The first recorded usage of the word Valentine in the English language was in a letter written in 1477.

The British Library has traced the descendents of the protagonists, Margery Brews and her betrothed John Paston. And Sidney Fellow in History Dr Helen Castor is in no doubt as to the significance of the letter, reports the BBC, explaining how it shows that love could triumph over other more mercenary claims on marriage in the period. In the letter Margery begs John not to give her up, despite her parents having refused to increase the size of her dowry.

You can read more, including the text of Margery Brews' letter, by following the link to the BBC website.

Dr Helen Castor's book, She-Wolves: The Women who Ruled England before Elizabeth, is published by Faber & Faber.

This is an archived news story, first posted in 2011.

If you have something that would make a good news or feature item, please email