The permanent traits of English character that he identifies will come as no surprise: ‘A people tough, sceptical… more grumbling than rebellious… ironic, appreciative of human oddity, allergic to moralizing but noting people’s faults, tolerant but indignant at blatant hypocrisy, deceit, cruelty.’
Jacket notes to In Memory of England, Peter Vansittart, 1998
I see you believe what you say, or you would not have come all this way to say it. But you must not expect me to renounce immediately the customs which I and the English have followed from one generation to another.
King Aethelbert of Kent to Augustine of Canterbury, 6th century AD
Thought should be harder, heart the keener, courage the greater as our strength dwindles.
Battle of Maldon, 10th century AD