'Seynt George, on Whom Alle Englond Hath Byleve'
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.
This article is available to History Today online subscribers only. If you are a subscriber, please log in.
Please choose one of these options to access this article:
- Purchase an online subscription
- Purchase a print and online subscription
- If you are already a print subscriber, purchase the online archive upgrade
Call our Subscriptions department on +44 (0)20 3219 7813 for more information.
If you are logged in but still cannot access the article, please contact us
- Middle East
- North America
- South America
- Central America
- Early Modern
- 20th Century
- Economic History
- Environmental History
- Food & Drink
- Historical Memory
- Science & Technology