St. Swithun's at the Heart of the Community
We are pleased to welcome you to the St. Swithun's Church website.
Want to take a look closer look at our church?
Click here for a brief guide to the church and its history.
The end is in sight! - The end of our vacancy that is!
The Licensing of our new Vicar will take place on Thursday 3rd November at 7.30pm in St Swithun's church at which our Patron, Bishop Martin, will preside.
The end is in sight! The end of our vacancy, that is, but exciting new beginnings for our parish are just around the corner.
Exactly one year after we celebrated Clive's retirement from the Parish I was really pleased to announce at this year's Patronal Festival on 17th July the appointment of Revd Andrew Hawken (subject to DBS clearance) as our new Incumbent.
Revd Andrew has been the Chaplain of Midi Pyrenees and Aude Area Dean of France (South) for the past 6 years and prior to that he was a parish priest in the Oxford Diocese. In communication with him a few days prior to our Patronal festival he sent me some words to read on his behalf and I share these with you again
“I am really looking forward to our arrival in East Grinstead in the autumn and beginning to meet you all in the parish. I know that you have had quite a long vacancy, and still have a few more months to go, but now the start of a new chapter in the life of St Swithun’s is about to begin. I look forward to sharing this with you and thank Bishop Martin and your Churchwardens for putting their confidence in me.
For the past six years I have been the Chaplain of a large area of SW France based around Toulouse with seven congregations in my care. Being part of the Diocese in Europe has given me a very different view of the Church of England in its 42nd Diocese.
Coincidentally, when I was ordained priest I celebrated the Eucharist for the first time on St Swithun’s Day in 1986! We also have a connection with The Revd John Mason-Neale as well in that we are Associates of the Society of St Margaret having close connection with the Convents in Haggerston and Walsingham.
Sylvia, my wife, is the Vice-Principal in a large Academy in East Oxford and she is also looking forward to a new beginning in East Grinstead and being closer to our son and daughter who live and work in London.
We both wish you a blessed and happy Patronal Festival today.
Andrew and Sylvia Hawken
Kate Mooney - Churchwarden
Who was St. Swithun?
St. Swithun's Day falls on the 15th July, a day on which people watch the weather, for tradition says that whatever the weather is like on St. Swithun's Day, it will continue so for the next forty days.
There is a weather-rhyme is well known throughout the British Isles since Elizabethan times.
'St. Swithun'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.'
dost = does thou = you nae mair = no more.
Who was St. Swithun?
St. Swithin (or more properly, Swithun) was a Saxon Bishop of Winchester. He was born in the kingdom of Wessex and educated in its capital, Winchester. He was famous for charitable gifts and building churches.
Why do people watch the weather on St. Swithun's day?
A legend says that as the Bishop lay on his deathbed, he asked to be buried out of doors, where he would be trodden on and rained on. For nine years, his wishes were followed, but then, the monks of Winchester attempted to remove his remains to a splendid shrine inside the cathedral on 15 July 971. According to legend there was a heavy rain storm either during the ceremony or on its anniversary.
This led to the old wives' tale (folklore) that if it rains on St Swithun's Day (July 15th), it will rain for the next 40 days in succession, and a fine 15th July will be followed by 40 days of fine weather. copied from projectbritain.com
However, according to the Met Office, this old wives' tale is nothing other than a myth. It has been put to the test on 55 occasions*, when it has been wet on St Swithun's Day and 40 days of rain did not follow. copied from projectbritain.com
* source: the book entitled 'Red Sky At Night'