The Everyday Lore Project

15 July 2020 – St Swithin’s Day

15 July 2020 – St Swithin’s Day

I don’t think I’ve made very good barometers. The green water one looks like something is festering inside it, while balloon jar V2 wavers everso slightly. Probably doesn’t help they’re inside (next to windows with a good air flow), but regardless, they were both absolutely useless when trying to predict if St Swithin’s (Swithun’s) Day weatherlore was about to come true. 

It’s a fifty fifty forty day downpour or dazzler day today. Or a forty five, depending on your source. You can go downbeat poetic with: 

If on Swithin’s Feast the welkin lours,
And ev’ry pent-house streams with hasty show’rs,
Twice twenty day shall clouds their fleeces drain,
And wash the pavements with incessant rain.

Gay’s Trivia

Welkin lours meaning frowny sky.

Or go old skool with this more upbeat proverb:

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.

Either way, the expectation was I was going to have weather. Instead, after a sunny start it was cloud all the way. A bit loury, but nothing too pendulous, as Charles Gray might say. So as with many of the other weather predictions recently, it looks like:

St Swithun’s Day if thou be mediocre,
For forty days ‘twill be a soaker. Or not.

Although I have to admit, there’s a definite smell of petrichor in the air. It might be umbrellas up after all.


Cooper, Q. and Sullivan, P. (1994) Maypoles, Martyrs & Mayhem: 366 Days of British Myths, Customs & Eccentricities, London, Bloomsbury Publishing Plc

Hazlitt, W.C. (1995) The Dictionary of Faiths and Folklore, Beliefs, Superstitions and Popular Customs, London, Bracken Books

Rhodes, C. (2001) One For Sorrow… A Book of Old-Fashioned Lore, London, Michael O’Mara Books Limited

Roud, S. (2006) The English Year: A Month-By-Month Guide To The Nation’s Customs and Festivals, From May Day to Mischief Night, London, Penguin Books

Published by Liza Frank

Author of My Celebrity Boyfriend. Obsessed with hula hooping, sons of preachermen and fresh dates, sometimes all at the same time. Curator of Folklore Agony and The Everyday Lore Project.

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