Alban is the earliest British Christian known to us by name and martyred for the faith. He was beheaded during the persecution ordered by the Emperor Diocletian. Recent studies, however, suggest it may even have been at an earlier date of 209, during the persecution under the emperor Septimus Severus. The first mention of St. Alban is by Constantius, in his Life of St Germanus of Auxerre, written about 480.
During a persecution of Christians, Alban, though a pagan, hid a priest in his house. Alban gave him shelter over several weeks, and the priest made such a great impression on him that Alban became a Christian himself.
When the officers of the Roman army came to Alban’s house searching for the priest, Alban exchanged garments with the priest and sent him away to safety, allowing himself to be arrested instead. When the governor of Verulamium heard what had happened and discovered that Alban also had become a Christian and that he refused to renounce his new faith, he ordered him to be flogged and tortured. When he realised that Alban had no intention of renouncing his new faith, the governor sentenced him to be executed. Alban was beheaded near where St Alban’s Cathedral now stands.
The cult of St Alban grew, particularly with the increasing significance of the abbey at St Albans. Legends and miracles associated with Alban multiplied. The bottom of our prayer pages today will have some of those legends about Alban as recorded by the Venerable Bede.
BORN:Unknown date, Roman Britian.
DIED:22 June 304, On a hill above the Roman settlement of Verulamium now near the site of St. Alban's Abbey at St Alban's, Hertfordshire, England.