WHERE THE FOLK is the "Welsh Valentine's Day" from?
Updated: Feb 23
“THIS IS GOING TO BE THE WELSHEST THREE-COURSE MEAL SHE’S EVER HAD!” I think to myself, admiring the food prep laid out on my kitchen worktop- a nice change to dirty dishes!
I’m currently cooking the first course, Welsh Rarebit. Don’t knock it! I mean, technically, yes, it’s cheese on toast, only it’s so much more than that! And a good choice of starter for a guy who, left to his own devices, survives on curry, spaghetti bolognaise, cereal and curry.
All I need to do is boil a bottle of Welsh ale in a saucepan then add it into my cheesy concoction, which consists of 400g of mature Welsh cheddar, yolk from a single egg and two half-teaspoons of English mustard (although, my girlfriend would later point out that I had misread the recipe when I ranted to her about how “…they said ‘two one-halves’… why not just say ‘one teaspoon’?!” Turns out, I should have put two-and-a-half teaspoons into the mix!)… after that, I need to pour the cheese sauce onto some fancy toast then slip them under the grill… should be easy enough! I also have some bistro salad and Mam’s homemade beetroot chutney sitting on the side of each plate.
My girlfriend Sophie hovers nearby with a glass of red wine in her hand, fighting back the urge to lend me a hand. But I won't allow it, for this is our first ‘Dydd Santes Dwynwen’ together. The living room lights are off, the room instead lit by over a dozen flickering candles. Her go-to YouTube chill-out video, “Ever So Blue”, plays on the television screen. Sitting above the fireplace are two cards, each containing a heartfelt love letter. On the dining table is a glass tankard imprinted with the three feathers, inside of which sits a bunch of red roses. Loki’s safely locked up in my bedroom, in case he burns the house down.
Sophie’s English, but is very interested in Welsh culture. As such, I took her up to Ynys Llanddwyn on Anglesey on the weekend, where we met my friend, Welsh artist Danny Hanks, and his wife, Mari. Yes, that’s right! Finally, after three-or-so cancellations thanks to COVID, my friends are now married! It was a romantic weekend altogether, and having since done some research on Santes Dwynwen, the “Welsh Saint Valentine”, I have decided to write a blog post on the Welsh patron saint of lovers… and sick animals.
Otherwise known as 'Saint Dwynwen', 'Dwyn' or 'Donwen', she spent her remaining years on Ynys Llanddwyn in the 5th Century. She is celebrated in Wales on the 25th of January each year, however, she is not officially commemorated in the liturgies of the Catholic nor Anglican Churches, doesn’t appear in the Roman Martyrology, the Church of Wales calendar or the Roman Catholic calendar for Wales.
In the 1960s, a student at University College in Bangor named Vera Williams, in a bid to revive it, commissioned four designs for St Dwynwen’s Day cards, selling it off as the “Welsh Valentine’s Day”. Since then, the celebration of St Dwynwen’s Day has steadily grown in popularity, although, it’s nowhere near as popular as St Valentine’s Day is in Wales…
St Dwynwen’s Day cards are sold from Cardiff to Holyhead, but that’s not to say that it’s been easy to establish it as a recognised celebration- a lot was accomplished in 2003, when the Welsh Language Board teamed up with Tesco to distribute 50,000 free cards in 43 of its Welsh stores. Inside one of these cards was a little heart, the finder of which won a big prize. The WLB also pushed for the use of concerts, singles nights, poetry nights and such to promote St Dwynwen’s Day.
Ynys Llanddwyn and Porthddwyn on Anglesey and the church of Sen Adhwynn in Advent, Cornwall, are all dedicated to her, and yet, she is not officially recognised as a saint. Why is that, and what makes Saint Valentine so special…?
San Valentino, or 'Valentinus', was a Roman saint and clergyman (either a priest or a bishop) who lived in the 3rd Century, over a hundred years before Dwynwen. He is best-known as the saint of courtly love, but is also the saint of Terni, a city in central Italy, epilepsy and beekeeping, would you believe it!
