These two Roman brothers, perhaps patricians, preached the Gospel in Gaul. While doing so, they also worked as shoemakers so they would not live on alms. I find this vocational detail (in the modern sense of the term) curious -- you don't hear of many saints who scruple the handout --I believe it was generally considered important to maintain humility. But good for them -- surely there's no shame in plying a trade to pay their own way.
They may or may not have fled to Haversham, Britain to escape persecutions in Gaul. Whether or not they did, their feast is a red letter day in British history. The English army under Henry V, outnumbered by at best 4-3 and at worst 2-1, inflicted a crushing defeat on the French.
In his 1599 play Henry V, William Shakespeare made sure British audiences would not forget the date of the battle with this famous pre-battle speech:
- "We few, we happy few, we band of brothers;
- For he to-day that sheds his blood with me
- Shall be my brother; be he ne'er so vile,
- This day shall gentle his condition:
- And gentlemen in England now a-bed
- Shall think themselves accursed they were not here,
- And hold their manhoods cheap whiles any speaks
- That fought with us upon Saint Crispin's day."