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E.A. Jones

Solitude, or at least some form of significant separation from the rest of society, carries symbolic power – often with religious connotations – in most, if not all, cultures. But the particular forms that solitariness and withdrawal take vary from culture to culture, and are sensitive to changes in place and time. 1 This book is concerned with the principal forms of solitary religious life in England between the

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

, Surtees Society 114 (1907), p. 74. 1 Jan. [1281], Scrooby. 19 W[illiam Wickwane, archbishop of York] to the vicar of Blyth, [wishing you] health, etc. We have heard, and with paternal affection feel sympathy for her predicament, that our beloved daughter in Christ, Lady Joan, who practises the solitary religious life in a solemnly dedicated place near Blyth, with the approval of ourselves and our predecessor

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

biggest religious and social questions of the late fourteenth century. From the very opening of the poem, when his narrator Will appears ‘In habite as a heremite unholy of werkes’, hermits are a recurrent concern, representing both the purest ideal of the religious life and its worst abuses. In his final revision of Piers , the C-Text, written probably in the late 1380s, Langland augments the role of hermits considerably. In an

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

want to let in a sinful impulse that he himself has sent. No recluse should be so sure of himself that he dares to lie completely flat on the ground to sleep (unless infirmity demands it or some other reasonable need has arisen), lest when he is weighed down by the fug of sleep he should provide an easier way in for the Enemy to come and injure him. The name ‘recluse’ is great above the names of all other states of religious

in Hermits and anchorites in England, 1200–1550

jealously complained of the evident appeal of the friars. 6 Fraternities, too, added to the texture of urban religious life, and further accentuated the scope for the agency and variety of lay religion. 7 Urban wills are eloquent of a creative range of both devotional and fraternal ties, forged over a lifetime as so many means to address the challenges of life in the late medieval town [ 105 ]. The collective memberships of

in Towns in medieval England

Premonstratensian canons to transform his castle into a religious house, and embarked upon a religious life. He was not unique in deciding to give away his property while a young man in order to found and join a monastic community; across Europe, other lords were also driven by the reforming spirit of the early twelfth century into seeking out religious houses where they could atone for the sins of the aristocratic

in Noble Society

spiritual capital of their urban subjects: the same accounts reveal offerings to churches and relics in every town that Charles visited. The involvement of Burgundian rulers in the religious life of their towns was regular, frequent and varied. How this involvement is best characterised may be debated. 2 At one level it seems

in Court and civic society in the Burgundian Low Countries c.1420–1530
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, the rulers of greater Wessex had begun to refer to themselves as kings of a united England. More than just political consolidation, though, their military successes also made possible the revival of English religious life that scholars now refer to as the Monastic Reform. 25 Begun under Æthelstan and reaching its peak during the reign of King Edgar ‘the Peaceable’ (r. 959–975), the Reform looked to

in The political writings of Archbishop Wulfstan of York
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Hincmar) argued on other occasions that a king must severely punish any of his relatives found guilty of serious crimes, with death if necessary. 177 In contrast, while ecclesiastical courts and councils could remove clerics from their office or degrade them, and could impose corporal punishment on those in religious life, they had relatively few sanctions for lay

in The divorce of King Lothar and Queen Theutberga
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need to be prepared to read the sources not merely as the imprint of particular institutions, with their respective possessions and legal privileges, but in order to discern the needs and aspirations expressed by those who animated them. The overwhelming impression conveyed by the evidence for urban religious life in the later Middle Ages is of its rich diversity (see Sections VIII and IX). For the

in Towns in medieval England