Meeting Old Friends

   Posted by: Dorothea Preis   in News

Last week my husband attended a conference in Hobart in Tasmania.  So I went along for some sightseeing.  Visiting St David’s Cathedral I admired the beautiful stained glass windows.  One of them showed St Alban, which after my recent work on St Albans in Hertfordshire was like meeting an old friend.

Saint Alban was the first martyr of Britain (executed in c. 304). His story has often been told, among others by the Venerable Bede.[1]  According to this, Alban was a Romano-British citizen of Verulanium, who gave shelter to a Christian priest, called Amphibalus, during a persecution of Christians.  He was so impressed by what this man had to say that Alban converted to Christianity.  When Roman soldiers came to search his house for the priest, he pretended to be him and was arrested.  During the trial he stood firm to his new faith and was beheaded.[2]  However, en route to his execution he performed several miracles like stopping the water of the river to flow and causing a spring of water on the hill, where he was beheaded (hence the street name ‘Holywell Hill’).  His original executioner converted to Christianity on the spot and the man who eventually did the deed was punished by blindness.  Unfortunately all this did not help Amphibalus, who along with some others was a few days later stoned to death.[3]

At the time we were there, the Australian Shakespeare Festival was taking place in Hobart.  Unfortunately we did not have time to visit any of the vents, but William was looking down on us from a great height all over the city, which was like running into another old friend.


1.    “St Alban”, Catholic Encyclopedia – New Advent.  (accessed 23 May 2010)
2.    “The Story of St Alban”, The Cathedral and Abbey Church of St Alban.  (accessed 24 May 2010)
3.    “St Alban”, New Advent

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