Feast Day - 19 May
St Dunstan was born of a noble family at Baltonsborough near Glastonbury. There he was educated by Irish monks and while still a youth was sent to the court of King Athelstan. He became a Benedictine monk and was ordained by his uncle, St Alpehege (Bishop of Winchester) in around 939.
He spent some time as a hermit at Glastonbury before being recalled to court by King Edmund who appointed him Abbot of Glastonbury which he then developed into a great centre of learning as well as revitalising other monasteries in the area. He became advisor to King Edred when he became King after the murder of Edmund. He began a very influential reform of all the monasteries in Edred's realm.
St Dunstan also became deeply involved n politics and incurred the enmity of the West Saxon nobles for denouncing their immorality and for urging peace with the Danes. When Edwy became king in 955 he became St Dunstan's bitter enemy for the Abbot's strong censure of his scandalous lifestyle. Edwy confiscated his property and banished him from his kingdom.
He went to Ghent in Flanders but soon returned when a rebellion replaced Edwy with his brother Edgar. Edgar appointed him Bishop of Worcester and then Bishop of London. After the death of Edwy, the civil strife came to an end and Edgar reunited the country and made St Dunstan Archbishop of Canterbury. together, the King and St Dunstan planned a thorough reform of church and state.
St Dunstan was subsequently appointed legate by Pope John XII and along with St Ethelwold and St Oswald restored ecclesiastical discipline, rebuilt many of the monasteries destroyed by the Danish invaders, replaced inept secular priests with monks, and enforced the widespread reforms they put into effect. St Dunstan served as Edgar's chief advisor for sixteen years and did not hesitate to reprimand him when he thought he deserved it. When Edgar died, St Dunstan helped Edward the martyr king and then his half brother Ethelred, when Edward dies soon after his election.
Under Ethelred, St Dunstan's influence began to wane and he retired from politics to Canterbury to teach at the Cathedral School. He died there in 988.
St Dunstan has been called the reviver of monasticism in England. He was a noted musician, played the harp, composed several hymns (notably "Kyrie Rex splendens"), was a skilled metal worker and illuminated manuscripts. He is the Patron Saint of armourers, goldsmiths, locksmiths and jewellers.
St Dunstan is often represented holding a gold cup or a pair of smith's tongs, or with a dove hovering near him and sometimes with a troop of angels before him .
THE STATUE OF ST DUNSTAN IN THE PARISH CHURCH
The statue that stands to the right of the Shrine of Our Lady is made of yew and was carved from the wood of a 300 year old tree which stood at the entrance to the churchyard. It was blown down in the gales of 1987, but a companion tree of the same age still stands. The statue was carved by George Harrison, a resident of Hounslow.