It was King Henry V who howled “Follow your spirit, and upon this charge cry ‘God for Harry, England and Saint George!" However, this was in Shakespeare's play, Henry V.
So what's the history of St. George?
Although the date of George's birth isn't exactly known, it's estimated to be around 280AD. He was born in the town of Lydda, which was then in the Roman territory of Syria Palestina.
He would go on to become one of the finest soldiers in the Roman army. However, in AD 303, the Roman Emperor Diocletian issued an dictated that every Christian soldier in the army should be arrested.
George, being the son of two Christian parents, wasn't happy about this, so he approached the emperor to voice his disapproval. Diocletian would go on to offer George gifts of land, money and slaves, as he tried hard to convert him to the worship of the Roman gods.
This proved futile, so Diocletian resorted to have George tortured before being executed. Just before his execution, George donated his entire wealth to the poor and for the actions of his life, he was venerated as a Saint.
Fast forward many years later, the 1300s, where England was ruled by King Edward III, who reigned from 1327 to 1377. King Edward was quite the fan of story of George and decided to make the famous St George’s cross his military banner.
The English army won many battles under the banner of St. George's cross and became associated with military success. When the flag was at the battle of Agincourt in 1415, Saint George’s Day was made into a national day.
Something that is also famously associated with St. George is the tale of him slaying a fire-breathing dragon. The earliest known depictions of this story come from 10th or 11th century, where it was said that George dispatched a giant monster living in lake in a town called “Silene” in Libya.
The reason we celebrate St. George's Day on April 23rd is because he was put to death on that date in 303. Supposedly, only one in five know that St. George's Day falls on April 23rd, despite being the English patron saint since the 14th century.
He's also patron saint of Georgia, Malta, Ethiopia, Bulgaria, Malta, Portugal and Slovenia.
If you want to go the extra mile when celebrating St. George's Day, why not get a costume from Lichfield Costume Hire?
Member since: 24th September 2015
I'm Holly and I am the former apprentice at thebestoflichfield. Lichfield has been a big part of my life, so I'm eager to help the community in any way possible.
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