This selection of stories was first assembled for Priory House at Dunstable and has since also been told over several years at the town’s Tudor Days (and elsewhere at too many St George’s Day celebrations to recount!)
For many medieval and Tudor people St Edmund remained the old, true patron saint of England embodying English (Saxon) resistance to the foreign (Viking) invader (Thus I feel his story is worth including – especially for those who enjoy archery, dismemberment and wolves)
St George, though the patron of soldiers, might be considered for a long time as rather a latecomer and something of a foreigner himself until becoming firmly established in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries.
Of course, everyone knows the story of St George and The Dragon – or at least likes to think that they do – though the unheroic mode of victory can come as a bit of a shock.
There are actually many much more satisfying and (sometimes!) altogether less brutal Dragon Tailes:
- Emrys – a great magician by another name – discovers the origin of the red dragon;
- ‘The Fair Maid of Ghent’ sees a Burgundian Dragon on expectedly belligerent form until confronted by two exceptionally clever women;
- In ‘The Duke’s Riddle’ the Dragon, though meek and mild, is also pretty sharp – if even wetter than St George’s princess;
- The Knucker Hole Dragon might have been sensible to stick with a familiar pond;
- There’s even an opportunity to discover the truth about volcanos…
I most often dress in fairly early, usually Henrician, Tudor costume for St George’s events – though I do find myself being pulled gradually later in the century toward the Dissolution (largely seduced by the hats…)
However, I would be equally happy to make this St George’s or generally Dragon themed presentation for any of the historic periods I work in.