The name derives from the word ‘valens’, meaning 'strong', 'worthy' or 'powerful', and was a popular name at the time. In fact, there are eleven other Saint Valentines commemorated by the Roman Catholic Church. To add further confusion, two are mentioned in the early martyrdoms. But some scholars and historians believe these accounts may in fact be referring to one person, however.
It is rumoured that the use of the “heart symbol” on St Valentine’s Day derives from something he used to do when helping Christian couples get secretly married and the husbands to escape conscription into the pagan army. In order to remind those men of their vow to God’s love, he would give them cut out hearts from parchment. The use of the heart symbol goes as far back as the Ancient Egyptians and was used to represent silphium, a plant used for contraception (a plant whose identity remains a mystery, but is believed to now be extinct due to its extensive use).
He is commemorated on February the 14th because this was the day, in 269 (though other accounts have it down as 270 and 273), that he was imprisoned, tortured and martyred in Rome for helping out persecuted Christians, at a time when helping out persecuted Christians was a crime. Valentine was arrested and taken before Emperor Claudius II himself, who actually took a liking to him when he first met him. In fact, Valentine could have gotten away with it if he wasn’t so damn preachy- Claudius changed his mind about him when he tried converting him to Christianity and condemned him to death by clubbing, unless he renounced his faith, of course... actually, they did beat him half to death with clubs, but ended up beheading him when they found him to be a bit more resilient than expected.
He died outside the Flaminian Gate and his body was buried nearby, but his disciples dug him up a few nights later and took him to a Christian cemetery on the Via Flaminia. His remains were then sent to Madrid as a gift from the Pope to King Carlos IV, and have remained there at St Anton’s Church since the 1700s, though they’ve only been on display since 1984. His skull, however, crowned with decorative flowers, is on display in the Basilica of Santa Maria in Cosmedin, Rome.
February 14th has been known as the Feast of Saint Valentine since 496 (established by Pope Gelasius I), although, those who practice Eastern Orthodoxy celebrate it on July 6th. Celebrated throughout Western civilization, his day has been associated with all things sickly and lovey-dovey since the Middle Ages. The proposed reasons for this differ, but are generally attributed not only to Valentine’s actions in real life, but also to myth and superstition. For example, some believe claim that medieval folk observed that birds tended to pair up in mid-February, and that they associated this with Valentine.
Regardless, he is officially recognized as a saint by the Roman Catholic Church and featured in the early martyrdoms. His life, although influenced by legend, was also well-documented. Despite being martyred in 269, “St Valentine’s Day” didn’t become a thing until 496, not long after Dwynwen’s death in circa 460. Her story is very different, and is perhaps influenced even more-so by fantasy…
“Well that was delicious!” Sophie puts down her knife and fork and sits back in her chair, reaching for her wine.
“Not too bad for cheese on toast, was it?” I concur, feeling the back of my freshly-shaven head. Only the hair on the top of my head remains- my usual “Choc Gem” look, as Sophie calls it. “You saved the day with the sauce though- thank God I had some flour in the house!”
“So what’s next on the menu, chef?”
“Leek, onion and potato pie with Caerphilly cheese… with some mixed veg and gravy to go with it.”
A vegetarian menu tonight, though neither of us are vegetarians. No reason- just happened that way after I spent twenty minutes Googling “easy Welsh recipes” the other night.
The main looked impressive enough in that it required some decent prepping and was something neither of us had had before, but low-risk enough for me to make. 150g of Caerphilly cheese, crumbled into a bowl, a sliced leek and three sliced onions and 1kg of sliced potatoes (the “fluffy” kind), all layered together in a glass baking dish and cooked in the oven at two hundred degrees for forty-five minutes… tidy!
“Any tips for the gravy?” I ask her, putting on my “Welsh Walker” apron, a Christmas present from her mother.
“Jam,” she says.
