When I lived in Dublin for my MA, I was able to visit my cousin who lives outside of London. She is not terribly far from St. Albans, and was an absolutely lovely hostess who let me linger and stare at old historical things for more time than is probably appropriate! St. Albans is quite possibly one of the most beautiful towns I have seen yet- it’s a wonderful mix of old and new, and although there is sometimes a difference of several centuries between buildings it all works together. However, today’s post dates back even further than all of that, all the way back to the Roman occupation of Britain!
There are some spectacular Roman ruins/remains in the areas about St. Albans. I will have a post on Verulamium (the remains of the Roman city, including an amphitheatre) next week, but this week is all about the city walls that defended it. There isn’t a lot of the wall remaining but what is there certainly gives you an idea of what people were dealing with two thousand years ago. Some surviving pieces are close to four metres tall, and given the thickness and density it looks to be a good piece of defence. Of course, I was that weird person who kept touching the wall. (I think I heard someone say “it’s just a wall” behind me…)
The surviving parts are partially out in the open and partially in a forested area and I have to say it is one of the loveliest walks that I’ve been on in all of my travels. It’s something about the worn, millenia-old stones that speaks to me. I know that some people may not care, but I think it’s fascinating that Roman Britons wandered along these very paths and touched the same stones that we are. I’m quite certain that they couldn’t have imagined what and where society is now! (I don’t know, maybe they could have predicted Netflix. They were a fairly proficient society themselves…) Now, onto the walls themselves!
If you are in the area at all, you need to take a wander along the wall and soak up some history for a bit! You can visit at any time during daylight and it’s absolutely unequivocally free. You don’t have a reason not to! And next week I will follow up with the Verulamium ruins which are impressive to everyone, history nerd or no!