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Shrine of St Amphibalus returns to St Albans Cathedral

14 May 2021

St Albans Cathedral

THE 14th-century Shrine of St Amphibalus has been returned to St Albans Cathedral after a two-year-long restoration programme, funded by the National Heritage Lottery Fund and more than 1000 individual donors.

St Albans CathedralSt Albans Cathedral

It is one of only 13 pedestal shrines in Britain, and is now located near to the shrine to St Alban. The shrine, dating from the 1350s, is to the priest sheltered by Alban, England’s first martyr, during a Roman persecution at some time between 209 and 313.

The priest was not named until an account in the 1100s, the author of which is thought to have mistaken the Latin for a cloak, amphibalus, for his name. The shrine was destroyed during the Dissolution in 1539, but more than half its stones were found used as rubble in a partition wall during the abbey’s 19th-century restoration and preserved (above).

St Albans CathedralSt Albans Cathedral

The shrine was roughly reconstructed, but has waited almost 150 years for a full restoration. This has included new carving, including a mask-wearing gargoyle (above). The work was carried out by Skillingtons, in Lincolnshire.

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