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Bonfire Night’s A Bonanza, But What About St. George?

More people celebrate the anniversary of Guy Fawkes’ attempt to blow up the Houses of Parliament than the feast day of England’s patron saint, a survey has revealed.

More people celebrate the anniversary of Guy Fawkes’ attempt to blow up the Houses of Parliament than the feast day of England’s patron saint, a survey has revealed. The survey, conducted by English Heritage, shows that whilst 82% of English people know that St George’s Day is on April 23rd, only 19% celebrate the occasion, compared to over 60% who celebrate Shrove Tuesday and Bonfire Night.

When asked the reason why they don’t celebrate their patron saint’s day, 40% of the 1,800 English people surveyed said they were not sure what to do. When asked how they would like to spend the day, over half of respondents said that a family day out at a special St George event would be a suitable way to celebrate. Some of the other suggestions for how to make celebrations go with a bang included eating fish and chips, trying a spot of Morris dancing, sipping English cider and ale, playing traditional children’s games – and even going for a curry!

A quarter of people asked cited a lack of knowledge about St George as their reason for not celebrating the day. Almost half of the respondents believed St George to have been one of the mythical Knights of the Round Table – in fact he was an officer in the Roman army, which less than 20% of people knew.

Kellie Blake, Events Manager for English Heritage, comments: “It is clear from the results of this survey that English people are aware of St George, and even know when the patron saint’s day is. That is encouraging news – the Irish and Welsh put on a great show for their patron saints, and it would be great to see England doing the same.

“This year English Heritage is hosting a number of fun family events across the UK to celebrate St George’s Day, including a massive St George’s Day Festival at Wrest Park in Bedfordshire. These should satisfy the huge number of people who think a family day out is the best way to celebrate, as well as providing a great opportunity to find out more about England’s mysterious patron saint.”

Top St George Facts

· It is thought that St George came from Cappodocia in Asia Minor and became a high ranking cavalry officer in the Army of Rome
· St George’s Day falls on 23rd April – which is also Shakespeare’s birthday, and the day he died
· He is the patron saint of Barcelona in Catalonia, Aragon, Russia, Bavaria, Beirut, Czechoslovakia, Portugal, Lithuania and Hungary, to name but a few
· He is patron saint of soldiers, archers, cavalry and chivalry, farmers and field workers, riders and saddlers
· Baden Powell also named St George as the patron saint of Scouts, “St George was typical of what a Scout should be.”

EAST OF ENGLAND

St George’s Day Festival
Wrest Park, Bedfordshire
Sat 22 & Sun 23 April
The St George’s Day Festival at Wrest Park is rapidly becoming a national institution. On Saturday 22 and Sunday 23 April, visitors are invited to watch a whole host of activities, culminating in a re-enactment of the legendary patron saint’s battle with the dragon. From a bouncy castle to a historic market there is something to entertain all members of the family. Medieval falconry, a Knight’s Tournament jousting preview and a Roman encampment make this an unmissable weekend. Call the Customer Services Events Line on 0870 333 1183 to book. Visit www.english-heritage.org.uk for more details.
Prices: Non members: Adults £10/Concessions £7.50/Children £5/Family Ticket £25.00
English Heritage members: Adults £5/Concessions £3.80/Children £2.50/Family Ticket £12.50

YORKSHIRE

A Medieval St George’s Day
Scarborough Castle, Yorkshire
Sat 22 & Sun 23 April
English Heritage recreates the atmosphere and setting of a medieval crowd gathered for the celebration of St George. Visitors are welcome to join the townsfolk in their celebrations of England’s patron saint at Scarborough Castle. Deadly archery skills and mummers plays set the scene. The warm-up is followed by the real show - St George in his shining armour, fighting his fiercest enemy, the green dragon – medieval style. A fantastic St George’s day out for families and groups. From 11am
Prices: Non members: Adults £4 / Concessions £3 / Children £2 / Family Ticket £10
English Heritage members enter for free

NORTH OF ENGLAND

Medieval Have-A-Go Archery
Prudhoe Castle, Northumberland
Sat 22 & Sun 23 April
St George is not only the patron saint of England, but of archers too. Costumed Medieval archers demonstrate their skills at Prudhoe Castle – and visitors can try their hand, too. From Noon
Prices: Non-members: Adults £.3.40/Concessions £2.60/Children £1.70
English Heritage members enter for free

Medieval Courtly Combat
Beeston Castle, Cheshire
Sat 22 & Sun 23 April
Thrill to the clash of steel on steel as knights in armour perform a Medieval ‘Tournament of Foote’. Enjoy this living history spectacle as weapons and skills are displayed with The Plantagenets. From 11.30am
Prices: Non-members: Adults £5/Concessions £4/Children £2.50
English Heritage members enter for free

MIDLANDS

A Medieval St George’s Day
Bolsover Castle, Derbyshire
Sun 23 April
Come and celebrate St George’s Day with our knights. Enjoy combat displays between knights in armour, take part in military ‘drills’ for children, and hear stories of St George!
Prices: Non-members: Adults £6.60/Concessions £5/Children £3.30/Family ticket £16.50
English Heritage members enter for free

LONDON

St George’s Day Talk
Wellington Arch
Sun 23 April
Join English Heritage for this year’s St George’s Day talk. Examine the origins of the legend of St George, and the myths surrounding him. Can fact be separated from fiction involving England’s patron saint?
Prices: Non-members: Adults £3.10/Concessions £2.30/Children £1.60
English Heritage members: £2

Dragon Trails for children will also be taking place at various sites all over England – follow the trail to spot all the dastardly dragons before they distress the damsels! A great way to explore the sites. Skilled dragon-hunters will be rewarded with a fun sticker.

Visit www.English-heritage.org.uk to find out more about all the St George’s Day events happening across the country.


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