Portal:Saints/Selected biography/22

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Dunstan in The Little Lives of the Saints, illustrated by Charles Robinson in 1904

Dunstan (c.909–19 May 988) was an abbot of Glastonbury, a bishop of Worcester, a bishop of London, and an archbishop of Canterbury who was later canonized as a saint. His work restored monastic life in England and reformed the English Church. His 11th century biographer, Osbern, himself an artist and scribe, states that Dunstan was skilled in "making a picture and forming letters", as were other clergy of his age who reached senior rank.

Dunstan served as an important minister of state to several English kings. He was the most popular saint in England for nearly two centuries, having gained fame for the many stories of his greatness. Adding to Dunstan's myth was his legendary cunning in dealing with the Devil. One story relates how Dunstan nailed a horseshoe to the Devil's hoof when he was asked to re-shoe the Devil's horse. This caused the Devil great pain, and Dunstan only agreed to remove the shoe and release the Devil after he promised never to enter a place where a horseshoe is over the door. This is claimed as the origin of the lucky horseshoe. The Eastern Orthodox Church, the Roman Catholic Church, and the Anglican Communion mark his feast day on May 19.