Pat Shingleton: "A Wet Feast Day..."
The Bishop of Winchester was a Benedictine monk who died July 2, 862. As noted in a previous column, upon his death, he requested to be buried outside so the rain would fall on his grave. Unfortunately, he was entombed in a cathedral and a drought began. Once re-buried outside, the drought ended and the rain returned for 40 days. The English tradition states that if it rains on July 15th, St. Swithin's Day, it will rain for 40 days. This seems to apply only to England. "St. Swithin's Day if thou dost rain, for 40 days it will remain. If it be fair, 40 days rain nae mair.” Renowned poet Paddy Shingleton writes: “If St. Swithin were in our space, heat and steam would sweat his face.” “If on St. Swithin’s Day (July 15th) it dost rain for 40 days it will remain. If on the day it be fair, for 40 days will rain nae mair.” I first discovered the folklore of St. Swithin in 1977 and as noted in a previous column the Bishop of Winchester, a Benedictine monk, died July 2, 862. His deathbed request insisted that be buried outside the cathedral in which he served so the rain would fall on his grave. Unfortunately, his intentions were not conveyed and he was entombed in a cathedral whereby a drought ensued. Once re-buried outside, the drought ended and the rain returned for 40 consecutive days. Renowned poet Paddy Shingleton writes: “If St. Swithin was in our space, heat and steam would sweat his face.”
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