Chapter

The rise of the recluse

Tom Licence

in Hermits and Recluses in English Society, 950–1200

Published in print January 2011 | ISBN: 9780199592364
Published online May 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780191595639 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199592364.003.0004
The rise of the recluse

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  • Medieval and Renaissance History (500 to 1500)

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Those enclosed in cells adopted a different form of ascetic withdrawal to those anchorites who valued freedom of movement. This set them apart, to the point that they eventually constituted a separate category. Chapter 3 charts their rise and the clarification of their identity, initially in the German Empire, then in England. It examines the terminological shifts by which writers defined them, evidence that their proliferation was a Western European phenomenon, the types of settlement where they are recorded (often at minsters or rich urban churches), and the sorts of people who sponsored them. The rise of the recluse is interpreted not only in relation to developments in the Empire, but also in light of concerns on the part of wealthy gentry and burgesses to establish spiritual advocates in nascent parishes and towns. The chapter ends with some archaeological insights.

Keywords: recluses; terminology; German Empire; cells; parishes

Chapter.  12310 words. 

Subjects: Medieval and Renaissance History (500 to 1500)

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