St Swithun-upon-Kingsgate, St. Swithun Street, Winchester, Hampshire, SO23 9JP
Come and explore our beautiful 13th century church above a gateway, dedicated to one of our best loved Saxon saints. According to legend, should it rain on St Swithun’s Day, it will rain for 40 days. On Saturday 15th there will be poetry readings.
St Swithun is the only church above a gate in the UK still holding church services. It was built in the 13th century and named after a local bishop, Swithun, thought to have been the tutor of King Alfred the Great.
Little is known about Swithun's life. He was born in Winchester, which was then the capital of Wessex, about AD 800. Legend has it that when St Swithun met an old lady on the City Bridge and startled her so that she dropped her basket of eggs, he then miraculously repaired the smashed eggs. He died on 2 July 862 and was buried, as he had asked, outside the Old Minster. When Swithun’s bones were later moved to the Cathedral against his wishes, a terrible storm occurred, giving rise to the legend that if it rains on St Swithun’s Day (15th July), it will rain for 40 days.
On the afternoon of Saturday 15th September, Loose Muse Winchester poets Sue Wrinch, Hilary Hares and Andrena Yeats read new poems about ‘Extraordinary Women’ and poems on historic Winchester, all specially written to celebrate Heritage Open Days. Please see our separate event listing for more information and how to book your place(s).
● Thursday 13 September: 1000-1600
● Friday 14 September: 1000-1600
● Saturday 15 September: 1000-1600, Poetry reading commences 1400, Please pre-book.
● Sunday 16 September: 1000-1600
No booking required.
Access is via steep stairs.
The church is free to explore, but the poetry reading must be pre-booked. Please see separate entry for further details.
The entrance to the church is on St Swithun Street, adjacent to Kingsgate (arched gateway) and up a steep flight of stairs