From Emperor Claudius to Elvis, The King ….

We re-opened the workshop mid-January after a quiet but restful Christmas, where the importance of keeping everyone safe through the festive season was at the forefront of all celebrations.  But we have shaken off the dust-sheets and oiled the sewing machines, got our Covid-safe precautions back in place and suddenly we are in February and hopeful that as Spring approaches we will unfurl and open up just like the season! 

Maude and John

In the meanwhile, we have the fun of Valentine’s Day ahead of us.  We are a romantic lot here in the workshop and our favourite bears are ‘John and Maudie’ … named for Canterbury Bears’ founders, you will be seeing a lot more of these two bears in 2021 and they are a perfect addition to our Valentine Blog.

The exact origins of the St Valentine story are shrouded in myth, with at least three different saints named Valentine or Valentinus.  In the bear workshop, we like Emperor Claudius II’s martyr the best.  When the Roman Centurions were given the decree that they could not marry while in the Emperor’s service, a priest named Valentine took it upon himself to marry young soldiers and their sweethearts in secret.  Sadly, it wasn’t a very well-kept secret and Claudius had him put to death for his romantic actions.  

Our very own Geoffrey Chaucer, author of The Canterbury Tales and immortaliser of all things to do with ‘Courtly Love’, was the first to record St Valentine’s Day as a feast day in his 1357 poem ‘The Parliament of Foules’, describing the pairing of ‘feathered fowl’ in preparation for Spring.

In the early fifteenth century, Charles d’Orléans, an aristocratic prisoner taken by the English at the battle of Agincourt, addressed the earliest ‘Valentine’ poem to a lover; and almost a century later, Shakespeare would pick up the gauntlet mentioning the romance of Valentine’s Day in both ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’ and ‘Hamlet’. 

But it was the Victorians, with the creation of greetings cards and an obsession with the notions of ‘Medieval Courtly Love’, who popularised the Valentine traditions that we still enjoy today … cards with lace and highly decorative hearts, flowers, chocolates, even the ultimate gift of a wedding proposal.

Of course, at Canterbury Bears, we believe that a teddy bear is the perfect Valentine’s gift, they joined the fray a little later but have  been gifted as an expression of love for more than a century … so if you head to our Instagram we are holding a ‘GIVEAWAY’ in the run up to the most romantic day of the year. All you have to do is follow us, like the post and and tag a friend, and you might be lucky enough to win our ‘Love is Love’ Bear!


We’ve shared a few crooners on the blog of late, but the association of bears and romantic love deserves a real serenade. This loveliest of sentiments was perfectly immortalised by Elvis Presley, the King himself, in 1957, for the movie ‘Loving You’ when he sang (Let Me Be Your) Teddy Bear 

“Oh baby let me be, your lovin’ teddy bear
Put a chain around my neck, and lead me anywhere
Oh let me be (oh let him be)
Your Teddy Bear”



Thoughts turn to Spring and a Teddy Bear’s Picnic or two ….