St Alban’s Grove, SM5


St Albans Cathedral in Hertfordshire was first established as a benedictine monastery by the Anglo-Saxon King, Offa II of Mercia in AD793. It is said to be situated near the execution site of St Alban, Britain’s first Christian martyr. According to Bede, Alban lived in the Romano-British city of Verulamium just to the southwest of the modern town of St Albans, some time during the 3rd or 4th century. Alban encountered a Christian priest fleeing from persecutors and sheltered him in his house for a number of days. He was so taken by the man’s faith and piety that he himself converted to Christianity. When, eventually, Roman soldiers came to seize the priest, Alban put on his cloak and presented himself in his place. He was sentenced to execution by beheading. As he was led away, he crossed what is believed to be the River Ver, and went about 500 paces up a sloping hill overlooking a plain. Upon reaching the summit he prayed to God for a drink, whereupon water sprang up at his feet. It was at this place that his head was struck off. The abbey was closed by Henry VIII during his 16thCentury cull of the monasteries, and became a cathedral in 1877. Like many of the roads on the St Helier’s estate this is named after British monasteries and abbeys in remembrance of the area’s historic ownership by Westminster Abbey. The road names are in alphabetical order, of which Aberconway Road in the north west of the estate is first. 

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