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The Martyrdom of St Alban, 'Proto-Martyr of the English', in a Miscellany From St Albans

The Martyrdom of St Alban, 'Proto-Martyr of the English', in a Miscellany From St Albans

Medium: Ink and pigments on vellum

Date: 1425

Shelfmark: Cotton MS Claudius E IV

Item number: f.34r

Length: 40.2

Width: 28

Scale: Centimetres

Genre: Illuminated Manuscript

This manuscript contains a collection of writings and documents that relate to St Alban's monastery. It begins with a series of histories, including one about its late 8th-century founder, Offa, king of Mercia, and includes accounts of the life and miracles of St Alban, the first Christian martyr of Britain in 304. Mostly made up of documents and administrative material, it would have combined monastic reference-book with promotion of its role in Britain's Christianity. The life and miracles of St Alban were considered history of the monastery, but also it was important that his story be copied and embellished so that his status as Britain's first martyr would be well-known.

The manuscript has multiple accounts of St Alban, beginning with this story of his martyrdom. His priority among English saints is emphasised with the title 'Proto-Martyr'.

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