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ST ALBANS ABBEY

ALTERNATIVE NAME:  St Alban's Abbey, Cathedral Church of St Alban
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The history of St Albans Abbey is said to begin with the visit of St German of Auxerre to the tomb of St. Alban the Martyr in 429. St German left relics of other saints with the body of Alban, and these are said to have been rediscovered in 793 by Offa, King of Mercia. To preserve them, he founded a monastery which came under Benedictine rule which was soon laxly practiced or abandoned. Both monks and nuns were admitted throughout the 9th and 10th centuries, in separate houses, the latter placed further away in the almonry before 940. King Edgar reformed it to Benedictine rule in about 970. After 1077, Abbot Paul made regulations for the nuns who lived near the almonry and they were apparently moved to Sopwell circa 1140. There were 50 monks at the Abbey in 1190, and about the same number at the Dissolution in 1539. A large school was attached to the Abbey. The church is Norman erected in 1077-88, and built of flint and Roman brick. The north nave wall, transepts and crossing tower of this building remain. The west end of the nave was extended between 1195 and 1230, in Early English style. Rebuilding of the east end was carried out in the late 13th-early 14th century and the Lady Chapel was completed, in Decorated style. In 1323 part of the nave collapsed and was rebuilt. Minor alterations continued in the 14th-16th centuries. After the reformation the church was sold to the town and by 1832 it was becoming ruinous. It was extensively restored in the late 19th century under Sir Gilbert Scott and Lord Grimthorpe, who rebuilt the west end in Victorian style.
Dependencies: Beadlow, Belvoir, Binham, Hatfield Peveral, Hertford, Millbrook, Pembrokem Redbourn, Tynemouth, Wallingford, Wymondham, St Albans Hall (Oxford); the Hospital and nunnery of St Mary de Pre, Sopwell nunnery and St Julian's Hospital, (St Albans).

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