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'Seynt George, on Whom Alle Englond Hath Byleve'

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Samantha Riches describes the role of St. George as a patron saint in medieval England

Familiarity does not always breed contempt. It can simply lead to complacency, where an immediately obvious impression is assumed to be representative of the whole story. St George is a case in point. As the patron saint of England he is a commonplace of the English conception of their nationhood. He is perceived as a mythic hero fighting under the banner of the red cross on a white field, a valiant Christian knight who rescued a beautiful princess from the predations of an evil dragon. His image and device are instantly recognisable, whether deployed as the English flag or on commercial insignia, but most people know remarkably little about the man himself or how he came to be chosen as the patron of England.


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