St Albans (city), Hertfordshire Genealogy

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Guide to St Albans, Hertfordshire history, family history, and genealogy: parish registers, census records, birth records, marriage records, and death records.

St Albans cathedral.JPG

History[edit | edit source]

St Albans coat of arms
St Albans location in England
St Albans flag

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 (32 km) north-northwest of central London, 8 miles (13 km) southwest of Welwyn Garden City and 11 miles (18 km) south-southeast of Luton. St Albans was the first major town on the old Roman road of Watling Street for travelers heading north, and it became the Roman city of Verulamium. It is a historic market town.

There was an Iron Age settlement known as Verulamium, Verlamion, or Verlamio, near the site of the present city, the center of Tasciovanus' power and a major center of the Catuvellauni from about 20 BC until shortly after the Roman invasion of AD 43. The name "Verulamium" is Celtic, meaning "settlement over or by the marsh". The town was on Prae Hill, 2 km to the west of modern St Albans, now covered by the village of St. Michael's, Verulamium Park and the Gorhambury Estate. It is believed that the tribal capital was moved to the site by Tasciovanus (around 25 to 5 BC). Cunobelinus may have constructed Beech Bottom Dyke, a defensive earthwork near the settlement whose significance is uncertain.

The Roman city of Verulamium, the second-largest town in Roman Britain after Londinium, developed from the Celtic settlement, and was granted the rank of municipium around AD 50, meaning that its citizens had what were known as "Latin Rights", a lesser citizenship status than a colonia possessed. It grew to a significant town, and as such received the attentions of Boudica of the Iceni in 61, when Verulamium was sacked and burnt on her orders. Archaeologists have recorded a black ash layer, thus confirming the Roman written record. It grew steadily and by the early 3rd century, it covered an area of about 125 acres (0.51 km2), behind a deep ditch and wall. Verulamium contained a forum, basilica and a theater, much of which were damaged during two fires, one in 155 and the other in around 250. One of the few extant Roman inscriptions in Britain is found on the remnants of the forum.

St Albans Roman wall.JPG

After the Roman withdrawal the town became the center of the territory or regio of the Anglo-Saxon Waeclingas tribe.

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.[12] 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 abbey medieval in England. The scribe Matthew Paris lived there and the first draft of Magna Carta was drawn up there. It became a parish church after the dissolution of the Benedictine abbey in 1539 and was made a cathedral in 1877.

St Albans School was founded in AD 948. Matthew Paris was educated there and it is the only school in the English-speaking world to have educated a Pope (Adrian IV). Now a public school it has, since 1871, occupied a site to the west of the Abbey and includes the 14th-century Abbey Gateway. One of its buildings was a hat factory, a link with the city's industrial past.

On Abbey Mill Lane, the road between the Abbey and the school, are the palaces of the Bishops of St Albans and Hertford and Ye Olde Fighting Cocks, claimed to be the oldest pub in England. Between 1403 and 1412 Thomas Wolvey was engaged to build a clock tower in the Market Place. It is the only extant medieval town belfry in England.[citation needed] The original bell, named for the Archangel Gabriel sounds F-natural and weighs one ton. Gabriel sounded at 4 am for the Angelus and at 8 or 9 pm for the curfew.

Before the 20th century St Albans was a rural market town, a Christian pilgrimage site, and the first coaching stop of the route to and from London, accounting for its numerous old inns. Victorian St Albans was small and had little industry. Its population grew more slowly than London, 8–9% per decade between 1801 and 1861, compared to the 31% per decade growth of London in the same period. The railway arrived relatively late, in 1858. In 1869 the extension of the city boundaries was opposed by the Earl of Verulam and many of the townsfolk, but there was rapid expansion and much building at the end of the century, and between 1891 and 1901 the population grew by 37%.

