There is a bit of background history to this St Valentine fact.
In ancient Rome, 14th February was a holiday to honor Juno, the goddess of women and marriage. The following day was the beginning of the feast of Lupercalia, during which the names of Roman girls were written down on pieces of paper and put into jars.
Roman boys would then pick girls at random and these couples would be together for the duration of the festival, some would stay together and get married.
The Emperor Claudius II (known as Claudius the Cruel) was having difficulty in persuading young men to join his army. He thought it was because they didn’t want to leave their wives and girlfriends and so he banned marriages and engagements.
St Valentine was at the time a bishop of Terni, he did not adhere to this ban and continued to perform marriages is secret. Unfortunately, he was found out and he was martyred in Rome around the year 270.
He was condemned to be beaten to death with clubs and to have his head cut off on 14th February 270.
According, to legend, Valentine sent the first ‘valentine’ greeting, as he is believed to have fallen in love with the prison wardens daughter who visited him in jail. Just before his death he wrote her a letter and signed it ‘From your Valentine’.
The oldest Valentine card is reckoned to have been sent in 1477, by a lady named Margery Brews, to her gentleman friend John Paston, and was addressed ‘To my right welbelovyd Voluntyne’.