St Albans: A History


This book deals with all aspects of the history of St Albans, but is particularly concerned with the economic and social life of the city. Two themes stand out: the constant economic, political and cultural pull of London, and the ways in which St Albans has promoted, and been influenced by, its own past.

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This book covers more than 2,000 years of history. St Albans – or Verulamium – was one of the largest and most important towns in Roman Britain. The site of Britain’s first Christian martyrdom. After the fall of the Roman town, a small community of Christians remained. Out of the dark ages emerged St Albans abbey, one of the most significant religious houses of medieval England.

However, the history of later medieval St Albans was dominated by conflict between the abbey and the civic authorities. This book traces the evolution of urban government and the people’s experiences of the political upheavals that beset England in this period. Like many other towns, it was touched by the wars of the Roses, the civil war, and many lesser conflicts.

In modern times it has grown substantially, along with other towns in the commuter belt. Extended suburban housing development was made possible by the railway, which arrived in 1858, and the spread of car ownership. St Albans – which became a city in 1877 – has been described as ‘a terribly smug place’, but has much to recommend it, not least the long and varied history which has itself remained an important theme in the city’s cultural life.

Dr Mark Freeman was born in St Albans in 1974, and educated at Skyswood JMI school, St Albans School, Merton College Oxford and the University of Glasgow, where he is now a Senior Lecturer in Economic and Social History.

  • Author: Dr Mark Freeman
  • Binding: hardback has now sold out, paperback only
  • ISBN: 978-1-85936-139-9 (hb), 978-1-85936-190-0 (pb)
  • Pages: 368
  • Illustrations: Over 200, most in full colour
  • Date of Publication: 10 November 2008
  • Dimensions: 243 × 169 mm

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