St. Alban the Martyr

Our patron, Saint Alban, is the first Christian martyr (or protomartyr) of England.

The earliest account of Saint Alban's life is in Bede's Ecclesiastical History of the English People written in 731 AD, although he is mentioned earlier by Gildas in The Ruin of Britain, written about 540 AD. Alban lived in Verulamium (St Albans) in the 3rd or 4th century. Although himself a pagan, he hid a Christian priest in his home during a time of persecution, and was so impressed with the priest's behaviour that he became a Christian. When the authorities discovered where the priest was hiding and came to seize him, Alban put on the priest's cloak and presented himself to the soldiers in his stead. When the magistrate found that he had swapped places with the priest, he ordered Alban to sacrifice to the pagan gods. Alban refused, declaring: "I worship and adore the true and living God who created all things." The magistrate had Alban tortured and when he remained steadfast had him put to death. 

Saint Alban is usually portrayed as a soldier, although his profession is not mentioned by Bede.