language by a woman. Yet there is the darker side with murder and mayhem at its core. Today’s St Albans Registry Office was once a prison where hangings were carried out and prisoners allotted gruelling tasks.The extensive fifteenth-century traveller and chronicler Fynes Moryson found St Albans ‘a pleasant towne, full of faire innes’. It is still that and much more. This book takes you on an alphabetical tour of St Albans through the ages.
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