Dictionary of the Vulgar Tongue – Day Ninety-Two

The Dictionary of the Vulgar Tongue was first published at the end of the eighteenth century, and given that the Coronavirus crisis is giving too much time to read books, I thought I’d pick a daily word from it until I got bored….

Crispin’s Holiday

The dictionary defines this as “every Monday throughout the year, but most particularly the 25th of October, being the anniversary of Crispinus and Crispianus”. Spelled as Crispin and Crispinian today, this pair are the patron saints of cobblers, tanners and leather workers and they were persecuted in the third century for their Christian faith. The men worked as shoe-makers and were tortured on the orders of the Roman Emperor and then thrown into the river with millstones around their necks. Somehow, this effort didn’t manage to kill them, so they were then beheaded on 25 October 285AD.

The Battle of Agincourt was fought on 25 October 1415 and so a link developed between that victory along with Crispin and Crispinian, with numerous other battles since also fought on 25 October. A Feast Day was held on 25 October, but there were numerous industries such as butchers, shoemakers, fishmongers and the like who often didn’t work on Mondays, so they were said to be having a Crispin’s Holiday.