Facts about St Albans
St Albans is a city in Hertfordshire, England and the major urban area in the City and District of St Albans. It lies east of Hemel Hempstead and west of Hatfield, about 20 miles north-northwest of central London, 8 miles southwest of Welwyn Garden City and 11 miles south-southeast of Luton. It is a historic market town and is now a dormitory town within the London commuter belt and the Greater London Built-up Area.
St Albans Abbey and the associated Anglo-Saxon settlement were founded on the hill outside the Roman city where it was believed St Alban was buried. An archaeological excavation in 1978, directed by Martin Biddle, failed to find Roman remains on the site of the medieval chapter house. As late as the eighth century the Saxon inhabitants of St Albans nearby were aware of their ancient neighbour, which they knew alternatively as Verulamacæstir or, under what H. R. Loyn terms “their own hybrid”, Vaeclingscæstir, “the fortress of the followers of Wæcla”, possibly a pocket of British-speakers remaining separate in an increasingly Saxonised area.
The medieval town grew on the hill to the east of Wæclingacaester where the Benedictine Abbey of St Albans was founded by Ulsinus in 793. There is some evidence that the original site was higher up the hill than the present building, which was begun in 1077. St Albans Abbey was the principal medieval abbey in England.