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Arthur (supp. fl. in or before 6th cent.), legendary warrior and supposed king of Britain, has an attested career that is entirely posthumous. From obscure beginnings in British legend, he became internationally known in the twelfth century, particularly through the success of Geoffrey of Monmouth's...

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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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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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Edward V (1470–1483) stained glass, c. 1482 by kind permission of the Dean and Chapter of Canterbury Cathedral

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Edward [Edward of Middleham], prince of Wales (1474x6–1484), was the first-born and probably only son of Richard, duke of Gloucester (the future Richard III), and his wife, Anne Neville (1456–1485). While the place of his birth is recorded by John Rous (...

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Edward V (1470–1483), king of England and lord of Ireland, the eldest son of Edward IV (1442–1483) and his queen, Elizabeth (c. 1437–1492), was born in Westminster sanctuary on 2 November 1470, during his father's exile and the readeption of Henry VI. He was baptized in the abbey, the abbot and prior of ...

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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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Gilbert of Sempringham [St Gilbert of Sempringham] (1083–1189), monastic reformer, was the son, probably the eldest, of Jocelin, a Norman knightly tenant of Alfred of Lincoln, and an unnamed Anglo-Saxon mother, through whom his father presumably came into his estates, most of which were concentrated in ...

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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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Guy of Warwick (supp. fl. c. 930), legendary hero, seems to have little or no basis in history. Possibly his name comes from the historical Wigod of Wallingford, cup-bearer of Edward the Confessor, and one or two other names recall pre-conquest traditions of battles against the vikings, but the bulk of his story is romantic fiction. Its essential elements are all to be found in the Anglo-Norman ...

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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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Hugh of Lincoln [St Hugh of Lincoln, Little St Hugh] (c. 1246–1255), supposed victim of crucifixion, was the son of Beatrice of Lincoln. He is known as Little St Hugh to distinguish him from St Hugh, bishop of Lincoln (1140?–1200). His death, in all probability accidental, and most likely on 27 August 1255, was the catalyst for the accusation of ritual murder aimed at the Jewish community 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 ...