Friday 20th July – Floods in Ebrington after a day of torrential rain
It rained and rained and rained all day.
It had also rained on St Swithin’s Day, Sunday 15th July and the rhyme says:-
St Swithin’s Day, if it does rain,
Full forty days, it will remain
St Swithin’s Day, if it be fair
For forty days, t’will rain no more.
On Friday I think that we got the full forty days of rain in the one day.
Like most places in the Cotswolds and in both Worcestershire and Warwickshire the village was inundated with water. The drains and ditches could not cope, the roads rapidly became streams, the streams became lakes and the water just ran off the fields in torrents into the houses.
In spite of all the water damage, and some people have seen their properties damaged very badly, the British spirit rang true and all the travellers who could go no further, and there were many of them including families with small children and a pregnant lady, because all the local towns were cut off and all the local roads flooded, were accomodated locally.
Some have had to stay a second night as, because of the sheer volume of broken down cars in the area, the rescue services cannot get to them until Sunday.
Ebrington is no different to any other village and was certainly not as badly hit as some villages in the area, but in a time of stress everybody does pull together and look after those less fortunate.
So St.Swithin please do not send rain like that again – we have had our forty days.
St.Swithin was an early Saxon Bishop of Winchester and is buried in the Cathedral. It is said that he requested to be buried in a common graveyard, “where the rain would fall on him and the feet of ordinary men could pass over him.” His wishes were followed but then it was decided to move his body inside the Cathedral. When this was done there was a great storm.
Prayers to St. Swithin met with miraculous cures and he was canonized.
There is no evidence to support the “40 days” but the rhyme has stuck and become familiar.