Saints Crispin and Crispinian are the French Christian patron saints of cobblers, tanners, and leather workers. Born to a noble Roman family in the 3rd century AD, Saints Crispin and Crispinian, twin brothers, fled persecution for their faith, ending up in Soissons, where they preached Christianity to the Gauls and made shoes by night.
Their success attracted the ire of Rictus Varus, the governor of Belgic Gaul, who had them tortured and thrown into the river with millstones around their necks. Though they survived, they were beheaded by the emperor c. 286.
An alternative account gives them as sons of a noble Romano-Briton family whose father had been killed having incurred the displeasure of the Roman governor living at Canterbury. As they were approaching maturity their mother sent them to London to seek apprenticeship and to avoid coming to the attention of their father’s killer. Traveling there, the brothers came across a shoe-maker’s workshop in Faversham and decided to travel no further but to remain in Faversham where there is a plaque commemorating their association with the town. They are also commemorated in the name of the ancient pub “Crispin and Crispianus” in Strood. This account fails to explain how the brothers came to be martyred.
The feast day of Saints Crispin and Crispinian is 25 October. However, these saints were removed from the liturgical calendar (but not declared to no longer be saints) during the Catholic Church’s Vatican II reforms.
Saint Crispin is often associated with the Battle of Agincourt as the battle was fought on Saint Crispin’s Day, and especially because of Shakespere’s St. Crispin’s Day Speech from his play Henry V:
This story shall the good man teach his son;
And Crispin Crispian shall ne’er go by,
From this day to the ending of the world,
But we in it shall be remember’d;
We few, we happy few, we band of brothers;
For he to-day that sheds his blood with me
Shall be my brother; be he ne’er so vile,
This day shall gentle his condition:
And gentlemen in England now a-bed
Shall think themselves accursed they were not here,
And hold their manhoods cheap whiles any speaks
That fought with us upon Saint Crispin’s day.
They wrote a carol after Agincourt:
These are my friends, Pete Bellamy, Heather Wood, Royston Wood, aka Young Tradition. My son bears Royston’s name (in a long list of names).
Modern Azincourt is in the extreme northern borderlands of France. A mere hop and a jump from England.
Azincourt region is famous for mussels. Let’s take a twist. OK you can poach them in white wine and serve them in their broth with crusty bread. Nothing wrong with that. But — take the sauce and reduce it, add a little shaved fresh ginger and a drop of soy. Not very French, I admit. I am not French. My side won. England 1 France 0.