Some people are unaware of its meaning, even though it is commemorated in the names of football teams, West Bromwich Albion and Brighton and Hove Albion, churches and pubs, like the one pictured left in Hyde, near where I live.
The word was used as early as the 6th century BC as the islands of the Albiones, although it appears to refer to anywhere considered a western isle, but by the 1st century AD, it specifically meant Great Britain.
Pliny the Elder in his Natural History says: “It was itself named Albion, while all the islands about which we shall soon briefly speak were called the Britanniae.”
As mentioned above, the name is also applied to churches, like the Albion United Reformed Church in Ashton, pictured right. It opened in 1895 when it was said to be the most beautiful Congregational Church in England (or Albion).
It is a huge building with a tall spire and it dwarfs the 12th-century parish church which is only a few hundred yards away.
This may have been a case of one-upmanship to spite the Earl of Stamford. He owned the land around the original Albion Chapel on Penny Meadow and had refused permission to extend it saying: “no dissenting chapel will ever be built on my land”.
The relationship between the churches is rather more harmonious and Christian today.
AA at Word Up
ADRA at An Arkies Musings
Ai, Ay, Eigh by Ramblin’ Roger
Antipodean Monsters at Rinkly Rimes
Apples by Vasi
Alpha Cement by Wayne Woodruff