From the Roman cognomen Albanus which meant "from Alba". Alba (from Latin albus "white") was the name of various places within the Roman Empire, including the city Alba Longa. This name was borne by Saint Alban, the first British martyr (4th century). According to tradition, he sheltered a fugitive priest in his house. When his house was searched, he disguised himself as the priest, was arrested in his stead, and was beheaded. As an English name, Alban was occasionally used in the Middle Ages and was revived in the 18th century, though it is now uncommon.