15th July St Swithun’s Day

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 ran nae mair
.

St Swithun was a Bishop of Winchester in 850AD. One day he came across a woman who was distraught because the eggs in her basket had broken. With a pious wave, Swithun made them whole again.

Since then there has been a pilgrimage from Canterbury to Winchester to venerate the bishop.” Swithun became a cult and cathedrals across England competed to get a piece of him. His head ended up in Canterbury, an arm went to Peterborough and other parts were distributed hither and yon. It is a little ironic that the man who could put eggs together, couldn’t keep himself in one piece.

In 971AD, Swithun’s remains were moved from one spot to another in Winchester Cathedral and this coincided with a mighty storm. The date, 15 July, became known as St Swithun’s Day and spawned the verse above.” Taken from The Road to Little Dribbling, by Bull Bryson.

But isn’t it amazing that for over a thousand years, we can remember, if not venerate, this bishop? How English is that?

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