Except for some significant growth due to the electronics Industry, St Albans has become largely a bedroom city for London.[1]

Resources[edit | edit source]

Cemeteries (Civil)[edit | edit source]

Hatfield Road Cemetery
178 Hatfield Rd
St Albans AL1 4LU

St Peter's Graveyard
62 St Peter's St
St Albans AL1 3HG

Willow Haven Cemetery
East Lane
Abbots Langley WD5 0QG
Phone: +44 1923 263536

Garden of Peace Cemetery
178 Hatfield Rd
St Albans AL1 4JS

Garden of Rest Cemetery
St Albans AL4 0BE

Church Records[edit | edit source]

Parishes[edit | edit source]

St Luke's
Church address:
St Lukes Vicarage
6 Cell Barnes Ln
St Albans AL1 5QJ
Phone: +44 1727 865399

St Luke's, Bricket Wood
Church address:
The Crescent
Bricket Wood
St Albans AL2 3NF
Phone: +44 1923 676401

St Mark's
Church address:
Church Ln
Colney Heath
St Albans AL4 0NH
Phone: +44 1727 825175

St Julian's
Church address:
3 Abbots Ave
St Albans AL1 2HY

St Albans' Cathedral
Church address:
St Albans AL1 1BY
Phone: +44 1727 860780

St Peter

St Mary's
Church address:
49 Hemel Hempstead Rd
St Albans AL3 7NL
Phone: +44 1582 791669

St Paul's
Church address:
33 St.Pauls Pl
Hatfield Rd
St Albans AL1 4JW
Phone: +44 1727 846281

St Paul's City Center
Church address:
Blandford Rd
St Albans AL1 4JP
Phone: +44 1727 846281

St Stephen
Church address:
14 Watling St
St Albans AL1 2PX
Phone: +44 1727 862598

St Michael
Church address:
St Michael's St
St Albans AL3 4SS
Phone: +44 1727 835037

St Saviour's
Church address:
25 Sandpit La
St Albans AL1 4DF
Phone: +44 1727 851526

Non Conformists[edit | edit source]

  • Baptist
  • Church of Christ
  • Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints
  • Community Church
  • Cornerstone Church
  • Destiny Church
  • Methodist
  • Pentecostal
  • Roman Catholic
  • Russian Orthodox
  • Salvation Army
  • Seventh Day Adventist
  • The Vineyard Church

Additionally the following non-Christian groups have assemblies in the region of Glasgow:

  • Baha'i
  • Buddhist
  • Hindu
  • Jewish
  • Muslim
  • Sikh

Civil Registration[edit | edit source]

Birth, marriages and deaths records have been kept by the UK government since July 1837 to the present day. Prior to that, local parishes of the Episcopal Church, and other religious organizations, were the only repositories of this information.

Local Histories[edit | edit source]

Maps and Gazetteers[edit | edit source]

Newspapers[edit | edit source]

Occupations[edit | edit source]

A large proportion of the population of St Albans work outside the city, more than 53%, primarily in London. There are rapid train services into the city daily.

St Albans is now one of the main office markets in Hertfordshire, generally attracting financial and business services industries.Such companies such as Deloitte & Touche, Building Research Establishment, AECOM previously(Faber Maunsell), PricewaterhouseCoopers, KPMG, Foods, Hewitt,all of which have a large office base here. The surrounding area is favoured by thedistributive industries, for example NFT Distribution for Sainsburys which employs over 600 staff.

The City of St Albans is a significant market town and retail centre featuring a good concentration of small specialist independent retailers, as well as High multiples along St Peter’s Street, in the Maltings and Christopher Place shopping centers. All these provide for local employment.[2]

St Albans also has a number of small to medium electronics companies providing technical employment in the area. Companies such as St Albans Electric Meter Co, Feltech, Coleburn, SICK (UK) division of SICK AG, Germany, Harbenden Space Electronics, Eversun, and Ogier Electronics are well represented and provide employment opportunities from technicians to research scientists. [3]

Societies[edit | edit source]

Archives[edit | edit source]

Websites[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]