St Swithun’s Day 2019

St Swithun (15th-century)

Just as the Translation of St Thomas at Canterbury earlier this month fell on a weekend so St Swithun’s Day 15 July is a Monday.

The focus is now Winchester Cathedral where Saturday 13 July is the annual Friends of Winchester Cathedral Festival.

Saturday’s Festival Evensong at 4.30pm is followed by a procession to the shrine of St Swithun.

The St Swithun’s Eve Evensong is on Sunday afternoon at 3.30pm.

This First Evensong of St Swithun will also be the occasion for the installation of the new Bishop of Southampton Deborah Selling, a suffragan of Winchester.

Bishop Deborah was consecrated bishop at St Paul’s Cathedral on St Thomas Day 4 July.

On St Swithun’s Day Monday 15 July the Cathedral Chapter will be present at the 11am Choral Eucharist. The setting is Haydn Missa Sancti Joannes de Deo and the Dean will preach.

Monday’s Festal Evensong is at 5.30pm.

Those starting their pilgrimage from Winchester to Canterbury on St Swithun’s Day may be thinking about the weather.

St Swithin’s day if thou dost rain
For forty days it will remain
St Swithin’s day if thou be fair
For forty days ’twill rain nae mair.

At the moment the forecast is sunshine on Monday and for the rest of the week but not too hot for walking.

The Winchester to Canterbury walk or ride was once also a Swithun pilgrimage for his head used to be in Canterbury having been taken there by a Bishop of Winchester who became Archbishop of Canterbury. The skull is now in Évreux Cathed­ral in Normandy although not displayed.


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