July 15, 971: Bishop Æthelwold of Winchester translates (moves the body of) St Swithun

Swithun, himself a bishop of Winchester, died on 2 July 863, and was buried outside the church. His successor, Bishop Æthelwold, translated (moved) his body inside the cathedral at Winchester (the "Old Minster") on 15 July 971, with great ceremony. A reliquary (a container for saints' relics) was built at King Edgar's command, from silver, precious stones, and three hundred pounds of gold, and there was a three-mile barefoot procession before it was put on the altar. Many miracles were recorded, and the Old Minster became a major centre for pilgrimages. A Life of St Æthelwold from the turn of the century records that there were two lamps blazing in the church in those days: what Æthelwold the bishop preached, Swithun the saint ornamented with miracles.

But hard business sense and shrewd publicity were also behind the success of St Swithun's, and not a little tension with the neighbouring church, the New Minster of Winchester, whose patron saint was Judoc. The Old Minster started a story of a man who went to Winchester intending to be cured by the relics of St Judoc, but who was warned in a vision that he would be much better off visiting the Old Minster's St Swithun instead. Rivalry between the two houses became more tangible as both undertook huge building projects in the 980s, each perhaps seeking to outshine the other.