Saturday, 20 June 2015

St Alban

Today is the modern feast day of St Alban, the proto-martyr of Britain. There contines to be academic debate as to whether he is early or late third century in date.

On the Medieval Religion discussion group Gordon Plumb posted the following pictures:

Warwick, St Mary, Beauchamp Chantry, I, 3b-4b (upper right figure):
and detail:

St Albans, Cathedral and Abbey Church of St Alban, details of shrine base:

To these John Dillon added the following:

A few further images of Alban of England, who in addition to his celebration on 20th June in the Church of England and in other churches of the Anglican Communion has an optional celebration on this day in the (Roman) Catholic Church of England and Wales. In the Roman Martyrology and in the calendars of some smaller Western-rite churches his commemoration falls on 22nd June. Alban of Mainz (conceivably Alban of England transformed by a distinct, later-appearing hagiography) is celebrated on 21st June in Roman Catholic dioceses in Belgium, Luxembourg, western and southern Germany, and Switzerland.

a) Alban's martyrdom as depicted by the Alexis Master in the earlier twelfth-century St Albans Psalter (betw. 1120 and 1145; Hildesheim, Dombibliothek, MS St. Godehard 1; p. 41):

b) Alban's martyrdom as depicted by the thirteenth-century St Albans monk Matthew Paris in an early, partly autograph manuscript of his Chronica maiora (Cambridge, Corpus Christi College, Ms 26):

c) Scenes from a Life of Alban and Amphibalus as depicted by Matthew Paris in another earlier fourteenth-century manuscript (Dublin, Trinity College, Ms E.I.40., fols. 77 ff.) - the images are expandable:

Offa and His Men Discover Alban's Tomb

"Offa and His Men Discover Alban's Tomb" From "King Offa's Foundation of St Alban's Abbey" By Mathew Paris (died 1259).

Reproduced by kind permission of The Board of Trinity College Dublin.

d) Alban's martyrdom as depicted in an earlier fourteenth-century copy of Vincent of Beauvais' Speculum historiale in its French-language version by Jean de Vignay (Paris, BnF, ms. Arsenal 5080, fol. 240r):

e) Alban's martyrdom as depicted in a later fourteenth-century copy (ca. 1370-1380) of Vincent of Beauvais' Speculum historiale in its French-language version by Jean de Vignay (Paris, BnF, ms. Nouvelle acquisition fran├žaise 15941, fol. 98r):

Gordon Plumb also posted about St Amphibalus who was the fugitive priest who took refuge with St Alban (the name Amphibalus means 'cloak', referring to the priestly garment which Alban donned in his stead). His feast day is June 25th.

Illustration of the martyrdom of St Amphibalus, from life of St Alban in Trinity College, Dublin, MS. 177 (formerly E.I.40).

There is a collotype facsimile of this manuscript:
Illustrations to the Life of St Alban in Trin. Coll. Dublin MS. E.i.40, Reproduced in Collotype Facsimile by the Care of W.R.L. Lowe & E.F. Jacob, with a Description of the Illustrations by M.R. James. Oxford, at the Clarendon Press, 1924.

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