The coronation of Queen Elizabeth II was celebrated throughout the country a few years back but few know that the words for the service have a Somerset connection. St. Dunstan, abbot at Glastonbury Abbey in the 10th century, officiated at the coronation of King Edgar and the wording he devised is still used today.
Saturday May 19 is St. Dunstan’s annual feast day and to mark the occasion harpist John Dalton will be appearing at the Abbey as St. Dunstan. Julie Hayes, education co-ordinator, said St. Dunstan was born in Baltonsborough in approximately 909 and took Holy Orders in 943 returning to Glastonbury to live as a hermit after working in King Athelstan’s court.
He built a small cell next to the old church of St. Mary, playing his harp, working in the Scriptorium, studying and practicing his craftsmanship. “He worked as a Silversmith and became famed as a musician, metalworker and illuminator, “Julie said.
King Edmund summoned Dunstan to his court and made him a minister. As Abbot of Glastonbury Abbey he established the Benedictine Rule and created many monastic buildings.
Julie continued: “In 960, Dunstan became Archbishop of Canterbury. Dunstan’s high point was when he officiated at the coronation of King Edgar. The coronation ceremony was devised and written by Dunstan and still forms the basis of the present day coronation ceremony.”
Dunstan was canonized in 1029 and it was ordered that his Feast Day be kept solemnly throughout England. St. Dunstan is the patron saint of goldsmiths and silversmiths, which is why the hallmarking date ran from May 19 – St. Dunstan’s Feast Day – until May 18 the following year for centuries.
Mr. John Dalton, who will be appearing at various times during the middle of the day on Saturday at the Abbey, is also holding a concert to mark the day.
It will feature The Hildegard Ensemble, Phillipa Chapman, soprano John Dalton , Harp, and Maxine Ridout.
More details and the full original article visit the Glastonbury Abbey website: