The Alban Pilgrimage

Written by on 17 June 2016

Yellow Gold Cross of St.Alban

The streets of St Albans will be lined with people this weekend as the city celebrates Britain’s first Christian martyr, Alban. During a dramatic procession, giant carnival puppets will tell the story of Alban who gave his life to help a fugitive Christian priest named Amphibalus.

Alban was so inspired by the priest’s faith and courage that he wanted to learn more about the Christian faith, which at that time was a forbidden religion. When the authorities came to arrest Amphibalus, Alban exchanged clothes with him to allow the priest to escape. Alban was arrested and executed on the site of the present Abbey church of St Albans in England.

Harriet and her family have a strong connection with St. Albans Cathedral. Harriet’ mother Jane is a specialist in church sculpture and is a cathedral guide. Harriet’s father David designed and made silver pendants inspired by the distinctively shaped 3rd Century Cross of St Alban. These were sold in the St Albans cathedral shop for many years. Harriet started to design her own re-working of her father’s concept, carrying on the family tradition of supplying pendants to the Abbey shop.

The cross of St Alban is a multi-denominational symbol and it is possible that the shape is also influenced by the Egyptian Ankh - a symbol of longevity. The shape of the symbol can be perceived as a sword to reflect the sacrifice made by the Christian Martyr or as a cross to symbolize the beginning of the Christian faith in Britain.

Each cross designed by Harriet is supplied on a 16 inch chain and is handmade in solid Sterling silver or 9 carat gold. The pendant is available to purchase from the gift shop at St Albans Cathedral, Harriet Kelsall Bespoke Jewellery Centre in Hertfordshire or online at

This cross is an important symbol for people in the diocese of St Alban and the pendant designed by Harriet Kelsall is a fitting commemoration of the first British Christian Martyr.