ALBAN, SAINT, OF VERULAM
A martyr of the Britons, often mistakenly called "the proto-martyr of the English." Bede (Hist. eccl., i. 7), doubtless following some unknown acts of St. Alban, says that while still a pagan he gave shelter to a fugitive clerk during the Diocletian persecution; impressed by his guest's personality, he embraced Christianity, and when the clerk was discovered, wrapped himself in the fugitive's cloak and gave himself up to the authorities in his stead; he was scourged and condemned to death, performed miracles on the way to execution, and suffered on June 22; the place of his martyrdom was near Verulamium (St. Albans, Hertfordshire), and after the establishment of Christianity a magnificent church was erected there to his memory. Later accounts elaborate the narrative, and confuse the saint with others named Albanus or Albinus. It is said that the martyr served seven years in the army of Diocletian, and the name of the clerk is given as Amphibalus (first by Geoffrey of Monmouth), probably from his cloak (Lat. amphibalus). It seems certain that a tradition of the martyrdom of some Albanus existed at Verulamium as early as the visit of Germanus in 429 (Constantiuss life of Germanus, i. 25), and there is no reason to deny its truth. But that the martyrdom took place in the Diocletian persecution is first intimated by Gildas (ed. Mommsen, MGH, Chronica minora, iii. 31) and is probably a guess. For Aaron and Julius of Carleon-on-Usk, whose names are joined by Gildas with that of Alban, no local tradition can be shown earlier than the ninth century.