Wednesday 15 July 2015

St. Swithun's Day - did it rain?

St Swithun was a Bishop of Winchester who died on 2nd July AD 862 and is remembered for a number of kind, clever and even miraculous deeds. He built a stone bridge over the River Itchen at the Eastern gate of Winchester, to help the poor cross the river to sell their wares in the city.  The story tells of an old woman, who while crossing this bridge dropped her basket of eggs, breaking them all. Her pitiful crying was heard by St Swithun who immediately restored the eggs to her, unbroken.

Basket pattern by Jane Eborall

He was buried, according to his own desire, in the churchyard of the Old Minster (Cathedral) at Winchester, where "passers by might tread on his grave and where the rain from the eaves might fall on it." His reputation as a weather saint is said to have arisen from the translation of his body from this lowly grave to its golden shrine within the Cathedral, having been delayed by incessant rain. Hence the weather on the festival of his translation (15th July) indicated, according to the old rhyme, what it would be for the next forty days:

"St. Swithun's day, if thou dost rain,
For forty days it will remain;
St. Swithun's day, if thou be fair,
For forty days 'twill rain na mair."

St. Swithun's bridge in Winchester

And so did it rain today - well there was a little drizzle and that was all, will have to wait and see if the legend comes true.


  1. Sweet basket and story with it :)

  2. You'll have to let us know if it comes true. Sweet basket. It looks as though it belongs on a wedding table.

  3. Lovely basket! I love the stories about saints.

    It rained here (about 20 drops...)

  4. I enjoy your stories almost as much as I enjoy the tatting. Today we got both - a gigantic treat! :-)
    p.s. - it didn't rain, just looked like it was going to the entire day.

  5. Beautiful basket :). Thanks for sharing :).

  6. Adorable basket !
    How's the 40 day rain legend holding up ?

    1. As it didn't rain on the 15th July we were spared from 40 days of rain, however it has been raining for the last couple of days, but as everywhere was so dry it has been quite welcome!


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