Wednesday, 5 December 2012

Not enough pictures lately

I just had a glance at my blog and realised that I've hardly been posting photos lately, so the posts look really bland.

Sharing Thanksgiving with our British Friends!
(Gratuitous busy picture to catch your eye)

So, for a visual feast, I'm including some photos from a recent field trip we took with our homeschool history group to St Albans. (Click on the images to make them larger)

St Albans Trip

A little over an hour's drive toward London is the city once called Verulamium by the Romans when they occupied England (roughly 43 AD to 410 AD). Shortly before the Romans left, and during a period of Christian persecution, a local, rich pagan named Alban gave sanctuary to a Christian. While in hiding, the Christian had many conversations with Alban, and eventually, Alban converted to Christianity. One day, Alban swapped clothing with the Christian, who was able to sneak away in disguise, and then, when Alban was captured, he refused to make sacrifices to the pagan gods and was ordered to be executed.

St Albans Cathedral peaking over Autumn Foliage
An abbey was founded on the site of Alban's execution in the late 700s by King Offa, and then under the Normans, the current cathedral was built (c. 1077). During this time, the areas of settlement, which had been on the lower plains across the River Ver, migrated to the environs of the hilltop abbey, and at some point, the name changed to St Albans.

Alban was the first Christian martyr in Britain, and some argue that he should be its patron saint and not Saint George. Some of his actual bones are still kept in the reliquary in the cathedral, having been returned by churches from the continent who, not being subjected to Henry VIII's dissolution, were possessed of them for nearly sixteen-hundred years.

Our Field Trip
This year, we have been studying Our Island Story with a group of six other homeschooling families. St Alban's martyrdom is covered in one of the earlier chapters.

Even though we studied Roman Britain last year (when our topic was Ancient Civilisations), we decided to look at the Roman ruins as well as the cathedral. After all, we'd come this far for the cathedral, why not see the other sites there, too?

So, we had a workshop and tour at the cathedral, and then self-guided tours of the Roman theatre and the Verulamium Museum.  All were within walking distance, and it was arguably the most beautiful day of the autumn.

"Rocky" plays the role of the Roman judge
 in the cathedral workshop:
"Off with his head!"

"Timmy" (L) and "Killer" (R)
Walking through the park from the cathedral
to the theatre ruins

"Phoenix" (middle in teal) with her
friends at the Roman theatre

"Rocky" the Roman

If you want to see my reviews of the cathedral and the museum, see these links at TripAdvisor:

I enjoyed them both, and highly recommend them if you can get to the area.

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