Today is St George's Day. Being modern English people we are a little understated in our public expressions of devotion to our patron saint, or it is reduced to cheap commercialism or something frankly embarrassing. Pre-Reformation England would have been rather different - indeed the two centuries before the disasters of the 1530s was the great period of the growth of the cult here and its manifestation in art and liturgy, and the national consciousness.
Devotion to St George is far older, of course, and the pages in this site have a discussion of the development of the cult, a gallery of splendid images and the texts of the early Passios.
These accounts are, I think, clearly fantastical - though I am, of course, called to affirm that with God nothing is impossible. Nevertheless these stories do not appear very credible to modern readers as they stand. The cautious historian in me does, however, feel like pointing out that they may contain a substratum of truth - the memory of a martyr who suffered a series of tortures before being decapitated - rather than that they are complete fiction.
Now I'm off to buy a red rose and try not to look as if I am making a party political statement by wearing it.