The Patron Saint of Blacksmiths

May 3, 2015 by Tori Flower

As this month sees the feast day of the patron saints of blacksmiths, and the name of church that overlooks the farm, here is piece about his legend.

Saint Dunstan – The patron saint of blacksmiths, who died 998CE, feast day is celebrated on the 19th May. The church that overlooks our forge is dedicated to him, so why not pay us both a visit on that day.

st dunstan

One of the colourful legends about our saint is thus: The Devil was annoyed at the healing properties of a spring, at Tunbridge Wells in Kent, and poked his nose right below the surface causing it to go red and taste of sulphur. St Dunstan pulled him out by the nose using a set of blacksmiths tongs. Those tongs can be seen at Mayfield Convent, a Roman Catholic boarding school in the village of Mayfield in Sussex.

It is said that he repeated the same trick at a forge when the devil disguised himself as a beautiful young lady to tempt him. However he would not look up from his work and then noticed the hooves beneath the dress. St Dunstan then grabbed the Devil by the nose with tongs again which caused the Devil to unfurl his wings in order to fly away in pain.

Most of the stories from the 10th Century are said to relate to his time at Glastonbury Forge. It is said that before being converted to Christianity, by St Alphege, his was a magician involved in the occult and had been ejected from the Kings court.

One last tale: St Dunstan is reputed to have nailed horseshoes to the Devils hooves and refused to remove them until Old Nick promised to stay away from Blacksmiths. It is also said that the legend of a horseshoe being lucky comes from this tale as the devil also promised not to enter a building with a horseshoe nailed above the door.

St Dustan is a real historic figure, he served as the Archbishop of Canterbury between 960 – 988, as to the legends? Who knows?

Blog by Richard Pace Blacksmith.

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