Ryght welebeloued Voluntyne...

In 1477 Margery Brews sent the first valentine in the English language to her sweetheart John Paston begining "ryght welebeloued Voluntyne" (right well-beloved Valentine), she promised to be a good wife, adding: "Yf that ye loffe me as Itryste verely that ye do ye will not leffe me" (If you love me, I trust.. you will not leave me).

The letter, on display at the British Library, traces the romance between the two lovers caught up in a dispute over the amount of Margery's dowery. All's well as ends well. The lady married her knight and produced children, but perhaps their greatest legacy was their correspondence, written between 1422 and 1509. It is the oldest surviving set of private letters in English.