Full image caption
Pilgrim badge from the shrine of St Alban, the first English martyr, at the cathedral in St Albans, Hertfordshire. This shrine was one of the most important pilgrimage centres close to London. Alban lived in the Roman town of Verulamium in the 3rd century during a time of Christian persecution by the emperor Septimius Severus. Alban helped to hide a fugitive Christian priest called Amphibalus in his villa, and was converted to Christianity. When soldiers raided his house, Alban refused to renounce Christianity or tell them where the priest was so he was dragged up a hill above the town and beheaded. This openwork badge depicts St Albanâs execution. St Alban is on the right â his head hangs by the hair from a tree as his body sinks to the ground. On the left stands a knight in armour, trying to catch his eyeballs as they dangle from their sockets (St Albanâs executioner was struck blind). Between the figures is a sword and a lily. The badge is framed by trees.
© Museum of London