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First Impressions

St Albans

The small market town of St Albans in Hertfordshire, 25 miles north of London, was the site of the premier Benedictine house in the British Isles during the Middle Ages. The Abbey of St Albans supported numerous trades, especially those involved in the town's main industry, the manufacture of woollen cloth. There was a weekly market and three annual fairs, which attracted buyers and sellers from all over Hertfordshire and from London. The Abbey's prosperity and importance led to the establishment of a printing press in the buildings of the Abbey's gatehouse in c.1479, making it the only religious house in pre-Reformation England to run an independent printing establishment.

Discover more about early printing in St Albans.