St Swithin’s day if thou dost rain
For forty days it will remain
St Swithun’s day if thou be fair
For forty days ’twill rain na mair
And from the dark clouds gathering outside my window its not looking good…
St Swithin was Bishop of Winchester back in Saxon times. When he died in 862, as was the custom of the time, he asked to be buried humbly outdoors close to the entrance to the old Minster so that people would walk across his grave as they entered. Nine years later on the 15th July, Bishop Elthelwold (love those Saxon names) arranged for St Swithin to be disinterred and moved to a shrine within and St Swithin is said to have shown his displeasure at the proposed new arrangement by bringing down violent storms and rain for the next 40 days and 40 nights.