Thursday, 12 July 2012

I have been to ... the Cathedral and Abbey Church of Saint Alban

Yesterday evening I - and a small group drawn from the international fraternal organisation of which I am a member - had the opportunity to visit the Cathedral and Abbey Church of Saint Alban. Our guide was the Clerk-of-Works, George Laverick, who has worked there for many years, and whose knowledge of the history of the building is encyclopaedic.

We began of visit just as Evensong was coming to an end, and spent some time in the nave. This has Norman arches on one side (which were built from recovered Roman bricks and in-filled with rubble) and Early English-style pointed arches on the other. The latter replaced the original Norman arches when that side of the church collapsed during the Middle Ages.

During our visit we also saw the magnificent Wallingford Screen, the Lady Chapel (which was, in 1570, walled off to provide accommodation for the St Alban's Grammar School), and the rebuilt Tomb of St Alban, the first British Christian martyr.

I had heard that the Cathedral and Abbey Church of Saint Alban was a magnificent building, but it was not until yesterday that I began to appreciate how big it is and how important it is. The work done by George Laverick and his team to both maintain and restore the Cathedral is second to none, and I hope to return in the next few years to see what further progress they have made.


  1. Yes a magnificent building, just a shame they pillaged Roman Verulamium for the building materials.

  2. Fire at Will,

    In its turn the structure of the Abbey was also 'robbed' to provide building materials for some of the big houses in that part of Hertfordshire, and there was even a failed attempt by a local builder to undermine the tower so that it would collapse and become available as a source of building materials!

    Things don't change much over the centuries, do they?

    All the best,