The details of Dwynwen’s origin story are a bit hazy and there are as many different versions of it as the Joker’s. Indeed, even the details of the lives of the people associated with her, as legendary as they were real, are open to debate. She is believed to have been the daughter of Rigrawst and King Brychan Brycheiniog, which made her the half-sister of Saint Ninnoc, another saint whose life story is tainted by myth, who moved to Brittany. The Feast of St Ninnoc, Virgin, Abbess and Protector of Women (abused women would seek refuge with her) is celebrated there on the 4th of June each year (along with a ‘Saint Ninne’ over in Ireland on June 3rd).
Despite being associated with the small tidal island of Ynys Llanddwyn, Dwynwen actually hailed from Breconshire. Her father, Brychan Brycheiniog, was the 5th Century legendary king of Brycheiniog (Brecknockshire, or Breconshire), who was rumoured to have squared up against King Arthur himself. He was born in Ireland, son to Prince Anlach (son of a ‘Cormac’) and his wife Marchel, heiress of the Welsh kingdom of Garthmadrun (inherited to Brychan when his father died; it was he who renamed it ‘Brycheiniog’). ‘Brychan’ may be the Welsh version of the Irish name “Broccán”. Similarly, Brycheiniog’s grandfather Coronac may also be the Welsh form of the Irish “Cormac”.
In circa. 1100, Lifris wrote The Life of St. Cadoc, in which he tells of how Brychan came up against King Arthur, Cai and Bedivere after King Gwynllyw of Gwynllwg kidnapped his daughter, Saint Gwladys, from his court in Talgarth. Described by some scholars and historians as an “undocumented saint”, much like his daughter, he was never officially recognised as a ‘saint’. Yet, he had no churches dedicated to his name. There is, however, a 15th-Century stained glass window at St Neot in Cornwall that apparently depicts Brychan with his eleven children, but it’s recently been referred to simply as a “God with Souls on his lap”.
Indeed, Brychan was reputed to have had a lot of children (anything from eleven to sixty-three!) through three marriages. Most manuscripts, however, (of Breton, Cornish, Irish and Welsh sources) claim he had twenty-four children. But numerous saints and affluent families have tried to claim descent from one of the “Holy Families of Britain” over the years, and the proposed number of children has grown quite a bit.
In fact, Dwynwen herself may be one of these “proposed children”. She was rumoured to have been the daughter Brychan had with Rigrawst, who at one point was Queen consort, ruling alongside him in Brycheiniog. Her mother was Severa Ferch Macsen, daughter of the Roman Emperor Magnus Maximus, or ‘Macsen Wledig’ in Welsh, who I shall discuss in my next post, WHERE THE FOLK is the Girl of My Dreams, cont?. Her father was Gwrtheyrn ap Gwidol, otherwise known as Vortigern, discussed in WHERE THE FOLK did the Welsh get their flag from? and WHERE THE FOLK do Skeleton Brides, Disgraced Kings and Nazi Spies go to hide? (Parts I and II). Macsen Wledig came to Wales in 383 AD and apparently had around twenty children with Saint Elen, each of whom became a saint.
Indeed, it seems Dwynwen was born into a family of saints and legendary figures. According to her own tale, which differs according to the narrator, she fell in love with a young man named Maelon Dafodrill (of which very little is known as he was not of "noble descent"), but was unable to marry him because her father had already arranged for her to marry someone else, as was custom at the time. Others, mind, will tell you that Maelon fell in love with her and that she rejected his advances, but let’s stick to this version for now…
Gutted, Dwynwen prayed that she would fall out of love with Maelon. Much to her astonishment, an angel appeared and gave her a magic potion, but she soon regretted drinking it when Maelon was subsequently turned into ice. The angel (or in some versions, God) then granted her three wishes. Dwynwen wished for:
1. Maelon to be defrosted
2. That, through her, God would look after all true lovers
3. That she didn't have to marry anyone at all
As a sign of her gratitude, Dwynwen then headed up to Ynys Llanddwyn (“Church of Dwynwen”, which must have been a nameless strip of land up until she built a church there), living out the rest of her days as a celibate nun (or a "hermit").
