British Popular Customs Present And Past - online book

A calendar of the traditional customs, practices & rituals of the British Isles.

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July 17.]                    st. kenelm's day.                              341
July 15.]               ST. SWITHIN'S DAY.
St. Swithin was Chancellor of the Exchequer in the time of King Ethelbert, and the great patron saint of the cathedral and city of Winchester. In some church-books there are entries of gatherings of " Saint Swithine's farthyngs " on this day. There is an old proverb which says :
" 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 na mair."
There is also a quaint saying, that when it rains on St. Swithin's Day, it is the saint christening the apples.—See Timbs5 Things not Generally Known, 1856, p. 153.
In the Churchwardens' accounts of the parish of Horley, under the years 1505-6, is the following entry, which implies a gathering on this saint's day :—
" Itm. Saintt Swithine farthyngs the said 2 yeres, 30s. 8d."
Sports were at one time annually celebrated at Cloughton on Saturday evening after the 15th July.—Cole, Historical Sketches of Scalby, Burniston, and Cloughton, 1829, p. 63.
July 17.                 ST. KENELM'S DAY.
At Clent, in the parish of Hales Owen, a fair was formerly held in a field in which St. Kenelm's Chapel is situated. It is, says Brand, of very ancient date, and probably arose from the gathering together of persons to visit the shrine of St. Kenelm on the feast of the saint, 17th of July. On the Sunday after this fair, St. Kenelm's wake was held, at which a curious custom was practised, called " Crabbing
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