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10 Oct 2014
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St. Alban For England.
Today listeners suggest replacement for St. George

Who should be the Patron Saint of England?

St. George was acknowledged as patron saint of England by the end of the 14th century. He was a Roman soldier who defended Christians from the persecution of Emperor Diocletian and was subsequently beheaded.

But is there another saint who would make a more appropriate patron saint of England? That's what we asked the greater Today family, and well over a thousand of you sent us your nominations.

In 3rd place, representing a strong showing from North East England, was St. Cuthbert, whose dramatic life and death caught the attention of many (he was reputed to have conversed with angels, demonstrated the power to heal, plus legend has it that when his body was dug up over a decade after burial, it hadn't composed).

Many of you believe that over the years the iconography of St. George has served us well and that no change is warranted. He secured 2nd place in our vote.

But coming in at the top of your list is the St. Alban, who's been described as Britain's first ever martyr.

"He wasn't into dragons or rescuing maidens", the Dean of St. Alban's Cathedral, Dr Christopher Lewis, told us.

"He sheltered a Christian priest who was fleeing from persecution from the Romans ... was eventually converted to Christianity ...and then he enabled the Christian priest to escape, but was himself arrested. He was taken before the magistrates and it was demanded of him that he worship the Roman gods, which included the Emperor. He refused to do so and was executed - had his head chopped off."

Thanks very much to all of you who took part in our 'Patron Saint of England' vote.

Listen - St Alban, the Today listeners' choice for alternative patron saint of England

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