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Find Broughton, Milton Keynes on a map NB not simply Broughton, Buckinghamshire

St George & the Dragon : Broughton, Bucks (CCT*) c.1470

‘Enfors we us with all our might
To love Seint George, our Lady[’s] knight...
He keped the ma[i]d from dragon’s dred,
And fraid all France and put to flight.
At Agincourt - the crownecle ye red -
The French him see foremost in fight.
In his virtu he wol us lede
Againis the Fend, the f[o]ul wight,
And with his banner us oversprede,
If we him love with all oure might.’¹
Photo:T.Marshall St. George & Dragon, Broughton, Bucks [79KB]
This incomplete but splendid example of St. George fighting the Dragon fills a large area of the south wall at Broughton. The roof was restored and made lower at some time after it was painted in the later 15th century and the head and shoulders of George himself have gone as a result. Medieval artists invariably painted horses well, but here the Dragon too is very stylishly rendered indeed as St. George thrusts his spear into its mouth. The saint bears his Red Cross on his shield; his elaborate armour helps to date the painting.
But in any case, probably only after the English victory at Azincourt (Agincourt) in 1415 would St. George, who from this point effectively becomes the patron saint of England,² be painted in such bravura fashion - one 14th century painting at Little Kimble in Buckinghamshire even shows him simply standing with spear and shield. George was said to have appeared above the Azincourt battlefield to rally the English troops, whereas in sad fact, of course, the French defeat, in which a huge proportion of the French aristocracy was wiped out, had more to do with the sodden ground and the skill of the unencumbered English longbowmen.
But English medieval church painters, to their credit, concentrated on the original Legend of the Saint in which he defeats a poison-breathing dragon that has been terrorising the neighbourhood and people. The story is in the Golden Legend and Caxton translated and printed it. The Dragon, unappeased by regular offerings of sheep, was eventually given a human victim chosen by lot. She was the king’s daughter. It was at this point in the story that George attacked the Dragon and led it captive with the princess’s girdle. He promised to destroy it completely if king and people would believe in Jesus Christ and be converted, to which condition they agreed.

One of the most interesting features of this painting is the inclusion of the princess, who is shown as a small figure at the left, in front of some faded painted buildings, probably intended for the king’s palace. To the right of her is something that looks like a lamb. If it is, then specific Christian references to the Agnus Dei and the Virgin (the virginal princess went out to meet her fate dressed as a bride) cluster around the story. It is not far from here to the idea of St. George as ‘Our Lady’s knight’, an idea which has been amplified by the recent discovery of the painting on the orb of the banner-staff in the Wilton Diptych (National Gallery, London). The inscription there reads - ‘This [England] is your dowry, O holy Virgin, wherefore O Mary, may you rule over it’.³

Other paintings at Broughton include a Doom, a Warning to Swearers, St.Helena and St.Eloi.

¹Anon, mid C.15, A carol [with music] of St. George, BM. MS Egerton 3307, fol.63b. In RT Davies, Medieval English Lyrics, Faber, 1963, p.185. [Spelling slightly modernised]
²He had been a patron of England since 1222, but had had to share the honour with St. Edmund and St. Edward the Confessor.
³E. Langmuir (ed), The National Gallery Companion Guide, 1994, NGL Publications, p.96
*Churches Conservation Trust

