What to See in England
By Gordon Home
Public Domain Books
VERULAMIUM AND GORHAMBURY
=How to get there.=–Through train from St. Pancras. Midland Railway. =Nearest Station.=–St. Albans. =Distance from London.=–20 miles. =Average Time.=–Varies between 1/2 to 1 hour.
1st 2nd 3rd =Fares.=–Single 2s. 8d. ... 1s. 7-1/2d. Return 5s. 4d. ... 3s. 3d.
=Accommodation Obtainable.=–"The Peahen,” “Red Lion Hotel," “The George,” etc. =Alternative Routes.=–Train from Euston, L. and N.W. Railway. Train from King’s Cross, Great Northern Railway.
St. Albans is an ancient town of much historic interest, being built close to the site of the old Roman city of Verulamium. West of the town; by a little stream, the Ver, some remains of the old Roman wall may be seen, and the frequent discoveries made there are placed in the museum in the town. St. Alban, or Albanus, who has given his name to the town, was the first British martyr. He lived in the reign of Diocletian, and was beheaded on the site of the abbey raised in his honour. The Benedictine monastery which arose became the wealthiest and most popular in England through the fame of the saint. Most of the kings from Saxon times until the dissolution of the monastery in Henry VIII.’s reign, visited this shrine. In later times the Abbey Church was made parochial, and finally a cathedral.
St. Albans owes some of its importance to its situation on the famous northward road; Watling Street runs through it. Owing to its proximity to London, it was the scene of two battles in its High Street during the Wars of the Roses.
The cathedral occupies the highest site of any in England. The square Norman tower owes its red hue to the Roman bricks used in its construction. One remarkable feature is the length of the nave, which is only exceeded by Winchester. Every style of architecture is represented in the interior from Early Norman to Late Perpendicular, and in the triforium of the north transept are to be seen some Saxon balusters and columns. The shrine of St. Alban is in the Saint’s Chapel, with the interesting watching-loft on the north side. The west end has been very much renovated by Lord Grimthorpe.
At Gorhambury can be seen the tower of the ruined house formerly occupied by Sir Nicholas Bacon, and visited by Queen Elizabeth. In the antique church of St. Michael in Verulamium is Lord Bacon’s monument.
[Illustration: F. Frith & Co., Ltd. ST. ALBANS ABBEY.
Showing the Central Tower constructed of Roman bricks from Verulamium.]