Restoration of the Shrine of St Amphibalus

05th May 2021

Visitors to St Albans Cathedral will have the chance to see the medieval shrine of St Amphibalus restored to its former glory when they are able to return to the cathedral from May 17 under Step 3 of the Government’s roadmap.

One Cathedral: Two Shrines: One new pilgrimage route – St Albans marks the restoration of the Shrine of St Amphibalus

And to mark the newly restored shrine, St Albans Cathedral will be launching a new pilgrimage route during the annual Alban Pilgrimage weekend in June to retrace the story of St Amphibalus’s martyrdom from Redbourn to the shrine’s new home in the Chapel of the Four Tapers.

The newly refurbished shrine will be located near the existing shrine of St Alban, Britain’s first saint making St Albans Cathedral the only cathedral to house two medieval pedestal shrines – and it is the first time in centuries that the Cathedral’s two medieval shrines will be appreciated together in their fully restored grandeur.

The restoration project, started in June 2019, was part of the Cathedral’s Alban, Britain’s First Saint project, funded by The National Lottery Heritage Fund with support from more than one thousand donors.

The work was carried out by Skillington’s, a Linconshire based team, who conserved original pieces and – in true stonemason tradition – added their own signature too. Work included:

  • Original colouring – black, purple, red and yellow ochre – can still be seen in places
  • Traditional methods of hand carving were used and two master carvers from Yorkshire worked on new pieces
  • Under the top ledge are small carved heads. Most are new but inspiration was taken from the remains of two original ones on the north side
  • The carvers used their imagination, just as the medieval masons did and carved relevant figures. Look out for the masked face to commemorate the reconstruction during the pandemic.

Dr David Carrington, Director of Skillington’s, said:

“The St Amphibalus shrine has been a really special project for our team, and it is a privilege to have been involved. The preservation of the surviving 14th century carvings, the setting-out to allow restoration of missing sections and the interpretation and carving of these missing bits in the original spirit and style all presented unique challenges.”

At the outset of the restoration, it was realised that the Cathedral only had around 55% of the original stone, with small traces of its original paint and gilding visible in places. In order to compliment what already existed, the stone carvers used traditional hand carving techniques on modern clunch stone. The result of this meticulous process resulted in a clever and careful blend of both the medieval and modern stones.

The sub dean of St Albans, the Very Revd Abi Thompson, said:

“The masked figure reminds us that the history of St Albans stretches forwards as well as backwards, and pilgrims will be able to mark the latest chapter in the history of this Cathedral alongside Amphibalus and Alban, who were there at the very beginning.”

The new pilgrimage route will be a key feature of the Cathedral’s Medieval Summer programme. Further information can be found online at