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Q&A: Who was St Swithin?

If there’s rain on St Swithin’s day, 15 July, it will continue for 40 more – or so the proverb goes. But who was St Swithin? BBC History Revealed explains more…

Published: July 15, 2020 at 12:00 pm
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More than 100 years after Swithin, the Bishop of Winchester, died on 2 July, between AD 861 and 863, he was adopted as patron of the restored cathedral. New biographies talked of his great deeds, piety and miracles – such as restoring a basket of broken eggs dropped by a woman who'd been jostled by workmen.

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Swithin is said to have asked to be buried where raindrops from the church’s eaves would fall. This made him a popular saint in times of drought. An old proverb claims if there’s rain on St Swithin’s day, 15 July, it will continue for 40 more.

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This Q&A first appeared in BBC History Revealed in 2016. Explore more answers to historical questions.

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