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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 has been estimated that the standard devotions would have taken the anchoresses four hours. Help us improve this article! Important linguistic and thematic features link it to the texts of the Katherine Group. Please note that our editors may make some formatting changes or correct spelling or grammatical errors, and may also contact you if any clarifications are needed. The historic county includes…. The adoption of an anchorite life was widespread all over medieval Europe, and was especially popular in England.

So ends the Ancrene Wissea pageant of practical and spiritual, always assuming that the anchoritic life is a superior grace but also an entirely rational one.

Ancrene Wisse

Learn More in these related Britannica articles: Two French versions, several Latin versions, and some adaptations of material taken from the Rule show the popularity of this much-read classic of Middle English prose. These chapters would not offer new information or counsel to the medieval anchorite, but does highlight the central role of the sacrament of penance in the psychology of the Church. The similar structure and content of the Ancrene Wisse to Aelred’s work suggests the latter as a clear model.


Often, dear sisters, you must pray less in order to read more. This chapter set out to make analogies between anchorites and birds. Parts 1 and 8 deal with what is called the “Outer Rule” relating to the anchoresses’ exterior lifewhile Parts 2—7 deal with the “Inner Rule” relating to the anchoresses’ interior life.

The general contours of this account have found favour in modern textbook assessments of the text. Thank you for your feedback.

The Ancrene Riwle

The general approach to these questions, particularly that of date, is being made through a study of the theological background of the work. The status of the anchoress as both professed religious but also physically isolated from the resources of a community riwl the potential difficulties of the anchoress.

English literature, the body of written works produced in the English language by inhabitants of the British Isles including Ireland from the 7th century to the present day. This section uses the five senses to illustrate the distractions and bad influences the anchorites must anticipate and why they must be avoided.

There are seventeen surviving medieval manuscripts containing all or part of Ancrene Wisse. Hence his warnings about the anchoress seeing or hearing or speaking to visitors, especially male.

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


Each anchoress had a ancren to look after her material needs. Home Religion Encyclopedias almanacs transcripts and maps Ancrene Riwle. In other projects Wikiquote.


Paulist Press,and Ancrene Wisse: There is, says the author, a chivalrous sense of love to Christ’s wooing of the soul. Reading is good prayer. Print this article Print all entries for this topic Cite this article. Herefordshireunitary authority and historic county that covers a roughly circular area in the Welsh borderland of west-central England.

Ancrene Wisse Middle English work. Manuscript Bodley 34 contains a set of texts that have become known as the “Katherine Group”: Inertia’s remedy is spiritual gladness and the consolation of glad hope, through reading, through holy thinking, or from people’s mouths. The fact that seventeen manuscripts irwle the text survive eleven of which in the original English, four in Latin and two in French illustrates its great popularity which certainly was also due to the expressiveness of the work, enlivened with graphic details of everyday life, brief allegories and exempla.

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Liverpool University Press: Books: Ancrene Riwle

There was a problem with rilwe submission. URL of this page: The Ancrene Wisse was partly retranslated from French back into English and reincorporated in the late 15th-century Treatise of Love. It cannot come from the Eastern Midlands because of the distinctive way it spells OE y and eo.