Some argue that she went there to hide from Maelgwn Gwynedd, king of Gwynedd, another historical figure whose life story is tainted by myth and legend. He died of the yellow plague and was buried on Ynys Seiriol (aka Puffin Island) on the other side of Anglesey.
Maelgwn (meaning “Princely Hound”, though “hounds” was sometimes used as another word for “warriors” in early Welsh poetry) was a relatively tall man who held a high position among the Brythonic kings in Wales and their allies in the “Old North”, which went as far up as the Scottish coast. He was said to have been a strong supporter of Christianity, and funded the foundation of many churches throughout Wales, and other countries.
Despite this, he is regarded by many as something of a villain, on account of De excidio et conquest Britanniae (or On the Ruin and Conquest of Britain) by Gildas, circa. 540, in which he is described as an “usurper and a reprobate” who overthrew a paternal uncle in order to get the throne. Although clearly biased, Gildas compares the old kings of Britain to the beasts of the Book of Revelation 13:2, (the lion, leopard, bear and the supreme dragon). Anglesey was the base of power to the kings of Gwynedd, so Gildas claimed that referring to him as the “dragon of the island” seemed fair.
Following the collapse of Roman rule in Britain, North Wales was invaded and colonised by Irish Gaelic tribes. The Britons first began taking their land back at the kingdom of Gwynedd under the command of Maelgwn’s great-grandfather, Cunedda Wledig (making him a relative of Dwynwen’s mother). It was Maelgwn’s father, Cadwallon Long-Hand, who finished the job by kicking out the last remaining Irish settlements on Anglesey. As such, Maelgwn was the first king for a very long time to have had complete control of the region, and was thus known as ‘Maelgwn Gwynedd’.
His llys ('court') was found at Deganwy, and some say that he died and was subsequently buried at nearby Llanrhos, as opposed to Puffin Island. Indeed, rumour, myth and interpretation have all helped make Maelgwn a legend in his own right. The Black Book of Carmarthen claims that Gwyn ap Nudd’s ( being the leader of the mythical ‘Wild Hunt’) favourite hound belonged to him... he features in the Tale of Taliesin, and both Geoffrey of Monmouth and Iolo Morganwg wrote about him!
But whatever the real Maelgwn was like, he was a villain as far as narrators of Dwynwen’s story were concerned… if this was true, however, Dwynwen did a bad job at hiding from him or in being a hermit, for during her time on Ynys Llanddwyn, she built a church and studied the healing properties of herbs, and soon became known as something of a miracle worker.
People from all over Wales would make the journey to Llanddwyn just to be treated by her. New couples went so that they could pay a visit to her well, which was said to have contained sacred fish (or is some versions, eels) whose movements could predict the future of their relationships. More specifically, they revealed the faithfulness of a lover; should a woman first scatter breadcrumbs on the surface then lay her handkerchief on top, then if the eel disturbed it, then her lover would be faithful to her. If it left it untouched, then she needn't bother with him!
But if Maelgwn was so charitable towards the Christian cause, then why would Dwynwen fear him so much? Some say that he was the man her father wanted her to marry, but the why would she leave Breconshire to hide out at Maelgwn’s home turf? Maybe he thought she was a witch or something else ‘un-Christian’ due to her use of herbs and such… or perhaps people got his name mixed up with that of Maelon Dafodrill's (try looking at that without thinking "daffodil"!). That seems more likely... regardless, she is said to have died of natural causes and was buried somewhere on Llanddwyn.
