Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
St. Swithun (or Swithin) (died 2 July, 862) was an early English bishop, now best known for the popular British weather lore proverb that if it rains on St. Swithun's day, 15 July, it will rain for 40 days and 40 nights. Swithun was buried out of doors, rather than in the cathedral, apparently at his own request, so that the "sweet rain of heaven" could fall on his grave. In 971 it was decided to move his body to a new indoor shrine, and it is said that the ceremony was delayed by 40 days of torrential rain, a sign of Swithun's displeasure at the move.
St. Swithun was bishop of Winchester in 852. Therefore, there are strong links with churches throughout the south of England, especially in Hampshire. An example is the church in Headbourne Worthy to the west of Winchester, probably not a very notable church but its setting is superb: it is surrounded on three sides by a creek that flows from a spring in the village. The Lych gate on the south is also a bridge over the creek, which is unusual.
Swithun's best known miracle was his restoration on a bridge of a basket of eggs that workmen had maliciously broken.
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