May 01, 2021 2 min read

Today, 15th July is St Swithin's day. Traditional folklore and legend says that whatever the weather is like on St Swithin's Day - whether rain or sunshine - it will continue for the next 40 days and 40 nights.

What is the story of St Swithin?

The old poem goes like this...

"St Swithin's Day, if it does rain
Full forty days, it will remain
St Swithin's Day, if it be fair
For forty days, t'will rain no more"

Story Behind the Legend

Swithin was born somewhere around the year 800. In later life he became the Bishop of Winchester.

Most bishops would have been buried in a prominent place within the cathedral in Winchester. However, he asked to be buried outside in a simple tomb "where the sweet rain of heaven may fall upon my grave". The legend says after his remains were moved inside there was a great storm and it rained for many weeks after.

St Swithin's Legend

According to the old saying, if it rains on St Swithin's Day it will rain for the next 40 days. If St Swithin's Day is dry, the next 40 days will also be dry. No one takes the prediction literally - in fact, few take it seriously! - and there is definitely no statistical evidence to support the claim. Weather experts says that since records began in 1861, there has never been a record of 40 dry or 40 wet days in a row following St Swithin's Day.

St. Cewydd (Born c AD 480)

In Wales we have St. Cewydd was said to have been one of the many saintly sons of Caw of Prydyn, a Pictish king in the Strathclyde area of modern Scotland. With the rest of his family, he would have moved south to Edeirnion in Wales, around the early 6th century. He probably died in this region on a date variously said to have been on 1st, 2nd or 15th July. The latter appears to have been the most widely accepted.

All three dates also have close associations with Cewydd's English equivalent, St Swithin. Both were the 'Rain-Saints' of their respective nations and it seems likely that these particular days were originally pagan Celtic festivals, of some kind, related to the weather. It is popularly said that if it rains on St. Cewydd's day, it will rain for forty days and forty nights.

About FelinFach

Our company, FelinFach Natural Textiles is located in the heart of the Preseli area of Pembrokeshire near to Boncath. We design Welsh blankets and the iconic Welsh Tapestry blankets which are traditionally woven at Welsh mills. We also design and make natural hand dyed yarn, cotton, silk and wool scarves and other handmade products. We also offer Welsh tartansSheepskin Rugs, Gift Cards and tools and books for crafters and knitters - Cocoknits, Laine, Amirisu and Making to name a few! Lastly, workshops on hand dyeing with 100% natural dyes in the purpose designed FelinFach Dye Studio. We are a proud supporter of the Campaign for Wool, All Things Wales and Global Welsh.

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Last update 15th July 2021