The church became something of an important holy shrine in the years that followed, and the well a popular site of pilgrimage. Welsh poets Dafydd ap Gwilym and Dafydd Trefor wrote that even other saints would also visit the island. It was so popular that it became the richest in the area during Tudor times. The funds were used to build a new church on the site of Dwynwen’s, which was falling into ruin. This is the church we can see today, or what’s left of it, at least, for following the Reformation, the place quickly fell into disrepair and was further battered by numerous storms. The site of the holy well was lost to the sand, and pilgrims began visiting nearby Saint Elian’s Well, instead.
Elian had come over from Rome and founded a church in North Wales around the year 450. According to legend, he was related to Isfael (another Welsh saint and one of the three main disciples of Saint David) and spoke out against the keeping of greyhounds after one attacked a doe he was looking after. His feast day is on the 13th of January.
As always, however, romantic Victorians saved the day and helped revive Dwynwen’s memory, and a cross was erected on Llanddwyn at round 1879 (on the “sixtieth year of Queen Victoria”). Shortly after, in 1903, a Celtic cross was erected near the ruins of the church by the Hon. F. G. Wynn of Glynllifon, son of the 3rd Baron Newborough.
Through them, the WLB and a Bangor student’s solo campaign in the 1960s, Santes Dwynwen became known to us all once again, and the celebration of her “unofficial feast day” became a reality.
“Oh my God, that’s my favourite ice cream!”
“No bull. I eff-ing love Joe’s vanilla ice cream!”
“From that place on Wellfield Road, is it?”
“Ha! Nailed it!”
“What are we having with it?”
“Ah, well… uh, I can’t bake or anything, so I thought I’d get some Welsh ice cream and- ah, well, there’s no such thing as Welsh biscuits, don’t think… but I crushed up some shortbread biscuits and bought some sugar-free vanilla wafers, and some toffee sauce…”
“Well all that sounds positively orgasmic!”
Like I said, Sophie and I were joined by my friend, Welsh artist Danny Hanks, and his wife Mari when we went to Ynys LLanddwyn on the weekend, but I had been to Newborough Warren a few times before. It’s one of my favourite beaches of all time, and a great spot to visit at any time of year. You can enjoy excellent views of the Irish Sea, the Menai Strait, Penllyn and of the Snowdonia mountain range over on the mainland. You must drive down a long, winding track from the payment booth to get there, like something from a safari park, only the danger here is to your car’s suspension, thanks to the numerous hefty speed bumps found along the way. Look out for red squirrels, by the way!
Found near the village of Newborough/Niwbwrch, Tywyn Niwbwrch is a huge dune and beach system of some 5,607 acres, around half of which is conifer plantation. It’s a Site of Special Scientific Interest, and the whole area, save for the forestry, is a national nature reserve.
To protect the nearby village from storms, afforestation of the northern side of the Warren began in 1947, when they made artificial dunes and planted large pine trees. Then, from the 1970s to 1990s, there were concerns that the water levels in the forest and the neighbouring Warren were dropping thanks to the greater potential evaporation demand that it caused. In response to this, large clearings were formed and the forest bordering the Warren was thinned out. Plans were proposed to remove large parts of the forest altogether in 2004, but the local community and some conservation groups objected and in 2008, a public consultation was held to determine the future of the woodlands. Well, the forest seemed pretty full of trees when we were there, and the car park full of cars, it being the weekend before St Dwynwen’s Day. Proposals are quite popular there this time of year, you see…
Visible from the beach and forming a part of the Newborough Warren National Nature Reserve, Ynys Llanddwyn isn’t quite an island- more of a narrow strip of land that gets separated from mainland Anglesey during very high tides. During such times, Ynys Llanddwyn is inaccessible for a couple of hours or so. Some of you may recognise it as the setting for Demi Moore's 2006 horror film, Half Light.
Meeting Danny and Mari, we made the fifteen-minute-or-so walk from the car park to the “island”… Mari was very excited that I was covering Santes Dwynwen; she’s a primary school teacher, and had recently been teaching her pupils about the Welsh saint of lovers… and sick animals. She recalled reading a book as a child that told Dwynwen’s story, and images of multi-coloured fish came to mind.
