Saturday, June 05, 2004

"The Celtic peoples were pagans like the Romans worshipping many Gods. Celtic Gods and Roman Gods seemed to coexist together; a Celtic-Romano Temple was excavated south of the Roman Theatre, and the remains of a Triangular Temple lie unseen in Verulamium Park.

Christianity had one God, and it had become a threat to the Roman Empire, because the followers refused to acknowledge the Emperor as divine, the consequence being - it was not tolerated, which only seemed to accelerate its growth! In Britain as elesewhere the faith was spreading, and in about the year AD209 the story and legend of St Alban begins. It is said that Alban was an affluent Roman citizen, possibly an army officer, and that during a period when Christians were being persecuted, he gave shelter to a man who has been called Amphibalus. While he stayed with him, Alban was converted to Christianity. Amphibulas got away and Alban was arrested: after a prolonged trial, during which he refused to give up his faith, he was beheaded - a privilege only allowed to Roman citizens. It is also possible that the execution took place on the hill close to where the Abbey was eventually built."

- from The St Albans Mapguide

The Mapguide goes on to suggest that the trial of St Alban actually took place in the Roman theatre which even to this day stands within the gates of the Gorhambury estate. So Francis Bacon, growing up, would have played in this very theatre, the site of St Alban's trial. Later when Bacon was made a Viscount, he chose the name Viscount St Alban. Note that he did not select the plural version, St Albans, after the town, which would have been consistent with the usual protocol to select a place-name to adorn the title, but after the man, St Alban. Thus Francis explicitly identified himself with the saint.

This becomes even more curious when one reads in the Royal Masonic Cyclopedia that the date of St Alban's martyrdom is given there as 287AD. This date is not historical, but symbolic, as may be discerned by examination of the remarkable book Secret Shakespearean Seals, available on-line at the sidebar link.