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St Dunstan, Bishop of London, Worcester and lastly, Archbishop of Canterbury

Posted in Historical articles, History, London, Religion, Saints, Uncategorized on Saturday, 13 July 2013

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This edited article about Saints originally appeared in Look and Learn issue number 330 published on 11 May 1968.

St Dunstan, picture, image, illustration

St Dunstan, Archbishop of Canterbury, from a manuscript of the 12th Century

On the 5th Sunday after Easter (May 19th) there occurs a minor Saint’s Day of special interest to the English, and particularly to Londoners. It is St. Dunstan’s Day. Dunstan was a Saxon, born of noble family in the 10th century, and educated at the famous monastery of Glastonbury. In those days the Saxon kings often regarded monks as their most trustworthy advisers, for they were unlikely to be people seeking wealth or favours for their family, as did so many others. Dunstan became adviser to several kings in succession, and though Edwy banished him from the court, his successor, Edgar, recalled Dunstan from exile in Flanders, and made him in turn Bishop of Worcester, then of London, and finally Archbishop of Canterbury.

As well as helping to rule Edgar’s turbulent kingdom, Dunstan devoted the remainder of his life to the reform of existing monasteries, and the founding of new ones, including those at Ely and Peterborough. In an age when many monks had become careless and lazy, he set a new standard of strictness and devotion. He was also an accomplished musician, artist, and silversmith. He was buried in his own cathedral at Canterbury at about the date of his own feast day, in the year 988 A.D.

Eighteen churches in England are named after St. Dunstan, including two famous ones in the City of London, as well as a number of schools, hospitals, and other institutions, including the charity established to help those blinded as a result of war.

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