With Heritage Open Days starting on Friday, here at the Cathedral we are revealing the story of Abbot John of Wheathampstead, who played a central role in England’s history during the 1400’s.The digitally reconstructed face of Abbot John of Wheathampstead  The digitally reconstructed face of Abbot John of WheathampsteadThe digitally reconstructed face of Abbot John of Wheathampstead

The digitally reconstructed face of Abbot John of Wheathampstead

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.

The reconstruction of Abbot John of Wheathampstead’s face 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 Very Reverend Dr Jeffrey John, Dean of St Albans.

Pick up your free trail from the Welcome Centre as part of Heritage Open Days and visit the new display case in the exhibition area from Friday 11 September. 

You can find out more about Abbot John of Wheathampstead in our blog post.

Banner image: Canterbury Archaeological Trust.

Right-hand image: Liverpool John Moores University/Facelab.