Danny seemed more interested in, and far more knowledgeable of, the maritime history of the place. Ynys Llanddwyn is found in the south-western corner of Anglesey, at the southern entrance of the Menai Strait. As such, it became an important location during the rise of the British Empire, when the shipping of slate from the ports of Bangor, Caernarfon and Port Dinorwig in Felinheli was in full swing. A "safety beacon" was built on the island in 1824 in the form of Tŵr Mawr, which guided ships entering the Strait. A second, more effective lighthouse was built nearby in 1845. Ironically, the older lighthouse was then returned to service thanks to a modern light being placed in it, and was still in use up until the 1970s!
THE TWO LIGHTHOUSES OF YNYS LLANDDWYN:
During the 1800s, a row of cottages was built near the lighthouse for the pilots, who would safely guide ships into the Strait. As such, a lifeboat was stationed on the island from 1840, as well as a cannon, which was sued to summon the pilots in an emergency. Up until 1903, the lifeboat and the pilots of Llanddwyn saved no less than 101 lives over some thirty-five separate incidents! But the lighthouses eventually became automated, unmanned posts, and the pilots left for new and better lives on the mainland.
A PILOT'S LIFE FOR ME:
Two of the cottages have since been restored, one as a replica of an occupied house and the other housing an exhibition on the local wildlife. Indeed, the surrounding cliffs support a wide variety of nesting seabirds, and Ynys yr Adar (Island of the Birds) just off the tip of Llanddwyn, hosts one percent of the entire British breeding population of cormorants every year. The black rocks surrounding the island are in fact ‘pillow lavas’ and form part of the Precambrian Gwna Group, being mounds of rock formed by volcanic eruptions on the seabed.
By far the greatest attraction for me was the church found at the centre of the island: “…take a picture of me and Danny sitting in the window, Russ- there’s a specific angle through which you get a view of both the cross and the lighthouse in the distance…” Mari said after we had admired the ruins for a while.
In 2011, archaeologists excavated the nave of Dwynwen’s church. They believed that Llanddwyn, along with the other numerous tiny islands found off the coast of Anglesey, was something of a “time capsule”. For you see, Edward I’s conquest of North Wales (discussed in WHERE THE FOLK can I listen to Talking Starlings and a Welsh Banger? Part II) practically went as far as Beaumaris; there was no military advantage to invading the rest of the island, so the inhabitants were largely left to their own devices, and did not fall victim to as much Saxon influences as the mainlanders did.
What they found there intrigued them so that they would return in 2021 to uncover the remains of several buildings beneath the ruins of the church. They included what they suspected to be a medieval priory, or monastery. Dr George Nash, who led the excavations, reckoned that the priory was probably converted into a parish church after Henry VIII’s dissolution of the monasteries in the late 1530s. In an interview with the BBC, he said: “…the geophysical survey, undertaken in early October, shows the possible remains of a medieval priory building, L-shaped in plan, constructed against a rock outcrop which provided protection from prevailing Irish Sea storms." He added: "The earliest remains probably date from the 14th Century, but are much more in keeping with pre-English Welsh ecclesiastical architecture."
Reports from as early as 1742 say that the church was already in ruins by that date. Further archaeological evidence suggests that the church was ransacked to provide building material for the two lighthouses and perhaps even the cottages, boat sheds and a large sea wall (pictured). Indeed, it seems that most, if not all of the structures on the island have remnants of the church in them!
The central fields to the north of St Dwynwen’s were farmed by a small community of crofting families between the 18th and early 20th Centuries. The remnants of their structures can also be seen today. On this, Nash said: "The scale of the agricultural operation does suggest that there must have been a relatively sizable population on the island, probably as many as four or five families, many of whom were also involved in the upkeep and running of the two lighthouses and piloting boats."
Nevertheless, the ransacked ruins that remain today are still a sight worthy to behold, and make for excellent soppy photo opportunities…
“Well I’m impressed!”
