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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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Crab, Roger (c. 1616–1680), hermit, appears by his own account to have been 'begotten, and brought forth in the South-West of England' (Crab, Dagons-Downfall, 1). The names of his parents are as yet unknown. He was baptized by a clergyman with the customary two godfathers and a godmother in attendance. ...

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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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Greswold, Edward (bap. 1594?, d. 1633), religious recluse, was probably baptized on 5 August 1594 at Tanworth, Warwickshire. He was the son of Thomas Greswold (d. 1598/9), landowner, and his wife, Elizabeth (d. 1645), daughter and heir of Benedict Shuckburgh of ...

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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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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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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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Neot [St Neot] (d. in or before 878), monk and hermit, lived in Cornwall at some time probably in the mid-ninth century and was subsequently venerated as a saint. His name is preserved in modern St Neot, Cornwall, and St Neots, Huntingdonshire. No source contemporary with his lifetime records any detail concerning his life, and therefore every detail, including even the spelling of his name, is a matter of uncertainty. He is first mentioned in the life of ...

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Robert of Knaresborough (d. 1218?), hermit, was the son of a wealthy English or Anglo-Scandinavian merchant of York, Toki Flos, and his wife, Sunniva. He first wished to join a brother who was a conversus, or lay brother, of the Cistercian abbey of ...

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Rolle, Richard (1305x10–1349), hermit and religious author, was born in Thornton Dale in the North Riding of Yorkshire, the son of William Rolle, a prosperous but landless yeoman.

The course of Rolle's life is known almost entirely from autobiographical references in his own writings and from the biographical office compiled by the ...

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Simon [Simeon] Stock [St Simon Stock] (supp. 1165–1265), hermit and monk, is said to have been born in Kent in 1165. Although he is celebrated as the sixth prior-general of the Carmelite order, there are no contemporary references to him, unless the mention by the mid-thirteenth-century Dominican ...

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Sualo [St Sualo, Solus] (d. 794), hermit, was one of the pilgrim Anglo-Saxon religious who travelled to the continent in the eighth century. Knowledge of him depends on a life written between 839 and 842 by Ermanric (d. 874), a monk of ...