St Crispin’s Day

miniature knitting
© F H Powell 2007

St Crispin’s Day falls on 25th October. However more correctly, this is the feast day of Saints Crispin and Crispinian, who were 3rd century Roman Christians. Believed to be twin brothers they were of aristocratic upbringing, but this did not prevent them being persecuted for their Christian beliefs. It is unknown when, but they fled to northern France, to Soissons, about 60 miles (100km) north east of Paris.

By day they preached their beliefs to the local Gauls and by night they made shoes to financially support themselves. Any spare income they donated to the local poor. Their popularity brought upon them the wrath of the local governor, Rictius Varus, who was also a Roman. Fearing his popularity and authority was being undermined he had the two brothers tortured and cast into the river Aisne. Even weighted down by millstones tied around their necks they managed to live and escape. However, freedom was short-lived and they were captured and under the Emperor’s instructions, beheaded.

Well, that’s one version of the saints lives. An alternate history describes them as sons of a British Roman family living in Canterbury, England. They are said to have travelled to London to find a trade but stopped and remained in Faversham, finding work at a shoemakers shop. This version does not give any clue as to why they should be venerated and become saints. What the two stories do have in common is the link to shoemaking. Ultimately, they are the patron saints of cobblers, tanners and leather workers.

The saints are also linked to the battle of Agincourt which was fought on St Crispin’s Day 1415 and immortalised in Shakespeare’s St Crispin’s Day Speech from his play, Henry V. The short speech given by the King to inspire his army before battle concludes:

Shall think themselves accurs’d they were not here, And hold their manhoods cheap whiles any speaks, That fought with us upon Saint Crispin’s day.

The feast day has been observed down the centuries with revelry, bonfires and enacting the part of King Crispin.

The twins were believed to be buried at Soissons on their deaths in 286 AD.

We do not have patterns for shoes, but we can offer you a free 1:12th scale slipper pattern for your dolls:
1:12th scale knitted slippers