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SAINT ALBANS

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Originally appearing in Volume V23, Page 1013 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
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SAINT ALBANS, a city and the county-seat of Franklin county, Vermont, U.S.A., 57 M. (by rail) N.N.W. of Montpelier. Pop. (1900) 6239, including 1201 foreign-born; (1910) 6381. St Albans is served by the Central Vermont railway, which has general offices and shops here, and by an electric line connecting with Lake Champlain at St Albans Bay and with Swanton, 9 M. N. The city is built on a plain less than 3 m. from Lake Champlain and about 300 ft. above it; surrounding hills (Aldis and Bellevue) rise still higher and command charming views of the Green Mountains, Lake Champlain and the Adirondacks. Among the prominent buildings are a U.S. customs-house, the city hall, the court house, a public library, a hospital (1882), the Warner Home for Little Wanderers (1882), two Roman Catholic parochial schools and two convents. There are marble quarries in the vicinity, but the surrounding country is devoted largely to dairying. St Albans has a large creamery, manufactures condensed milk and ships large quantities of butter. Shortly after the martyrdom of St Alban, probably in 303, a church was built on the spot where he was slain, and in 793 Offa, king of Mercia, who professed to have discovered the relics of the martyr, founded in his honour a monastery for Benedictines, which became one of the richest and most important houses of that order in the kingdom. The abbots, Ealdred and Ealmer, at the close of the loth century began to break up the ruins of the old Roman city of Verulamium for materials to construct a new abbey church; but its erection was delayed till the time of William the Conqueror, when Paul of Caen, a relative of Archbishop Lanfranc, was in 1077 appointed abbot. The cathedral at Canterbury as built by Lanfranc was almost a reproduction of St Stephen's, Caen; but Paul, while adopting the same model for St Albans, built it on a much larger scale. The church was consecrated in 1115, but had been finished some years before. Of the original Norman church the principal potions now remaining are the eastern bays of the nave, the tower and the transepts, but the main outlines of the building are still those planned by Paul. It is thus one of the most important specimens of Norman architecture in England, with the special characteristic that, owing to the use of the flat broad Roman tile, the Norman portions are peculiarly bare and stern. The western towers were pulled down in the 13th century. About I155 Robert de Gorham repaired and beautified the early shrine and rebuilt the chapter-house and part of the cloister; but nothing of his work now remains except part of a very beautiful doorway discovered in recent times. About 1200 Abbot John de Cella pulled down the west front and portions of the north and south aisles. He began the erection of the west front in a new and enriched form, and his work was continued by his successor William de Trumpyngtone in a plainer manner. In 1257 the eastern portion was pulled down, and between the middle of the 13th and the beginning of the 14th century a sanctuary, ante-chapel and lady chapel were added, all remarkably fine specimens of the architecture of the period. In 1323 two great columns on the south side suddenly fell, and this necessitated the rebuilding of five bays of the south aisle and the Norman cloisters. Various incongruous additions were made during the Perpendicular period, and much damage was also done during the dissolution of the abbeys to the finer work in the interior. Structural dangers gave rise to an extensive restoration and partial rebuilding, begun under the direction of Sir Gilbert Scott, and completed in 1894 by Lord The first permanent settlement here was established in 1786; the township of St Albans (pop. in 1900, 1715) was incorporated in 1859, and the larger part of It was chartered as the city of St Albans in 1897. On the 19th of October 1864 Lieut. Bennett H. Young led from Canada about twenty-five un-uniformed Confederate soldiers in a raid on St Albans. They looted three banks, wounded several citizens, one mortally, and escaped to Canada, where Young and twelve others were arrested and brought to trial. But they were never punished, and even the $75,000 which had been taken from them on their arrest was returned to them. Later, however, the Canadian government refunded this amount to the banks. In 1866 and again in 187o the Fenians made St Albans a base for attacks on Canada, and United States troops were sent here to preserve neutrality.
End of Article: SAINT ALBANS
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