Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Dedications and weather

click photo to enlarge
All Church of England churches have a dedication, usually to a saint, but often to the Virgin Mary, the Trinity, the Holy Rood (Cross), or one of a few other religious symbols. This dedication is usually included in the full name of the building. So, the faintly seen structure in this photograph is The Parish Church of St Swithun, Bicker, Lincolnshire.

Usually the dedication that the church carries today is the one that it originally received a thousand years or more ago. But sometimes it is changed. Bicker's church has always, as far as I know, carried the name of St Swithun, although sometimes it has been, and still is, written as St Swithin. Who was this person? Well, he was a Bishop of Winchester, who died in the year 862, and whose life is relatively well recorded. He appears in"The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle" and several other ancient texts. Like most saints his fame increased after his death, and miracles began to be attributed to him. Swithun's best known miracle is the restoration of a basket of eggs that some workmen had deliberately broken! However, in England, his feast day - 15th July - is much better known than that of many other saints. This is mainly due to the saying that surrounds rain falling (or not) on that particular day: "St Swithun's day if it does rain, For forty days it will remain, St Swithun's Day if it is fair, For forty days 'twill rain no mair (more)." So, English folk who know this saying pay special attention to the weather when 15th July comes around, and hope that precipitation does not bring forty days of wetness right in the middle of summer!

Rain wasn't the prevailing condition when I photographed St Swithun's. An overnight frost had coincided with fog, and the early morning sun forcing its way through gave an opportunity for a contre jour shot. A horizontal crop seemed to make best use of the photographic elements available.

photograph & text (c) T. Boughen

Camera: Olympus E510
Mode: Aperture Priority
Focal Length: 11mm (22mm/35mm equiv.)
F No: f7.1
Shutter Speed: 1/320
ISO: 100
Exposure Compensation: -1.3 EV
Image Stabilisation: Off