Amazingly it’s over a year since my last #10tweetadventure celebrating #pancrasday. So what better than tracking down another saint, this time more intimately associated with London. On St Dunstan’s Day, 19 May, I give you… #dunstanday
1 Dunstan (c.909-988) was a proper English (Saxon) saint. He was born in Baltonsborough, Somerset, near Glastonbury where he became abbot. He was later bishop of Worcester, then of London, and Archbishop of Canterbury (serving 7 kings!). Here’s his alleged selfie. #dunstanday
2 It’s thanks to Dunstan we have lucky horseshoes (the story goes he nailed one to the Devil’s hoof, as well as tricking Old Nick in other ways – see picture). A craftsman and scholar himself, he’s the patron of metalworkers, jewellers and locksmiths. #dunstanday
3 We start in Stepney at St Dunstan & All Saints (Church of the High Seas) rebuilt by Dunstan himself (who may have lived nearby), and again in the 15th & 19th C. A Saxon rood cross survives. 17th C herbalist & hermit Roger Crab is buried here (see below). #dunstanday
4 This is all that remains of Whitechapel Bell Foundry (which provided bells at St D’s in Stepney). A sad end for a business that started in the 16th century (but @savetheWbf offers hope). St D allegedly cast bells himself and became the patron of bellringers. #dunstanday
5 The City: all that remains of St Dunstan-in-the-East is this haunting garden. It dates from c.1000, expanded 1391 and patched up in the 1660s after the Great Fire, with a new Wren spire. It was rebuilt again in the 1810s before the 1941 Blitz finally did for it. #dunstanday
6 A detour to Guildhall Art Gallery (@GuildhallArt) & its treasures, including a Roman amphitheatre only found in 1988. (Alas we were unable to look inside the Great Hall, where the figures of Gog & Magog can be found – but we’ll meet them again later anyway…) #dunstanday
7 Westward, to our 3rd church… St Dunstan-in-the-West. It dates from Norman times, rebuilt in the 1830s. Bible translator William Tyndale preached here and poet John Donne was rector. Walton’s Compleat Angler was published here. Predatory Pepys plagued maids here. #dunstanday
8 St D-in-the-W ‘s treasures include this 1586 statue of Elizabeth I moved from the lost Ludgate; a crumbling statue of King Lud himself, with his two sons; up in the tower, the bells are struck hourly by these figures of giants Gog and Magog (or Gogmagog & Corineus) #dunstanday
9 Oddly all 3 churches had 17th C wood carvings by Grinling Gibbons; only one survives – the communion rail here. (Apologies to St Dunstan’s in Cranford Park (too far!) – where Tony Hancock’s ashes lie – & l all the many St Dunstan churches across southern England.) #dunstanday
10 If you’ve enjoyed #dunstanday, see #Pancras day, #10tweetadventure and #londonfogg, or subscribe to my history newsletter (@gethistories, link in bio). The latest edition tells the story of Roger Crab!
Some offcuts/extras from yesterday’s #dunstanday walk 1/3. Memorial in Stepney; history of Stepney Green; The Good Samaritan pub; Royal London Hospital’s crumbling former outpatients building.
#dunstanday offcuts 2/3. A Cornhill alley; an historic well; the philanderer Pepys; Queen Vic’s diamond jubilee.
And #dunstanday offcuts 3/3. Postman’s Park; the garden at Wren’s Christ Church Greyfriars; Confucius at Clifford’s Inn (in fact the old churchyard of St Dunstans-in-the-West where publishers sold books 👋@joe_saunders1); and The Old Bank of England pub.