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THE OLDEST VALENTINE: A HISTORY LESSON

Posted on February 03 2016

Uncovered by the British Library, the oldest-known Valentine's Day message is thought to date back to 1477 and was written in Norfolk.  The message is from Margery Brews to her fiancé John Paston and concerns their forthcoming nuptials.  It begins: 'Right reverent and worshipful and my right well-beloved valentine, I recommend me unto you full heartedly, desiring to hear of your welfare, which I beseech Almighty God long for to preserve unto his pleasure and your hearts desire.' Margery goes on to explain that she has asked her mother to beseech her father to increase her dowry, but maintains that if John loves her he ought to marry her regardless of money: 'But if you love me, as I trust verily that you do, you will not leave me therefore.'

Williams, Liz. Kind Regards: The Lost Art of Letter-Writing. London: Michael O'Mara Books Limited, 2012.

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