ST. ALBANS ABBEY, FROM THE SOUTH WEST
Since 1877 the abbey church of St. Albans has ranked as a cathedral. In length it is second only, among English cathedrals, to Winchester, and none occupies a higher site. The Norman tower, at the point of intersection, is 145 feet high. The Roman town of Verulanium was close by, and its tiles are found in the oldest parts of the church, dating from the end of the eleventh century. The abbey was founded by Offa, King of Mercia, in honour of St. Alban, the first Christian martyr in this country, who perished near at hand. The restorations and additions of Lord Grimthorpe, who was his own architect, and spent £80,000 upon the work, have provoked a great deal of hostile criticism.
source: The Queen's London : a Pictorial and Descriptive Record of the Streets, Buildings, Parks and Scenery of the Great Metropolis, 1896