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Dunstan

Saint Dunstan, archbishop of Canterbury (A.D. 960-980), was famed for the many stories told about his cunning in dealing with the Devil.

He began his career at Glastonbury, becoming abbot in 945. The abbey flourished under his administration, but, following the accession of Edwy, he became less influential and went overseas, to Flanders. On his return, in 957, he imported Benedictine customs, becoming bishop of Worcester and London in 959, and shortly afterwards archbishop, under King Edgar of England. Having crowned Edgar in 973, he performed the same service for his successor, Edward the Martyr, and later for Ethelred the Unready. He died in 988.

He is the patron saint of goldsmiths, and was himself a blacksmith, painter, and jeweler. He is referred to throughout English literature, for example in A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens, and this folk rhyme:

St Dunstan, as the story goes,
Once pull'd the devil by the nose
With red-hot tongs, which made him roar,
That he was heard three miles or more.

His day is May 19.



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