Tue 24 April 2018

Dunstan, Archbishop 988

Friday 19 May

Dunstan (remembered on May 19th) was a towering figure in the Anglo Saxon church. He was a scholar, artist, craftsman and musician. His championing of music in worship ? particularly of Gregorian plainsong chant - enabled the Anglo Saxons to reach a high standard of singing in their churches. His skills as a metalworker enhanced the casting of bells for church towers and the building of organs for worship.

His creativity as a painter resulted in one of his illuminated manuscripts finding its way eventually to the British Museum. But, above all, it was his determination to pioneer a revival of monasticism in England for which he will be most remembered. Before he went to Canterbury he had been Abbot of Glastonbury for fifteen years. Here in his native Wessex he set a fine example of the working of the Benedictine Rule which he continued when he became Archbishop. Much revered as scholar, leader and administrator he was at Canterbury on Ascension Day 988 when he told his congregation that he was near to death and he died two days later.