Who was St Swithun? 

Saint Swithun was a bishop in Saxon times. He was born in 800 AD in Wessex, the South West of England. He was famous for giving gifts to others and for building churches. He is also know for building a stone bridge over the River Itchen in Winchester, to help the poor cross the river to sell their wares in the city. Linked to this is the only known miracle during his lifetime. 

A woman was crossing a bridge when she dropped her basket of eggs, breaking them all. Her crying was said to be heard by St Swithun who immediately repaired the eggs!

His life and death 

He was made Bishop of Winchester in 852 AD. 

Saint Swithun died on July 2nd 862 AD. Legend has it that when he lay on his deathbed, he asked to be buried just outside of the Old Minster where he would be walked on and rained on. 

Nine years later, on July 15th 871 AD, his body was moved to a shrine inside the cathedral. According to legend, there was a heavy rainstorm on this night which lasted for 40 days and 40 nights. People believe the storms indicated Saint Swithin’s annoyance at being moved.

St Swithun’s Day – 15th July 

St. Swithun’s Day is marked on the day that his body was moved. It is believed that if it rains on this day, it will rain for the next 40 days and if it is dry, it will be followed by 40 days of fine weather.  

St. Swithun’s Day Rhyme: 

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 nae mair. 

 Thankfully, according to the Met Office, there is no record of 40 dry or 40 wet days following St. Swithun’s Day since records began in 1861.  

 A prayer that we use in the days leading up to this feast day: 

 Lord, I pray that in this season, You bless us with great weather. 

I pray that I can enjoy sunshine, warmth and cool winds. 

I declare that this will be a season of perfect, God-sent weather! 

Bless us with great weather, 


Leviticus 26:4