St Valentine’s Day dates back as far as the ancient Roman era as a pagan fertility festival.

The first real association of St Valentine’s Day with romantic love or ‘love birds’ dates from 1382 when Chaucer celebrated the engagement of the 15-year-old King Richard II to Anne of Bohemia via a poem, in which he wrote: For this was on St Valentine’s Day when every bird (fowl) cometh to choose his mate.

The passing of love notes between sweethearts appears to have become standard practice, as in 1797, The Young Man’s Valentine Writer was first published. This contained gems of sentimental rhymes and ditties for those young gentlemen who were obviously so much in love as to not be able to think clearly enough to compose their own verse.

The commercial aspect of the celebrations also appears to be increasing year on year, with gifts of chocolates, flowers and even jewellery now being expected to accompany the simple St. Valentine’s Day card. Today almost half the UK population spend somewhere in the region of £1.3 billion each year on their very own special Valentine.

As a member of Thamesbank Credit Union, you can share your love for us by letting others know about the credit union. If they live or work within our common bond, they can join us. What’s more, if they join and borrow, both of you will get £25. They can apply here. (Ts&Cs apply).

Get the full history of Valentine’s Day here.