Medieval Chapel Restoration Includes Masked Stone Figure

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May 10, 2021

St. Albans cathedral The now-completed restoration of a century-old chapel shrine includes an update: a masked stone figure.

The Shrine of St. Amphibalus is at St. Albans Cathedral, in Hertfordshire, England. The cathedral itself dates to Norman times and is the oldest site of continuous Christian worship in the U.K. Construction of the cathedral begun in the late 11th Century on grounds that included the burial location of Alban, the first saint of Britain, and completed in 1115. Workers added the shrine to Amphibalus in 1350. The cathedral is the only one in the kingdom to have two shrines; the other one honors Alban.

The two men are linked in that Alban, a nonreligious man living in the 3rd Century, heard the message of the priest Amphibalus and then offered himself up to Roman authorities looking to persecute Christians. Alban, once revealed, refused to recant the beliefs that he had regained in his conversion, and Roman authorities ordered him killed. Amphibalus, thanks to Alban's intervention, escaped but was later executed as well. His bones, found in 1177, are now at the shrine.

St. Albans masked figure

A combination of public and private money (including a contribution from the Lottery Heritage Fund) financed the restoration, which begin in 2019 but was halted for several months by the COVID-19 pandemic. Resumption of the restoration work, done by Skillington Workshop, included the addition of a stone figure wearing a face mask.

The shrine will soon be open to visitors.

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