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30 May 2024

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St Hugh’s graduate student co-authors book about St Albans Abbey

St Hugh’s graduate student, Meg Kirkpatrick (DPhil Archaeology) has co-authored a book entitled: St Albans Abbey: The Excavation of the Chapter House 1978, which will be published on Wednesday 12 June 2024. The book is about the excavation in 1978 of the site of the medieval chapter house of St Albans Abbey, a building second in importance only to the abbey church itself. The excavation took place in response to the impending construction of a new chapter house, on the exact site of its medieval predecessor, demolished following the suppression of the abbey in the sixteenth century.

Enigmatic finds had long revealed that this early Christian site on the hill, now dominated by the great mass of the Norman abbey church, is one of the most important for the study of the history of early England. In just four short months, excavations uncovered fragments of the decorated floor of the Anglo-Saxon abbey and associated burials, along with the magnificent floor of relief-decorated tiles of the medieval chapter house, and the graves of sixteen known figures of the late eleventh-to fifteenth-century abbey, including eleven abbots.

The origins of the medieval abbey lie much further in the past, in the time of Roman Verulamium, and the early history of the abbey is that of the martyrdom of Alban, whose burial is associated with the area of the abbey itself. The creation of memorial churches over the graves of saints outside the walls of Roman cities is commonplace in the world of late antiquity. One has only to think of St Peter’s or St Paul’s without the Walls in Rome, but in Britain no single case is yet known, other than St Albans.

For more information and to pre-order the book please click here.

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