(d. 1002)

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St Dunstan (c. 909—988) archbishop of Canterbury


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(d. 1002),

first abbot of Westminster, bishop of Sherborne. Appointed by Edgar and Dunstan first as superior of Westminster c.960, then as abbot in 980, he became bishop of Sherborne in 992, introduced a monastic chapter there in 993, but remained simultaneously abbot of Westminster. He is said to have rebuilt the church at Sherborne and improved the endowment. A few letters to or from Wulsin survive: one is from the scholar Aelfric (then abbot of Cerne), introducing his collection of canons for the instruction of priests. William of Malmesbury records that he warned his monks that having the bishop as their abbot would cause difficulty in the future. His pastoral staff and other pontificalia survived at Sherborne and were notable for their simplicity, which matched Wulsin's austerity of life. A relic not mentioned by William is the famous Sherborne Pontifical, which belonged to him and is a rich example of Winchester illumination. Wulsin died 8 January: his feast was kept at Sherborne, Westminster, Abbotsbury, and Worcester. His relics, together with those of Juthwara, were translated at Sherborne c.1050. Feast: 8 January.

C. H. Talbot, ‘The Life of St Wulsin of Sherborne by Goscelin’, Rev. Bén., lxix (1951), 68–85 (cf. P. Grosjean in Anal. Boll., lxxviii (1951), 197–206); W. Stubbs, Memorials of St Dunstan (R.S.), pp. 406–9; G.P., pp. 178–9; N.L.A., ii. 520–2; History of Westminster (ed. J. A. Robinson), pp. 79–80.

Subjects: Christianity.

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