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Dunstan (909 – 19 May 988)[1] was an Abbot of Glastonbury Abbey, a Bishop of Worcester, a Bishop of London, and an Archbishop of Canterbury, later canonised as a saint.[2] 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.[3]

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, not least among which were those concerning his famed cunning in defeating the Devil.[4]


Early life (909–43)


Dunstan was born in Baltonsborough.[5] He was the son of Heorstan, a noble of Wessex. Heorstan was the sister of the bishops of Wells and of Winchester.[6] It is recorded that his mother, Cynethryth, was a pious woman. Osbern relates that a messenger miraculously told her of the saintly child she would give birth to:

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