St Swithun's Day

Today is the feast of St Swithun. According to tradition, if the weather is good, or poor, on his feast day we can expect the same for the next forty days.

Not much is known about this ninth century bishop. He was a trusted counsellor to kings Egbert and Ethelwulf and known for his care for the poor. He also had a reputation as a healer. St Swithun was made bishop of Winchester in 852 and died in 862.

He had asked to be buried in the cathedral churchyard, but a hundred years later his remains were moved into the cathedral, where his shrine became a centre for pilgrimage. It was rebuilt several times through the centuries, but destroyed at the Reformation. The cathedral authorities restored the shrine in 1962.

There are 58 ancient churches in England dedicated to St Swithun.

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