“Aw, thanks babes…”
We find ourselves melting into the sofa in front of the telly, glasses of wine in hand. Sophie has enjoyed her night, and is fully embracing this new Welsh tradition. A tradition, it seems, that was revived by commercialism, with a little bit of help from Tesco.
There’s no denying that people made the journey to Ynys Llanddwyn to visit Dwynwen’s holy well and to seek help with various ailments, for themselves and their pets, but in terms of how it is celebrated today, Dydd Santes Dwynwen very much takes after St. Valentine’s lead, and is slowly catching up to it…
Perhaps if Dwynwen was officially recognised as a saint, like Valentine was, then more people would choose to celebrate it. Or, if they found Dwynwen’s remains, then maybe having a physical form to worship, like with Valentine, then she would ‘mean’ something to more people...? I, for one, prioritise St Dwynwen’s Day over Valentine’s when it comes to what’s important to me and my heritage, but ultimately, it’s just another day if you love someone, just like Valentine’s. As commercial as promoting goodwill to all men at Christmastime, these kinds of celebrations can be fun and meaningful if you want them to be, but I’m sure you’d all agree that you should show and appreciate these feelings throughout the year, not just on feast days… maybe I should cook fancy meals more often?!
Well, I learned a lot about Dwynwen and her legendary ancestry after visiting Llanddwyn, and I hope you have, as well. I can’t begin to say how happy I was to have visited Llanddwyn with Sophie and the two newlyweds, Danny and Mari. I wish them all the best in their marriage, and to Sophie, I say "caru chdi, del!"
Thanks for reading.
I’m keen to know if you celebrate Dydd Santes Dwynwen, and if so, how?
Do you think she should be officially commemorated in the liturgies of the Catholic or Anglican Churches or the Roman Martyrology and/or be included in the Church in Wales calendar and/or the Roman Catholic calendar for Wales?
GOOGLE MAPS LOCATION:
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^ "A Welsh Classical Dictionary | The National Library of Wales | St Nennocha". www.library.wales. Retrieved 10 November 2020.
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De Voragine, Jacobus. The Life of Saint Valentine. In Legenda Aurea, compiled around 1275
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Hülsen, Christian (1927). Le chiese di Roma nel medio evo: cataloghi ed appunti. Florence. CXV, 640 p. (On-line text).
Thurston, Herbert (1933). St. Valentine, Martyr. In Alban Butler's Lives of the Saints, Vol. II, pp. 214–217. New York. 409 pp.
Aigrain, René (1953). Hagiographie: Ses sources, ses méthodes, son histoire. Paris.
Amore, Agostino. S. Valentino di Roma o di Terni?, Antonianum 41 (1966), pp. 260–77.
Kellogg, Alfred (1972). "Chaucer's St. Valentine: A Conjecture." In Kellogg, Chaucer, Langland, Arthur. 1972, pp. 108–145.
Amore, Agostino (1975). I martiri di Roma. Roma, Antonianum. 322 p.
Kelly, Henry Ansgar (1986). Chaucer and the cult of Saint Valentine. Leiden, the Netherlands. 185 p.
Martyrologium Romanum. Libreria Editrice Vaticana, 2001, p. 141 (February 14). 773 p.
In Search of St. Valentine. Scotsman.com blog, 14 February 2005.
Oruch, Jack B. "St. Valentine, Chaucer, and Spring in February", Speculum 56 (July 1981), pp. 534–565.
Schoepflin, Maurizio and Seren, Linda (2000). San Valentino di Terni : storia, tradizione, devozione. Morena (Roma). 111 p.
Paglia, Vincenzo. "Saint Valentine's Message". Washington Post, February 15, 2007.
Saint Valentine: Biography. Diocese of Terni. 2009.
St Valentine of Terni – English translation of his "Passio" (BHL 8460)
St Valentine of Rome – English translation of his "Passio" (BHL 8465) – actually an extract from the Acts of Marius, Martha, Audifax and Habbakuk (BHL 5543).