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E.A. Jones

witness. The first of the ‘Middle English Mystics’, Richard Rolle, was likewise sought out as a spiritual director, and after his death was revered as a saint. Much of his writing touches (sometimes quite defensively) on his life as a hermit: his improvised entry into the vocation is [ 47 ] (and see [ 21 ] for an excerpt from his writings). And Walter Hilton (whose advice to recluses lies behind [ 25 ]) spent time as a solitary himself

in Hermits and anchorites in England, 1200–1550
E.A. Jones

. In confirmation of the which purpose and vow with my own hand I have put to [added] the sign of the cross. 53. The Rule of St Linus Linus succeeded St Peter to be the second pope. We can be certain, however, that he had nothing to do with the Middle English ‘rule’ for hermits that bears his name. (Compare the attribution of the Rule of Celestine [ 46 ].) In fact, this short text is

in Hermits and anchorites in England, 1200–1550
E.A. Jones

enduringly influential works of guidance for English anchorites. Two separate translations into Middle English survive, though only one of them is complete. This excerpt is from the longer version which was made around the middle of the fifteenth century in the south of England, with the title ‘A Treatise that is a rule and a form of living pertaining to a recluse’. Translated from the Middle English, chapter 3 of MS Bodley 423

in Hermits and anchorites in England, 1200–1550
E.A. Jones

characteristically rhapsodic writing on the love of God and contemplation with open and engaging advice and encouragement like this, written from one solitary to another, and between friends. Translated from Rolle’s Middle English, ‘The Form of Living’, i.56–85, 92–107; vii.28–51, in English Writings of Richard Rolle, Hermit of Hampole , edited by H.E. Allen (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1931). Some are deceived with too much desire and delight

in Hermits and anchorites in England, 1200–1550
E.A. Jones

recluses’, although, in the many medieval works in which it is used, the title speculum is often best translated as something like ‘encyclopaedia’. The treatise has a number of associations with the Carthusian order, and may have been connected with the reclusory at Sheen Charterhouse, Surrey, founded in 1417. A Middle English translation of the Speculum was made around the middle of the fifteenth century, and was intended

in Hermits and anchorites in England, 1200–1550
E.A. Jones

strongly, and Langland makes explicit the contrast between the ‘lewd hermits’ of his day and the ideal of the Desert Fathers. 13 Translated from the Middle English verse, William Langland, Piers Plowman: The C-Text , edited by Derek Pearsall (Exeter: University of Exeter Press, 1994), IX.58–60; 187–212. All the world’s labourers that truly and

in Hermits and anchorites in England, 1200–1550
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In search of pre-Reformation English spirituality

Dying . Each offers a different approach to the lay experience, seeking to provide a means whereby spirituality could be encouraged and hope confirmed, without going to extremes. The lack of extremism is important: it is too easy to place too much emphasis on the ‘Middle English mystics’, and judge others by their yardstick. 58 Yet mysticism almost by definition is a rarity: the majority had to live

in Catholic England

author, he being one of that select group of English writers of the late fourteenth and early fifteenth centuries generally labelled ‘the Middle English mystics’. 6 He entered the Augustinian house of Thurgarton in Yorkshire in 1384, and died in 1396. His writings, in Latin and English, are extensive, although there are some doubts about precisely which

in Catholic England

England. Translated from Three Middle-English Versions of the Rule of St Benet , ed. E. Kock, Early English Text Society, original series, 120 (1902), 141–4 (English). This is the manner in which a novice shall be made and received into religion. In the beginning, when she has made her petition and asked the house, and

in Monasticism in late medieval England, c. 1300–1535
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A name that derives from the Old French ‘faitour’ = imposter, deceiver etc. 5 A pillory used specifically for the punishment of women. 6 A Middle English euphemism for genitals.

in Women in England c. 1275–1525