Ancrene Wisse, (Middle English: “Guide for Anchoresses”) also called Ancrene Riwle (“Rule for Anchoresses”), anonymous work written in the early 13th century . Ancrene Wisse or the “Anchoresses’ Guide” (Cambridge, Corpus Christi College, MS ), written sometime roughly between and , represents a. Introduction to the original and transcribed text of the Ancrene Riwle, a 13th century guide for female religious recluses, which is not as dry as it sounds!.

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It is notable for its humanity, practicality, and insight into human nature but even more for its brilliant style.

He stresses the inner life that the outer rule is to foster. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Shepherd believes that the work does not show such influence, and thinks a date shortly after most likely. The author warns his spiritual charges against possible abuses from outside their cloister. Seven copies of the text are extant in English. Scholars agree generally that the original text probably not extant existed in English not long after It was written in Middle English for the spiritual instruction of three young women, sisters, well-born but with restricted educational opportunities compared to men, and it was composed in a region which valued English literary culture.

The anchorhold has a window or windows to the world, and the Ancrene Wisse has as its first bit of practical advice the following admonition: Help us improve this article! The profession of these anchoresses or recluses, who later became nuns, was to lead a pious Christian life, following the rule of charity, as laid down by St. The Early English Text Society is well on its way toward offering reliable texts of all manuscripts of the Rule, along with critical apparatus.


In this wilderness are many evil beasts: I am silent on anything further. The general contours of this account have found favour in modern textbook assessments of the text.


Ancrene Wisse is often associated with the Katherine Groupa collection of devotional works also written near Herefordshire. There was a well-known abbey at Tarente, in Dorsetshire, near the present village of Tarrant Crawford south-east of Blandford Forum.

There is, says the author, a chivalrous sense of love to Christ’s wooing of the soul. But the author does conjure one image to complement his strong words on “touching of hands” above.

Ancrene Wisse – Articles – House of Hermits – Hermitary

He seems, moreover, from the practical, moral aim of the work, to have been kindly and devout. God knows, I would much prefer to see you all, my dear sisters, dearest of women to me, hang on a gibbet so as rriwle avoid sin, than see one of you give a single kiss to any man on earth in the way I mean. The status of the anchoress as both professed religious but also physically isolated from the resources of a community highlight the potential difficulties of the anchoress.

Retrieved from ” https: In other projects Wikiquote. Read from this book daily, when you are at leisure, less or more. Any text you add should be original, not copied from other sources.

Discover some of the most interesting and trending topics of See also Anchoritic Spiritualityriale Anne Savage and Nicholas Watson,who follow Dobson’s account of the origins of the text.

Also the language has moved on.

We welcome anccrene improvements to any of our articles. Like Aelred, our author knows of pregnancies, gossip, fraud, of maid-servants who betray or tempt the virtue of their mistresses. With its richly figurative language, rhetorically crafted sentences, and carefully logical divisions and subdivisions, it achieved linguistic effects that were remarkable for the English language of ancrsne time.


There is an excellent elaboration on the last — “airs and graces”– and the Ancrene Wisse offers a thorough treatment of each category, concluding with an enumeration of consolations and remedies.

Ancrene Riwle |

Here, for example, it treats of the sin of lethargy or inertia. A ncrene Wisse or Aancrene Riwle is a ancreene English guide for anchoresses composed by an Augustinian canon for three anchorite sisters. The work consists of eight parts. In the early twentieth century, it was thought that this might be Kilburn Priory near the medieval City of Londonand riwlw were made to date the work to the early twelfth century and to identify the author as a Godwyn, who led the house until The author, a chaplain, may according to some theories have been an Augustinian priest of Wigmore Abbey in north-west Herefordshire.

Trust not the intentions of men, he warns, be they priests, bishops, or friars, citing the stories of Dinah and Bathsheba, and quoting Augustine, Bernard, and a story of St. Ancrene Riwle is a sophisticated work of great charm and accomplished style, widely considered to be the greatest Early Middle English prose work.

Tarrant Abbey was suppressed by Henry VIII in and ancerne traces of the buildings had disappeared long beforewhen Dugdale published the second volume of his Monasticon. Cotton MS Titus D.