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Winchester Cathedral



Winchester's pre-Henry VIII shrine (and Benedictine monastery) was dedicated to Saint Swithun (aka Swithin), a rather obscure Bishop of Winchester / Saint who performed but one recorded miracle in his lifetime during the 800s  - he restored an old woman's dropped basket of eggs.  But he made up for this by the number of miracles which emanated from his shrine later, partly attributed to an access arrangement which allowed pilgrims to crawl through a tunnel under his relics. 


More interestingly is the weather legend attached to Swithin's Feast Day, July 15 ......

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.'


On the night of 21 September 1538, Swithin's shrine was demolished by officers from Henry VIII / Thomas Cromwell's Commission for the Destruction of Shrines - the shrine went, but the weather forecast is still remembered.  


And there is a family connection as well - Thomas Mildmay of Chelmsford, Dom Paradox's 13xGrt Grandfather (one of 32,768 13xGrt Grandparents), was the Royal Commissioner responsible for receiving the assets of the Monasteries closed by Henry VIII in the 1530s - like a third or more of the monetary wealth of England!!  We have a copy of his will as well.





The Old English Cathedrals



Winchester Cathedral has some mortuary chests containing (maybe) the assorted bones of early Wessex and English Kings including Egbert, Ethelwulf, Cnut and the Norman King William II (Rufus) - son of William the Conqueror, and a few bishops.  They are perched on top of the stone screens on each side of the presbytery, rather like something you might put up in the attic to get it out of the way!


The Kings originally had their own tombs, but in the 1650s Cromwell's men, world class destroyers of churches, smashed them up and threw away the bony contents.  Much later, in the late 1520s, bone fragments and other stuff collected by loyal citizens, were distributed amongst six mortuary chests, of which four originals remain (the other two are later replacements). 


Link to Winchester Cathedral Website





Link to English Kings and Queens from AD 802 to the present, and their burial places




Link to Winchester Cathedral Website


Link to photos of Winchester's misericords



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