Welcome to the home page of the church of St Swithun-upon-Kingsgate, Winchester, dedicated to St Swithun (or Swithin), bishop of Winchester, one of the best loved of Saxon saints.
Kingsgate (King’s Gate) is one of the ancient gates in the walls of the city of Winchester.
The church above the gate is first mentioned in records in 1264 when it was destroyed by fire; it was rebuilt and has been restored at various times over the centuries. Churches built over city gates were common in medieval times, but only a few survive today.
St Swithun’s Church features in literature as St Cuthbert’s in Anthony Trollope’s novel “The Warden”.
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. The Old Minster was expanded in the tenth century to become the first Winchester Cathedral, and St Swithun’s relics were translated (moved) into it on 15 July 971. This occasion was marked by very heavy rainfall, and the tradition remains that if it rains on St Swithun’s Day, it will rain also for the next forty days.