The Shrine of St Alban was the reason for the Abbey’s foundation and the town that grew up around it, and it is said that King Offa of Mercia founded a monastery here in 793.
After the Norman invasion of 1066, William the Conqueror appointed Paul of Caen as the first Norman abbot who started his great rebuilding of the Abbey with the Tower, which still stands today. This Norman church was built from bricks and tiles saved from the ruins of Roman Verulamium. This ambitious project was completed in 1115. In 1213 St Albans Abbey was the meeting place for a group of churchmen and nobles. Their discussions led to Magna Carta which was reluctantly sealed by the king at Runnymede in 1215.