Veneration of the saint in folk religion declined in the 18th century, but attempts to revive celebration of Saint George’s Day (23 April) as an expression of English culture and identity go back to the foundation Royal Society of St. George in 1894 and have more recently, since the beginning 2010s, resulted in Saint George’s Day celebrations with aspects of a national holiday in England.
Religious observance of St George’s day changes when it is too close to Easter. According to the Church of England’s calendar, when St George’s Day falls between Palm Sunday and the Second Sunday of Easter inclusive, it is moved to the Monday after the Second Sunday of Easter. In 2011, for example, 23 April was Holy Saturday so St George’s Day was moved to Monday 2 May and in 2014 it was celebrated on Monday 28 April. The Roman Catholic Church in England and Wales has a similar practice
The earliest documented mention of St George in England comes from the Venerable Bede (d. 735). His feast day is also mentioned in the Durham Collectar, a 9th-century liturgical work. The will of Alfred the Great is said to refer to the saint, in a reference to the church of Fordington, Dorset. Early (c. 10th century) dedications of churches to St George are noted in England, for example at Fordington, Dorset, at Thetford, Southwark and Doncaster.
St George rose to high popularity as a warrior saint during the time of the Crusades, but he had no special identity as a patron saint of England during the High Middle Ages. The saint most closely associated with England until the 14th century was Edward the Confessor.
In 1348, Edward III gave St George a special position as a patron saint of the Order of the Garter in thanks for his supposed intervention at the Battle of Crécy. From that time, his banner was used with increasing prominence alongside the Royal Bannerand became a fixed element in the hoist of the Royal Standard. St George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle was built by Edward IV and Henry VII in honour of the order. The badge of the Order shows Saint George on horseback slaying the dragon. Froissartobserved the English invoking St. George as a battle cry on several occasions during the Hundred Years’ War (1337–1453) Certain English soldiers displayed the pennon of ST George.
Mark Mardell is getting ready to celebrate on the 23rd April