Saturday, 24 July 2010

SANCTUARY? St Alban's Abbey

NEAR EDGWARE is near St Albans.

As it is Sanctuary-Saturday, and I’m feeling all historical, I decided to keep my focus close to home.

Today, when we think of the word sanctuary, we imagine a place of safety. The story of St Albans is that a Roman soldier gave sanctuary to a Christian priest in the days when that was a certifiable action, and a crime, punishable by death.

After his execution, Alban’s head bounced down hill creating a natural spring. Being made a saint after something like that, was pretty much a given, especially in those days. 

The fact that Britain’s first Christian martyr was buried in the cathedral – St Alban’s Abbey – is what makes the building a sanctuary.

Miracles still happen today: like the fact I can get my old car to the top of Holywell Hill, despite the fact that my vertigo makes me feel sick as a dirt, cheap chop or a dead dog!

In all seriousness, this is one of the most beautiful buildings near here. The fact that it was made, mostly, of recycled Roman ruins was, ecologically, very sound thinking.

Recycling can be seen in many different places.

Can you think of a more beautiful building made out of recycled materials? 


  1. That is a beautiful building, and I love the story behind it. Our buildings around here aren't old enough to have history. *sigh*

  2. Hi Susan

    St Albans was the third largest Roman city in Britain - Verulamium. It was burned to the ground by Boudicca - gotta love a little home grown rebellion.
    I go to the park in St Albans, at lot. When the sunlight catches the thin Roman bricks used in the tower, the terracotta tiles absorb the rays and the whole thing glows. Amazing.

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  4. Elaine, thanks for posting the picture and all the history. It makes me long for England! I used to get kind of blissed-out sensing all that history in everything I saw and touched. You live in a lovely place.

  5. That's an interesting piece of history. I love the architecture of old buildings.

  6. Elaine - That does sound amazing, with the terracotta tiles soaking up the sun and glowing. It also sounds like an awesome setting for a scene in a book. :)

  7. Lovely. California has some Spanish Missionary's that look like that. Or did - a long time ago.

    I can see how you could be inspired there.


  8. Gorgeous! I would love to sit across from that building with my notepad and just write lots of ghost stories!

    Love it, thanks :-)

  9. Hey Anne
    Isn't it funny how you just have to touch the things that look so beautiful?

    Hello Carla
    Architecture, especially when people in past times have created something so immense, is a sources of fascination for me too.

    Hi Donna
    Spanish Missions??! They sound beautiful and a little controlling in just two words! ;)

    Hi Charmaine
    I think it is the sense of time standing still that leads ones thoughts to ghost stories. When I sit near such a building I imagining the lives of people who had stood on the same spot, also just looking, in days gone by.