Love Prevails

The history of Valentine’s Day

Valentine’s Day now exists as the second most prolific card-sending holiday in the calendar, surpassed only by Christmas.

But how did we get here?

Here at one of the finest boutique hotels Northampton has to offer, we have done a little digging into how Valentine’s Day has evolved through the ages…

Geoffrey Chaucer’s Parlement of Foules | 1382

Chaucer’s Parlement of Foules is widely believed to be the first linking of St Valentine’s Day to romantic love. In the volume, Chaucer writes; “For this was on St. Valentine’s Day/ When every fowl cometh there to choose his mate”.

Charles, Duke of Orleans | 1415

Following Chaucer’s suit, a few years later Charles, Duke of Orleans penned the following ‘Valentine’ to his love, while imprisoned in the Tower of London following his capture at the Battle of Agincourt. It is the first recorded instance of a written Valentine in history:

I am already sick of love,
My very gentle Valentine,
Since for me you were born too soon,
And I for you was born too late.
God forgives him who has estranged
Me from you for the whole year.
I am already sick of love,
My very gentle Valentine.
Well might I have suspected
That such a destiny,
Thus would have happened this day,
How much that Love would have commanded.
I am already sick of love,
My very gentle Valentine.

(Originally penned in French).

Henry V + John Lydgate | 1420

Five years after the Duke of Orleans penned his famous Valentine, Henry V commissioned poet John Lydgate to write a Valentine to his fiancée, Catherine of Valois as a Valentine’s Day gift.

The poem was entitled ‘The Flower of Courtesy’, can be found on the University of Rochester’s website.

William Shakespeare’s Ophelia | 1601

By the 17th century, Valentine’s Day had entered the mainstream to such an extent that William Shakespeare himself wrote this into Ophelia’s lament in Hamlet:

“To-morrow is Saint Valentine’s day,
All in the morning betime,
And I a maid at your window,
To be your Valentine.”

Georgian Love Notes | Mid-18th Century

It was in the 18th century that the precursor to today’s Valentine’s card really began to take shape.

People took to exchanging notes; small tokens of their love for one another.

Early Valentines were made out of a combination of paper and lace.

Mass Production of the Valentine’s Card | 1913

1913 marks the year that the monetisation of Valentine’s Day truly began, as this was the year that the infamous American greetings card giant, Hallmark produced their first Valentine’s card.

If you’re feeling cynical; it was the beginning of the end for true romance on February 14th

If you’re feeling loved up, it’s the continuation of hundreds of years of celebrating love!

We think we like the latter a little better…


If you are looking for your very own Valentine’s Day tradition, then why not join us at Rushton Hall for a delicious Valentine’s Day Meal?

Or, if you want something a little more special, join us at our Kettering hotel for a Valentine’s Day to remember.

Book direct for our best rate guaranteed, or give us a call on 01536 713 001.