Who was St Dunstan?

st dunstanSt Dunstan, the 10th century English saint, was born near Glastonbury in England.   A man of the church, a great scholar and a statesman, he gave up the worldly pleasures of the court of King Athelstan to become a monk in Glastonbury.

He was known for his skill with metals, and today is revered by silversmiths as their patron saint.  Out of his ability in metallurgy grew up the legend that Dunstan, tempted by the Devil while working at his forge, seized the devil’s nose with his red-hot tongs.

Dunstan became Abbot of Glastonbury in 945, and made the monastery famous as a centre of learning.  He publicly criticised King Edwig, successor to King Eadred.  For this he was deprived of his offices and banished.  However, he returned to England in 957 and was made bishop of London the following year.

In 960 he was elected archbishop of Canterbury during the reign of King Edgar, who followed Edwig.  Dunstan retired to Canterbury in 978 after Edgar’s death and remained there until his death in 988.

Dunstan was canonized for his piety, devotion to learning and dedication to the institutional church.  May 19 is Saint Dunstan’s Day and is celebrated by St Dunstan’s each year.