Almanac – July 15th

St. Swithin’s Day

A bishop of Winchester who died in 862. According to popular belief, he was at his own request buried in the churchyard, so that his grave could be watered by the rain and trodden on by passers-by.
On 15th July 971 his remains were moved to a shrine inside the cathedral, an operation that was alledgedly disrupted by heavy rain, which continued for 40 days.

This gave rise to the meteorological belief that whatever the weather does on this day, it’ll remain so for the next 40 days. As predictions go, its regularly proved wrong.

1381John Ball,  an English Lollard priest and  a leader in the Peasants’ Revolt, was hanged, drawn and quartered in the presence of King Richard II, and his head subsequently stuck on a pike on London Bridge.

Ball, who was called by Froissart “the mad priest of Kent,” seems to have possessed the gift of rhyme. He voiced the feelings of a section of the discontented lower orders of society at that time,  who chafed at villeinage and the lords’ rights of unpaid labour, or corvée.

At the time that the uprising began, Ball was imprisoned at the Archbishop’s Palace in Maidstone, Kent and was released by the Kentish rebels. He preached to them at Blackheath (the insurgents’ gathering place near Greenwich) in an open-air sermon that included the following:

“When Adam delved and Eve span, Who was then the gentleman?From the beginning all men by nature were created alike, and our bondage or servitude came in by the unjust oppression of naughty men. For if God would have had any bondmen from the beginning, he would have appointed who should be bond, and who free. And therefore I exhort you to consider that now the time is come, appointed to us by God, in which ye may (if ye will) cast off the yoke of bondage, and recover liberty.
1799 – The Rosetta Stone is found in the Egyptian village of Rosetta by French Captain Pierre-François Bouchard during Napoleon’s Egyptian Campaign.
1944 – Millie Jackson, American singer, born. The inimitiable Millie Jackson….
1951 – Gregory Isaacs, Jamaican reggae singer, born.
1952 – Johnny Thunders, American guitarist, singer and songwriter (New York Dolls, The Heartbreakers) born.
                                                         Mr. Frankenstein

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