St Swithun’s Day (or ‘Swithin’ as he is also known) is the feast day of a ninth century Anglo-Saxon Bishop of Winchester who died in 862 AD. Swithun was born in the Kingdom of Wessex (an Anglo-Saxon Kingdom in the South-West and the precursor to the unified Kingdom of England) and educated in Winchester, the Kingdom’s capital.
Little is definitively known about Swithun’s life although he is said to have been the spiritual adviser of Æthelwulf, King of Wessex, who donated much of his royal land to Swithun to build and restore numerous churches.
With his dying breath Swithun is said to have requested that his final resting place be outside, where his grave could easily be reached by both members of the parish and the rainfall from the heavens. Swithun’s wishes were met for over 100 years. Swithun’s body was removed from its simple grave and interred in the new Cathedral on 15 July 971. A shrine to the Saint remains in the modern Winchester Cathedral to this day. According to legend, forty days of terrible weather followed, suggesting St Swithun was none too happy with the new arrangements! Ever since, it has been said that the weather on 15 July supposedly determines the weather for the next forty days, as noted in the popular Elizabethan verse:
“St Swithin’s day if thou dost rain
For forty days it will remain
St Swithin’s day if thou be fair
For forty days will rain na mair”
(Thank you Historic UK for the details)
So, it has been sunny here - we will see what the next 40 days brings!
And, as it's the 15th -
15 Do you remember a place that was once all fields and is no longer?
When I moved to Bude in 1986 it was a smallish town, surrounded by fields ... sadly, now, you can't tell where Bude stops and Stratton, or Poughill, start