(active 1077-1115 in St. Albans)

Exterior view

Cathedral, St. Albans, Hertfordshire

A monastery was founded at the site in 793. The first Norman abbot in St. Albans, Paul of Caen, was appointed in 1077 and immediately set about rebuilding the abbey church in the Norman (or Romanesque) style, starting with the great tower. This Norman church was built from bricks and tiles stockpiled from the ruined Roman town of Verulamium. It was completed in 1115 and consecrated under Abbot Richard d'Albini, it is a cathedral since 1877.

Paul of Caen built the strongest Anglo-Norman building still extant, large parts of it still stand. The basilica was a church with pillars and ten bays, a very wide transept and seven chapels in echelon. The aisles on either side of the choir chapels did not open into each other. Like the chapels, the side aisles were groin-vaulted, and the central choir chapel would have been barrel-vaulted.

The crossing tower, which is crenellated like a battlement, is the only such eleventh-century tower remaining on an English church; it is likely that the original plans included a façade with twin towers.

The photo shows the exterior view with Romanesque crossing tower.

View the ground plan of St. Albans Cathedral, built by Paul.

© Web Gallery of Art, created by Emil Krén and Daniel Marx.