What exactly does it take for a person to become a hermit? According to the Cambridge Dictionary, a hermit is “a person who lives alone and apart from society, mainly for religious reasons.” But in reality, these people can be far more diverse, and for over 1,500 years, religious, eccentric, or extremely wealthy loners surprise us with their way of life.
One example is a monk named Simeon. While living in the monastery of Teleda, Syria, in c411 AD he caused many complaints to others. Simeon smells so bad that no one can approach him. An investigation reveals that he tied a rope around himself under his tunic and tightened it so tightly that his flesh rotted and his bed was full of worms.
At this stage, however, Simeon Stylis is just beginning his unusual life. When he died in 459 AD, he spent 47 years living on top of a pillar. Even if that number is exaggerated, he has spent at least 28 years there. During this period (however long) it has various pillars with increasing height – the last of which is 18 meters high. With a diameter of 1.2 meters in diameter, its last pillar supports a large platform of about 4 square meters at its top and originally has a canopy of palm branches to protect from sun and rain. In his high house, Simeon also uses a toilet – a clay pipe lowered to the ground.
In the 1840s, Charles Hamilton (son of the sixth Earl of Abercorn) established a garden in Paynshill, near Cobham in Surrey. Along with a cave and a Roman ruin, Paynshill has a two-room hut “made of logs and roots” (pictured is a modern version of the hut). All he needs now is a living hermit.
So Hamilton advertised the park to recruit candidates, emphasizing that the hermit should “live in the park hut for 7 years, where he would be provided with a Bible, glasses, a footbed, a pillowcase, an hourglass, drinking water and food for free. “
The hermit would still have to wear a “robe, never” cut his beard or nails, stray outside Mr. Hamilton’s park, or talk to the servant. ” He will be paid 700 guineas if he lasts 7 years, but will not receive anything if he breaks the rules or leaves earlier. In fact, the hermit, who was hired, “lived there for three weeks before being spotted secretly crawling out of the park to go to the local pub.”
In the Victorian era, a holy hermit can still be found in Lumberd, Wales. There, in July 1872, the curate Francis Kilvert (pictured) visited him, in a hut, where he found “misery, dirt, dust, dirt and misery” indescribable, almost unthinkable. And in this cabin lives the lonely Lambard, the Rev. John Price, a master of arts at Cambridge.
Meanwhile, dating Price a little later, Kilvert was struck by the way the “people” touched their hats to his reverence with great respect. They saw him as a very holy man, and if the Lonely Man had lived a thousand years ago, he would have been revered as a hermit and perhaps canonized as a saint.
Price is surprisingly selfless. According to writer Jeremy Bolwell, in order to receive any kind of congregation, Price had to resort to bribery, paying his listeners between 2 and 6 pence a head to come to his services, and of course – out of his own pocket.
Secular hermits can be even more unusual. Here, for example, Joseph Underhill lives in a pigsty. Literally – it is about 2 by 2 big and he has to crawl into it on his knees. But he doesn’t share it with pigs; this is his quarters. ”Underhill paid Mrs. Robbins six pence a week for the cramped room.
Underhill, in fact, is a great dandy years ago did not disappoint with love, and is not poor. In February 1890, two boys were accused of stealing £ 26 from him, and the theft newspaper stated that he had “given nearly £ 200 to be caught”. Local authorities had tried, but unsuccessfully, to remove him from the pigsty. After the theft, he was placed in a charity home for a while, but soon returned to his apartment.
Underhill was finally removed the following January, in a dying state. But even now, in terminal weakness, he tries to escape and return to the pigsty. People who clean it find the floor “covered in dirt, half a meter deep.” When the man finally died, apparently from bronchitis, he left behind 125 pounds (approximately 16,000 pounds of today’s money).