St Swithin’s a modern myth

2018-07-04 06:01

SAINT Swithin’s Day is on July 15 and, according to legend, if it rains in England on that day it will then rain non-stop for 40 days.

Saint Swithin was an Anglo-Saxon bishop of Winchester who died in 862.

The bishop requested that he be buried with the “common people” in the church grounds so that members of the pariah could visit his grave and also that “sweet rain from heaven might wet his grave”.

But, in 971, after he had been made patron saint of Winchester Cathedral, his body was dug up and moved to a new indoor shrine.

Legend says that Saint Swithin was so angry that his wishes were not honoured that he brought down a terrible storm onto the offending holy building, with rains so heavy that they caused major damage to the church, with the storm not abating for forty days!

Whatever its roots, the veracity of the Saint Swithin’s Day myth fails to stand up to much detailed examination. Since records were first kept, there has not been one instance, at any time of the year, of 40 consecutive days of rainfall.

“Saint Swithin’s day if thou dost rain For forty days it will remain

Saint Swithin’s day if thou be fair

For forty days ‘twill rain nae mare”

Unfortunately this very old myth, more than a legend, does not apply to Umvoti!


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