President and benefactor of the Society 1846-1895
James Grimston, 2nd Earl of Verulam was the impetus for many of our activities. He served as our President for almost half a century, the longest incumbent by many years. Besides giving the Society its strategic direction, he also preserved the site of Verulamium. In 1854 he purchased the part which lay outside his estate; thereby saving the area from harmful development until it could be properly excavated. He also allowed only those he trusted to excavate.
The Grimston family have always been closely connected with the Society:
- they donated finds on their land to the city of St Albans;
- in 1929 they sold what is now Verulamium Park to the City, enabling the famous excavations of the Roman site to be undertaken by, amongst others, Mortimer and Tessa Wheeler (both Honorary Members of our Society);
- they were keen supporters of the Roman Theatre excavations; and
- they remain our patrons.