With Heritage Open Days starting on Friday, St Albans Cathedral will be revealing the story of Abbot John of Wheathampstead, who played a central role in England’s history during the 1400’s.
Abbot John’s chapel remained undiscovered for 480 years, until excavation work on our new Welcome Centre uncovered his burial site. Three papal bulls that Pope Martin V had given him 40 years before were found with his skeleton.
A new free trail has been created for visitors to walk in Abbot John’s footsteps, as well as a brand-new exhibition which allows visitors to look into the eyes of this medieval monk. Visitors will discover a man of letters, of vision, and of international renown – and for the first time, be able to see him face-to-face, as his face has been digitally reconstructed from his skeleton.
Speaking of the facial reconstruction of Abbot John, the Very Reverend Dr Jeffrey John said "It brings him startlingly to life, and immediately invites us to read his character from his features. He has an impish look, but also looks like a man who was not to be trifled with – as befits one of the most powerful ecclesiastical fixers of his day. I hope that seeing him in his human reality will raise interest in his life, and in the central role St Albans Abbey has played in this country’s history.
The free trail will be available from the Welcome Centre as part of Heritage Open Days. You can also visit the new display case in the exhibition area from Friday 11 September.
Image: Liverpool John Moores University/Facelab.