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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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Attlee [née Millar], Violet Helen, Countess Attlee (1895–1965), charity fund-raiser and prime minister’s wife, was born at Heathdown, East Heath Road, Hampstead, on 20 November 1895, the youngest of eleven children of Henry Edward Millar (1856–1912), a commission merchant in import/export trade, and his wife, ...

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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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Cooke, Thomas (1722–1783), Church of England clergyman and eccentric, born in Hexham, Northumberland, on 23 October 1722, was the son of John Cooke, a shoemaker at Hexham. He received his education as king's scholar at Durham School, and afterwards entered Queen's College, Oxford...

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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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Alexander Cruden (1699–1770) by Thomas Trotter, pubd 1785 (after Thomas Frye) ? National Portrait Gallery, London

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Cruden, Alexander (1699–1770), biblical scholar and eccentric, was born in Aberdeen on 31 May 1699, the second of eleven children of William Cruden (d. 1739), a prominent merchant and bailie in the city, and his wife, Isabel Pyper (d. 1740). He was educated in ...

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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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Lloyd George [née Owen], Margaret (1866–1941), politician and charity worker, was born on her family’s farm, Mynydd Ednyfed Fawr, near Cricieth, Caernarfonshire, on 3 November 1864. She was the only child of Richard Owen, a prosperous tenant farmer and ‘offspring of landed gentry stock’ (Lloyd George, 37), and his wife ...

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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 ?ilward, 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, ...