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Appulby, Simon [Symon the Anker of London Wall] (d. 1537), religious recluse and author, was the last anchorite to be attached to the church of All Hallows, London Wall. An ordained priest, Simon made his anchoritic profession at the nearby priory of the ...

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Balthere [St Balthere, Baldred, Balther] (d. 756), hermit, is often confused with an earlier saint of the same name. The later and better-known Balthere was described by his near contemporary Alcuin, in his poem on the bishops, kings, and saints of York. The so-called ...

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Bartholomew of Farne [St Bartholomew of Farne] (d. 1193), hermit, stands second in reputation only to Godric of Finchale among the hermits of northern England in the twelfth century. Just as Godric's fame depends on the life written by Reginald, a monk of ...

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Billfrith [St Billfrith] (d. 750x800?), anchorite, is mentioned in the Old English colophon which the scribe Aldred added to the Lindisfarne gospels (BL, Cotton MS Nero D.iv) at some time between 950 and about 970, when they were at Chester-le-Street. After naming ...

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Borstale, Thomas (supp. fl. 1290), supposed Augustinian hermit, is said by Bale to have come from Norfolk and to have studied in England, and taught theology at the University of Paris c.1290. Bale adds that Borstale died at the Augustinian convent in ...

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Caradog (1060x75–1124), hermit and monk, was the son of noble parents from Brycheiniog (Brecon). The principal source for his life is an account in Capgrave's Nova legenda Angliae which probably derives from a life, now lost, written by Gerald of Wales...

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Carpenter, Christina (fl. 1329–1332), religious recluse, was the unmarried daughter of William, a carpenter who lived in the tiny Surrey village of Shere in the second and third decades of the fourteenth century. Of humble birth, Christina was seemingly destined for an unremarkable and historically invisible life. However, in the summer of 1329 she took the serious step of applying to the bishop of ...

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Clare, Bogo de (1248–1294), ecclesiastic and figure of scandal, was born on 21 July 1248, the third son of Richard de Clare, earl of Gloucester and Hertford (1222–1262), and his second wife, Maud (d. 1288/9), daughter of John de Lacy, earl of Lincoln...

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Deicolus [St Deicolus, Deicola] (d. c. 625), Benedictine monk and hermit, was allegedly a companion of St Columbanus of Luxeuil and Bobbio (d. 615), and a half-brother of Gall of St Gallen. His feast day is 18 January.

According to his life, written about 965, sickness prevented ...

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Farne, John of [John Whiterig] (c. 1320–1371), Benedictine monk and hermit, was the author of seven Latin meditations. The only surviving manuscript of his work (Durham Cath. CL, MS B.IV.34), written in a late fourteenth-century hand, ascribes them to 'a certain monk, formerly a solitary on ...

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Flete, William [known as Brother William of England] (fl. 1352–1380), Augustinian friar and hermit, always called himself Brother William of England. He was first designated 'of Flete', which presumably refers to Fleet in Lincolnshire, when the prior-general of his order granted him conventual status at the priory of ...

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Godric of Finchale [St Godric of Finchale] (c. 1070–1170), trader and hermit, was born at Walpole in Norfolk to a poor, Anglo-Saxon, farming couple. His father's name was Æilward, his mother's Aedwen (Eadwenna), and he was subsequently joined by a brother, William, and a sister, ...

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Guthlac [St Guthlac] (674–715), hermit, was one of the most famous and influential holy men in the first 120 years of English Christianity, his fame owed in no small degree to the well-structured and vivid life of him written c.740 by the learned East Anglian monk, ...

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Healy, James (1824–1894), Roman Catholic priest and wit, one of twenty-three children of John Healy, a provision dealer, and his first wife, Mary Meyler, was born in Francis Street, Dublin, on 15 December 1824. From 1834 he was educated at the Vincentian School...

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C. L. Kingsford

revised by Marios Costambeys

Hereberht [St Hereberht, Herebert, Herbert] (d. 687), hermit, resided on the island in Derwent Water which still bears his name. He was a disciple and close friend of St Cuthbert, to whom he paid an annual visit for spiritual advice. The two friends both died on 20 March 687. In 1374 ...

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Kentigerna [St Kentigerna, Caintigern] (d. 734), anchorite, was an Irish noblewoman who ended her days as an anchorite on a Scottish island. She owes her fame to her reputation for holiness and to the holiness and status of her male kin: she was the daughter of ...

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London, John (d. 1428), Benedictine monk and recluse, entered Westminster Abbey in 1377–8 and said his first mass in 1379. The toponym may indicate his place of origin; his family is unknown. As keeper of the shrine of St Edward the Confessor, an office which he held as a junior monk, he was thrown into contact with pilgrims and sightseers. As the second of the two treasurers of ...

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Alfred Hyman Louis (1829–1915) by Histed © National Portrait Gallery, London

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Louis, Alfred Hyman (1829–1915), scholar and visionary vagrant, was born in 1829 in Birmingham, the eldest son of Hyman Tobias (or Tobar) Louis, a well-to-do merchant, and his wife, Maria. At fifteen he entered King Edward's School, Birmingham, where he began long friendships with ...

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Markyate, Christina of (b. c. 1096, d. after 1145), hermit and prioress of Markyate, was born c.1096, the daughter of an Anglo-Saxon nobleman, Auti, whose family had large possessions in Huntingdon, and his wife, Beatrix. Her baptismal name was Theodora, but she later took the name ...