ALBAN, SAINT, usually styled the protomartyr of Britain, is said to have been born at Verulamium (the modern St Albans in Hertfordshire) towards the close of the 3rd century, and to have served for seven years in Rome in the army of the emperor Diocletian. On his return to Britain he settled at his native place and was put to death as a Christian during the persecution of Diocletian (c. 286-303). According to tradition, when peace was restored, great honours were paid to his tomb. A church was built on the spot, c. 793, by King Offa of Mercia. A monastery was subsequently added, and around it the present town of St Albans gradually grew up. Pope Adrian IV., who was born in the neighbourhood, conferred on the abbot of St Alban's the right of precedence over his fellow abbots, a right hitherto attached to the abbey of Glastonbury. St Alban is commemorated in the Roman martyrology on the 22nd of June; but it is impossible to determine with certainty whether he ever existed, as no mention of him occurs till the middle of the 6th century.
See U. Chevalier, Repertoire des sources historiques (1905), i. 95; D. Hardy, Descriptive Catalogue (1862), I. i. 3-34, ii. 688.
Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)