How anchorites made a living

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:
How anchorites made a living

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  • Medieval and Renaissance History (500 to 1500)


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Moving from the general problem of how anchorites rose to prominence, to the particular, practical question of how they were sustained, this chapter examines how patrons intervened to sponsor them and how anchorites themselves made an independent living. Various case studies, briefly discussed, illustrate the range of sponsors anchorites attracted and the ways in which those sponsors' interests coincided with their own. Hermits and recluses were not the preserve of any one sector of society; rather, their universal appeal explains how England sustained so many. Next, a portrait of the hermit pioneer, establishing a farmstead in the wastes by assarting and agriculture, gradually comes together. Sedentary by comparison, the recluse's occupations and living conditions are considered, concluding a discussion of day-to-day material concerns.

Keywords: religious patronage; assarting; hermitage; farming; godric of finchale

Chapter.  11069 words. 

Subjects: Medieval and Renaissance History (500 to 1500)

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