St. Andrew Martyred, Stoke Dry, Rutland St. Anne teaching the Virgin to read-Corby Glen, Lincolnshire St. Antony and the Pig, Barton, Cambridgeshire St. Barbara : Hessett, Suffolk St. Bartholomew : Selling, Kent St.Catherine of Alexandria, life of : Castor, Cambs St Catherine of Alexandria, Cold Overton, Leicestershire NEW St.Catherine of Alexandria : Hardley Street, Norfolk
St.Catherine of Alexandria : Old Weston, Northants St.Catherine of Alexandria : Pickering, N. Yorks St.Catherine of Alexandria, life of : Sporle, Norfolk St. Catherine of Alexandria, Martyrdom of: Burton Latimer, Northants NEW St. Catherine of Alexandria or another female saint : Ashley, Hampshire NEW St. Clement : South Leigh, Oxon. Scenes from the life of St. Cuthbert : Pittington, Co. Durham NEW St. Dunstan holding the Devil by the nose : Barton, Cambs
St.Edmund : Boxford, Suffolk St. Edmund : Lakenheath, Suffolk St. Edmund, Martyrdom of : Bishopsbourne, Kent St.Edmund, Martyrdom of : Fritton, Norfolk St. Edmund (or St. Walstan) : Gisleham, Norfolk St. Edmund, Martyrdom of : Pickering, N.Yorks St. Edmund, Martyrdom of : Stoke Dry, Rutland St. Edmund, Martyrdom of : Troston, Suffolk
St. Edmund, Martyrdom of : Weare Giffard, Devon St.Eloi, Broughton, Bucks St. Eloi and the possessed horse, Slapton, Northants St. Eloi, as bishop & blacksmith, Wensley, N.Yorks St.Erasmus, Martyrdom of : Chippenham, Cambs St. Etheldreda : Willingham, Cambs St. Francis Preaching to the Birds : Little Kimble, Bucks St.Francis Preaching to the Birds : Wissington, Suffolk
St. Francis Receiving the Stigmata, Slapton, Northants St. George & Dragon : Banningham, Norfolk St. George & Dragon : Broughton, Bucks St. George & Dragon : Earl Stonham, Suffolk St. George & Dragon : Fritton, Norfolk St. George & Dragon : Hornton, Oxon St. George dedicating himself to the Virgin : Astbury, Cheshire St. George, with the princess : Little Kimble, Bucks
St. George & the Dragon : Kirtlington, Oxon NEW St.Helena, Broughton, Bucks St.James the Great : Hales, Norfolk Life of St. James, Stoke Orchard, Gloucestershire St. James the Great, meeting pilgrims : Wisborough Green, Sussex St. James the Great, Yelden (or Yielden), Beds NEW St. John the Baptist, Martyrdom of : Chalfont St. Giles, Bucks St. John the Baptist, Martyrdom of : Heydon, Norfolk
St. John the Baptist, Martyrdom of : Idsworth, Hampshire St. John the Baptist, Martyrdom of : Old Weston, Northants St. John the Baptist, Martyrdom of : Pickering, N. Yorks Life of St. John the Baptist : Cerne Abbas, Dorset St. John the Evangelist, Selling, Kent St. John the Evangelist, Weston Longville, Norfolk St. Margaret of Antioch : Old Weston, Northants St. Margaret and the dragon : South Newington, Oxfordshire
St. Margaret of Antioch Martyred, Stoke Dry, Rutland St. Margaret of Antioch, Life of : Charlwood, Surrey Life of St. Margaret, Wendens Ambo, Essex Martyrdom of St. Margaret, Duxford, Cambridgeshire Martyrdom of St. Margaret, Ashby St Ledgers, Northamptonshire NEW St. Martin dividing his cloak, Chalgrave, Beds St. Martin dividing his cloak, Wareham, Dorset St Michael, with kneeling donor, South Newington, Oxfordshire
St.Nicholas of Myra, life of : Little Horwood, Bucks
St. Nicholas of Myra, two miracles of : Wissington, Suffolk St. Nicholas of Myra & the Boys in the Barrel, Padworth, Berkshire St. Nicholas of Myra & the Boys in the barrel, Bishopsbourne, Kent NEW St.Paul : Black Bourton, Oxon St. Paul : Beckley, Oxon St. Paul : Selling, Kent St. Peter : Beckley, Oxon
St.Peter : Black Bourton, Oxon St. Peter, Martyrdom of : Chacombe, Northants St. Peter : Selling, Kent SS. Peter & Paul, Old Idsworth, Hampshire NEW St. Roch : Pinvin, Worcs St. Sexburga? : Willingham, Cambs S. Stephen, Martyrdom of, North Stoke, Oxon St. Stephen, Stoning of: Black Bourton, Oxon
St. Stephen, Stoning of: Catfield, Norfolk St.Swithun (?) enthroned : Old Weston, Northants Scenes from the life of St. Swithun : Corhampton, Hampshire St. Thomas Becket, blessing, Hauxton, Cambs. Archbishop, possibly Thomas Becket, blessing, Shorthampton, Oxfordshire NEW St. Thomas Becket, Murder of, Marston Magna, Somerset St. Thomas Becket, Murder of, North Stoke, Oxfordshire St.Thomas Becket, Murder of : South Burlingham, Norfolk
St. Thomas Becket, Murder of : South Newington, Oxfordshire St. Walstan of Bawburgh? or St. Edmund : Gisleham, Norfolk St. Zita : Horley, Oxon St. Zita : Shorthampton, Oxon Unidentified female saint : Heydon

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Anne Marshall 2002