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Abstract only
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

pattern, and the so-called Rule of St Linus [ 53 ] is a somewhat expanded version on the same principles. Though such rules could not be more rudimentary, we should nevertheless recognise the attempt to provide for the freewheeling life of the hermit the same kind of regularity and structure that the monastic horarium offered the traditional religious orders, albeit with the basic prayers of the Church replacing the round of Latin prayers

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

, prayers and other occupations they might dispose themselves according to their will, fleeing, out of a certain voluptuous slothfulness, as far as possible, the yoke of obedience and bodily labours and the difficulties of this life; as certain members of religious orders in modern times strive to do who, for as long as they are in any way restrained by the sacred observances of their order from their pleasures in food, clothing

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

Survey of the Antiquities of the City of Oxford … by Anthony Wood, Vol. 2: Churches and Religious Houses edited by Andrew Clark, Oxford Historical Society 17 (1890), p. 499. 10 See his life by Henry Summerson in ODNB. 11 The official responsible for the church courts

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

anchorite could not be enclosed without proof of financial security [ 2 ], [ 6b ]. The best way to ensure the steady income that would guarantee a recluse’s maintenance was an endowment with land. Such an arrangement, however, was relatively uncommon, even before the Statute of Mortmain (1279) made it harder to alienate land to religious bodies. An individual could be endowed for life [ 17 ] or, even more rarely, an anchorhold could be endowed in

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

, since (as ‘Walter’ says elsewhere in his Rule ) ‘they have to act as their own teachers and guides’. 6 The biblical injunction to pray without ceasing (1 Thess. 5:17) had been the guiding principle of the Desert Fathers, but the desert texts repeatedly stress that a life of prayer requires structure and discipline. For professed religious in the Middle Ages, of course, such structure was provided by the

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

maintained some sort of religious vocation for a decade after the dissolution [ 72 ], [ 73 ]. But the majority, whether reluctantly or with quiet relief, must simply have returned, like Thomas Parkinson [ 74 ], to secular life. Although, during her brief reign (1553–58), the Roman Catholic Mary Tudor restored a handful of the monasteries, no attempt was made to resurrect the solitary

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