Nicholas was educated at the tehn famous Saint Albans Abbey School, that was supported by the great Benedictine monastery at Saint Albans. During his time at school Nicholas applied to the Abbot to hjoin the monastery, but the abbot told Nicholas to wait and continue with his studies, implying that at a later date, admission to the abbey would be granted. For reasons that have never been recorded Nicholas left school and Saint Albans and some time later he made his way to France, eventually arriving to the city of Arle3s, in what is nos Provence. After having studied law he was admitted to the monastery of Saint Ruf, close to Avignon, and by 1147 he had become abbot of the monastery. Pope Eugenius III sent abbot Nicholas to Barcelona to give his blessing to the count / king of Barcelona Ramon Berenguer IV, for his coming attack on Toprtosa, to rid the city of the Moslems. Nicholas became good friends with Ramon and was with him at the start of the siege, and when the city fell to Ramon. Early in the next year he was again with Ramon when the siege of Lleida began, and although the attack was ultimately successful, Nicholas was by then back at the Saint Ruf monastery A short time later Pope Eugenius promoted Nicholas to be cardinal / bishop of Albano, a city about 30 kms. from Rome, and after two years Nicholas was sent to Scandinavia as the legate of the pope where he remained for more than two years. When he returned to Rome in November 1154 his journey was considered such a success that he was hailed as "The Apostle of the North". The pope died shortly after Nicholas' return and, on the 4th December 1154 Nicholas was elevated to pope, taking the papal name Adrian IV. In due time his friendship with Ramon would be put to the test when King Henry II of England and King Louis VII of France mad a joint application to Adrian to lead a crusade into the Iberian Peninsular.