Verulamium was a prominent Roman settlement near modern day St Albans in Hertfordshire, England.
History of Verulamium
Formerly the tribal capital of the native Catuvellauni tribe, Verulamium was conquered by the Romans during their invasion of Britain in 43 AD.
By 50 AD, Verulamium had become a major Roman town, and as such was a prime target during the revolt of Boudica in 61 AD, when it was burnt to the ground. However, never ones to be perturbed, the Romans crushed the revolt and re-built Verulamium, and it remained a central Roman town for the next 400 years.
There are a variety of Roman remains at Verulamium including a Hypocaust – an ancient underfloor heating system. This marvel of Roman engineering allowed hot air to circulate beneath the floor and through the walls of buildings.
There was a mosaic covering the hypocaust and this floor is thought to have been part of the reception and meeting rooms of a large town house, built around AD 200 near Watling Street, the major Roman road that ran past Verulamium. The hypocaust was uncovered during excavations in Verulamium Park in the 1930s.
From Verulamium Park there is a magnificent view of St Alban’s Cathedral and Abbey Church, constructed in 1077, and said to be located on the site of St Alban’s execution.
The Roman remains at Verulamium Park consist of a variety of buildings – a basilica, bathhouse, part of the city walls and an outline of the London Gate. The most impressive are the remains of the roman theatre which lie across the road.
Verulamium Park covers 100 acres of beautiful parkland. In 1923 the site was the first of its kind in the country to be listed as a Scheduled Ancient Monument, protected under law.
Within the site itself is Verulamium Museum, which displays hundreds of objects that have been excavated from the area, helping to show aspects of Roman everyday life. The museum is filled with ancient treasures, impressive murals and some of the finest mosaics outside of the Mediterranean. You can also see recent discoveries such as the Sandridge Hoard, a collection of 159 Roman gold coins. The museum is free to St Albans residents.
Getting to Verulamium
Verulamium Museum and Park are a 20 minute walk from St Albans city centre, accessible via St Michael’s Street close to the museum (where parking is available) or off Bluehouse Hill (A4147 if approaching by car).
The nearest station to Verulamium Park is St Alban’s Abbey, though St Albans station is also close, and only a 20 minute train ride from London St Pancras. The 300 bus service runs between this station, the city centre and the museum.