Hampshire Day (Saint Swithun’s Day) Date in the current year: July 15, 2024

Hampshire Day (Saint Swithun’s Day) Many historic counties of England have special observances that celebrate their history and culture. For example, Hampshire Day is celebrated on July 15, which is Saint Swithun’s Day (the feast day of the patron saint of Winchester Cathedral).

Hampshire is a ceremonial county located in South East England. It is bordered by Dorset, Wiltshire, Berkshire, Surrey, and West Sussex. Between the Roman and Norman periods it was the center of the Kingdom of Wessex, the most powerful Anglo-Saxon kingdom. The capital of Wessex was Winchester, the now capital of Hampshire. In 886, King Alfred of Wessex proclaimed himself “King of England”, so Winchester is considered the first capital of England.

After the Norman conquest, King William I moved the capital to London, which had outgrown Winchester by then. Nevertheless, Winchester remained one of the most important cities in England, largely due to its proximity to New Forest, proclaimed a royal forest by the king. The second most important city of Hampshire was Southampton, due to being a major port. Portsmouth became an important port during the Tudor era.

For a long time, the economy of Hampshire was primarily based on agriculture. In the mid-19th century, various industries began to grow increasingly important, including salt works, ship building, and lace, silk, sugar, and paper industries. Today, Hampshire is one of the most affluent counties in the United Kingdom.

Hampshire is the birthplace of many notable people, including authors Jane Austen and Charles Dickens, Pre-Raphaelite painter John Everett Millais, actors Colin Firth, Peter Sellers, Martin Freeman and Elizabeth Hurley, singer-songwriter Craig David, presenters Philippa Forrester, Amanda Lamb and Scott Mills, and many others.

Hampshire County Council inaugurated Hampshire Day in 2019 as part of a nationwide campaign to celebrate the historic and cultural heritage of England’s historic countries. It is celebrated on July 15 because on this day the Church of England honors Saint Swithun, the patron saint of Winchester Cathedral.

Saint Swithun, also known as Saint Swithin, lived in the 9th century. He was the bishop of Winchester from 852 until his death in 863. About a century after his demise, Dunstan of Canterbury and Æthelwold of Winchester restored the old church in Winchester and dedicated it to Saint Swithun.

In 1079, the church was replaced with Winchester Cathedral. During Reformation, it was dedicated to the Holy Trinity, Saint Peter, and Saint Paul, and the Priory of Saint Swithun was dissolved. However, the cathedral still has a shrine to Saint Swithun.

Hampshire Day is marked by raising the Hampshire flag in front of Hampshire City Council and other administrative buildings. The flag of Hampshire, also known as Saint Swithun’s flag, was registered with the Flag Institute in March 2019. It consists of two horizontal fields; the upper one is red and the lower one is gold. The red field has a gold Saxon crown in the middle, and the gold field has the red and white double Tudor rose.

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Hampshire Day, Saint Swithun’s Day, county days in England, religious observances, holidays in England, holidays in Hampshire