St Swithun was Bishop of Winchester from 30 October 852 until his death on 2 July 862. He was born in the reign of Egbert of Wessex and the origin of his name is unknown but it is thought to possibly mean 'Pig Man'.
Swithun's best known miracle was his restoration of a basket of eggs belonging to a Winchester egg-woman that workmen had maliciously broken (how very kind of him). He is regarded as one of the saints to whom one should pray in the event of drought and according to tradition, the weather on his feast day (15 July) will continue for forty days. Around the middle of July, the jet stream should settle into a pattern which, in the majority of years (7 to 8 out of every 10), holds reasonably steady until the end of August. When the jet stream lies north of the British Isles then continental high pressure is able to move in (and all is well); when it lies across or south of the British Isles, Arctic air and Atlantic weather systems predominate (like this year, when all is definitely not well).
St Swithun'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 nae mare
Harvest added that in her native country - France - they say 'Quand il pleut a la Saint Gervais, Il pleut quarante jours apres' - If it rains on St. Gervais' day (19th of July), it will rain for forty days thereafter.
This raises a couple of questions we feel - 1) Who was responsible for praying to St Swithun in early April? And most importantly 2) Is it going to rain on Sunday?