O, to be in England, Now that April’s There.

This week in hospitals around Derbyshire, we’ve been looking at St. George’s Day, and thinking about our favourite English things. Did you know that St. George never came to England? He was born in Cappadocia (now Eastern Turkey) in the year A.D. 270. He was a soldier in the Roman army, a Christian serving under the pagan emperor Diocletian. The emperor persecuted Christians, but George stayed true to his faith. Although he was a brave and loyal warrior, he refused to renounce Christianity, and was tortured and beheaded in A.D. 303.

In the twelfth century, when knights fought in the Crusades to recapture Jerusalem from the Muslims (who also regard Jerusalem as a Holy city), the Normans saw visions of St. George fighting alongside them. Richard the Lionheart, the Norman King of England, brought the “cult of St. George” back to England, and in 1222, St. George was named as the patron saint of England, and St. George’s cross, a red cross on a white background, became England’s national flag. Medieval knights would wear a tunic showing the cross over their chainmail!

The legend of George slaying the Dragon was brought back by the Crusaders, but is also similar to Old English stories of monster slaying, such as the epic poem Beowulf. In medieval times, dragons often symbolised the devil.

Here’s a poem I wrote about some of the patients’ favourite English things:

Our Favourite English Things

Fish and chips
A Sunday roast
Full English breakfast
With slices of toast

English humour
Sunshine and rain
The English weather
A lovely steam train

Friendly good manners
Rugby and football
Cricket in the summertime
Outside a stately hall

English gardens
Cream teas on the lawn
Ancient traditions
Birds singing at dawn

Marks and Spencers
The good old BBC
Green rolling countryside
The Royal Family

English village pubs
Striped bumble bees
Roses and blossoms
Making us sneeze.

Mushy peas and mint sauce
Old fairs and fetes
Medieval Churches
England is great!

We made collages of our favourite English things – see how many things you can spot from the poem!

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