top of page
Brass Good Luck Door Horseshoe- House Blessings & Luck

Brass Good Luck Horseshoe 4.5" High x 4" wide


St Dunstan and the Horseshoe legend

But perhaps the most striking and specific reference to the horseshoe as a protective (and lucky) symbol comes from ancient England: Here, lived a man named Dunstan (909 – 988 AD) who later on became the country’s favourite Saint. Whist doing some work as a blacksmith, Dunstan is said to have nailed a horseshoe to a horse. But, the horse was actually the Devil in disguise and it caused the Devil great pain. Dunstan was said to have agreed to remove the shoe and release the Devil only after he promised never to enter a house (like his) which was displaying a horseshoe. And so, the symbol of protection and goodness arose.


Dunstan was born in Baltonsborough, Somerset. He was the son of Heorstan, a nobleman of Wessex and brother to the bishop of Wells and Winchester. So right from an early age, he was indoctrinated into a religious life and was said to be a very pious child. In his early years, while he was living at nearby Glastonbury, Dunstan worked as a silversmith and in the scriptorium. It is thought that he was the artist who drew the well-known image of Christ with a small kneeling monk beside him, now housed at Glastonbury. Some say that this early life so closely associated with the Church attracted the Devil to visit him in the first instance. And, by all accounts, it was not the only such visitation to Dunstan by the Devil.


Dunstan rose to great prominence in English religious and monastic life becoming Abbot of Glastonbury Abbey, Bishop of Worcester, Bishop of London, and eventually Archbishop of Canterbury – the senior bishop and principal leader of the Church of England, the symbolic head of the worldwide Anglican Communion. His life’s work restored monastic life in England and reformed the English Church. There are reports of a vision of angels when visiting the shrines of St Augustine and St Ethelbert, and he worked to improve the spiritual and temporal well-being of local people, building and restoring churches, establishing schools, and generally promoting peace whilst enforcing respect for purity. It is no wonder he was made a Saint. His relics are housed in a tomb on the south side of the high altar of Britain’s Canterbury Cathedral. Because of his early life experience as a blacksmith, he also became the patron saint of English blacksmiths,  goldsmiths and silversmiths.


But it is the horseshoe incident mentioned above that brought St Dunstan the most renown, and it is principally this which is claimed as the origin of the lucky horseshoe. However, there are other associations between Dunstan and the Devil which would imply some sort of protective provenance: In the most famous, he is said to resist temptation, and tweaks Lucifer’s nose with a hot pair of smithing tongs. English novelist, Charles Dickens makes reference to this in his famous Christmas Carol:


Saint Dunstan, as the story goes,
Once pull’d the Devil by the nose
With red-hot tongs, which made him roar,
That he was heard three miles or more


For all these events, the horseshoe symbol is said to offer protection from evil, and bring good fortune.


How do you hang a horseshoe for good luck?

In the past, sailors used to nail a horseshoe to the mast of their ship to help their vessel avoid bad weather, storms and disaster. Normally they would nail it “facing up” to catch all the falling luck. But this brings us to the question: How do you hang a horseshoe for good luck? Is it bad luck to hang a horseshoe upside down? What does it mean when a horseshoe is upside down? Sailors normally nail it “facing up” to catch all the falling luck. But fishermen (also sailors of course) tend to nail the horseshoes “upside down” so that any luck falls down into their nets.


So, just how DO you hang a horseshoe for good luck? i.e. Should a lucky horseshoe be mounted open end up or open end down? “Up” to stop luck running out or “Down” to shower luck onto you.
After much research, it would appear that it doesn’t really matter: It is the thought and effect of the charm that matters – the belief in the so-called magic. In fact, the ‘correct’ orientation varies from country to country, and from culture to culture. As you look at pictures of hanging horseshoes around the world, and on jewellery too, you will see it in all different orientations.

Brass Good Luck Door Horseshoe- House Blessings & Luck


    Related Products