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Hermits and Recluses in English Society, 950–1200 - Oxford Scholarship Online
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Hermits and Recluses in English Society, 950–1200

Tom Licence


In the central Middle Ages, English society lavished unprecedented attention on a category of would-be outcasts who repudiated its ambitions and spurned its aspirations. Hermits and recluses (collectively ‘anchorites’) had their own, very different, vision of how life should be lived, and yet nobles retained them on their estates, parishioners did their bit to support their local recluses, and every tier of society from the peasantry up to royalty journeyed to rural hermitages for prayer, advice, and spiritual instruction. Anchorites were everywhere, dotted across the landscape, striving to re ... More

Keywords: hermits, recluses, anchorites, monasticism, asceticism, spirituality, hagiography

Bibliographic Information

Print publication date: 2011 Print ISBN-13: 9780199592364
Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2011 DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199592364.001.0001


Affiliations are at time of print publication.

Tom Licence, author
Lecturer in Medieval History, The University of East Anglia
Author Webpage