I recommend Zephy's excellent post, and will not try to replicate the details he has included. I will, however, supplement it with a bit about the good Saint (or in fact, Saints) whose martyrdom this day commemorates - I am used to hearing the names (not least through Shakespeare's Henry V), but hadn't really explored the Saints themselves. Here is a piece from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia:
|Martyrdom of Ss. Crispin and Crispinian by Aert Van den Bossche|
"Saints Crispin and Crispinian are the Christian patron saints of cobblers, curriers, tanners, and leather workers. Born to a noble Roman family in the 3rd century AD, Saints Crispin and Crispinian, twin brothers, fled persecution for their faith, ending up at Soissons, where they preached Christianity to the Gauls whilst making shoes by night.
Their success attracted the ire of Rictus Varus, governor of Belgic Gaul, who had them tortured and thrown into the river with millstones around their necks. Though they survived, they were beheaded by the Emperor c. 286.
An alternative account gives them to be sons of a noble Romano-Briton family which lived at Canterbury, following their father's murder for displeasing the Roman Emperor. As they were approaching maturity their mother sent them to London to seek apprenticeship and to avoid coming to the attention of their father's killer. Travelling there, the brothers came across a shoemaker's workshop at Faversham and decided to travel no further and stayed in Faversham where there is a plaque commemorating their association with the town. They are also commemorated in the name of the ancient pub "Crispin and Crispianus" at Strood. This account fails to explain how the brothers came to be venerated and martyred.
The feast day of Saints Crispin and Crispinian is 25 October. Although this feast was removed from the Roman Catholic Church's universal liturgical calendar following the Second Vatican Council, the two saints are still commemorated on that day in the most recent edition of the Roman Church's martyrology.
Saint Crispin is often associated with the Battle of Agincourt since the battle was fought on Saint Crispin's Day, and has been immortalised by Shakespeare's St. Crispin's Day Speech from his play Henry V."
Zephyrinus has also included a video of the St. Crispin's Day Speech from Henry V: he uses the version from Sir Laurence Olivier's 1944 film, which is very much of its time, being made during WWII, I personally prefer this more naturally delivered version by Kenneth Brannagh in his 1989 film of the play.