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Return to The Hermits and Anchorites of England
APPENDIX A in Rotha Mary Clay's The Hermits and Anchorites of England.

Confused?  See my article What are Anchorites?

Download Appendix A as PDF.  Appendix A. (80 KB)

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Clay, Rotha Mary., The Hermits and Anchorites of England. Methuen & Co., London. 1914. 





(according to the Use of Sarum)


(Manuale ad Usum Sarum (Surtees S. 63), 37*-43*.  The offices is “Servitium Includendorum,” from the York Manual.)


In what manner those who approach the order of anchorites ought to approach and to order themselves, that which follows according to the Use of Sarum will make clear.  No one ought to be enclosed without the advice of the Bishop ; but let him be taught and warned by the Bishop or some other presbyter that he must devoutly examine his own conscience, and in particular whether he desires holiness with a good or bad purpose, if he desires it to please God or to attain wealth or the praise of men ; lastly whether he have strength and endurance of mind enough to avail against the crafts of the evil enemy, and against manifold mischiefs of that sort.  When he shall have promised to bear such things for the
kingdom of God, and to set his hope on God alone, let the Bishop, or a presbyter by command of the Bishop, enclose him.  But let the one who is enclosed learn not to think highly of himself, as though he deserved to be set apart from the mass of mankind ; but let him rather believe that it is provided and appointed for his own weakness that he should be set far from the companionship of his neighbours, lest by more frequent sin he should both himself perish and do harm to those who dwell with him, and should thus fall into greater damnation.  Let him therefore think that he is convicted of his sins and committed to solitary confinement as to a prison, and that on account of his own weakness he is unworthy of the fellowship of mankind.  This rule must be observed with both sexes.



Let him who is to be enclosed take care that he be confessed of all his sins which he can remember, and that on the day before the day of his enclose he be refreshed only with bread and water.  On the night following that day, he is bound to watch devoutly in prayer with his light burning in a monastery near his cell.  On the morrow, after an exhortation to the people and to the one who is to be enclosed, the Bishop or priest must begin his Responsorium :
Let us amend our ways.  The choir goes on—For the 


amendment of our sins of ignorance, lest, taken suddenly by the day of death, we seek time for repentance, and find it not.  Hear us, O Lord, and have mercy, for we have sinned against thee.

Verse.  Help us, O Lord our Saviour, and for the glory of thy name deliver us, O Lord.  Hear us, O Lord.

After this the Bishop or Priest prostrating himself on the carpet before the altar shall with the clerks, begin these Psalms : vi, lxxxviiii, with Gloria Patri, xx with Gloria Patri, xxxii, xxxv, xxxviii, xli, xliii, lvi, cii, ciii, 1-5 (only), cxxx, cxxxi, cxliii.  Lord have mercy upon us.  Christ have mercy upon us.  Lord hyave mercy upon us.

Our Father, etc.  And lead us not, etc.  But deliver, etc. 

O Lord, my God, save thy servant (or thy handmaid) :
    Which putteth his trust in thee.
Let not the enemy prevail against him :
    Nor the son of wickedness draw nigh to hurt him.
Be unto him, O Lord, a strong tower :
    From the face of the enemy.
Send him help, O Lord, from they holy place :
    And strengthen him out of Sion.
O Lord, hear my prayer :
   And let my cry come unto thee.

The Lord be with you.  Let us pray.

Spare, O Lord, spare they servant N. whom thou has redeemed, O Christ, with thy blood, and be not angry with him for ever.  Who livest, etc.

Another prayer with Let us pray.

O God of boundless mercy and great goodness, forgive his sins and heel all his weakness of soul, that having received forgiveness of all his sins he may rejoice in thy goodness.  Through Christ, etc.

Let us pray.

Almighty and everlasting God, have mercy on they servant N. and of thy great goodness guide him in the way of eternal life, that by thy grace he may love those things which are pleasing to thee, and may go on from strength to strength.

Prevent us, O Lord, in all our doings with thy gracious favour, and further us with thy continual help, that all our work may be begun, and ended in thee.  Though our Lord, etc.

After this let the Bishop or Priest vest himself in a Chasuble and let any Mass he wills be at once begun ; so that this prayer following be said for the one to be enclosed, with a single Per Dominum, and a single Oremus.

O God, who doest cleanse the wicked and willest not the death of a sinner ; we humbly beseech thy majesty that in thy goodness thou wilt guard thy servant N. who trusteth in thy heavenly aid, that he may ever serve thee, and no trails may part him from thee.  Through our Lord, etc.

After the Gospel the one who is to be enclosed must offer his taper


which must always burn above the altar during the Mass.  And the one who is to be enclosed must stand before the altar step and read his profession in a loud voice : if he is a layman some servant must read it for him.  The profession must be of this sort :—

I, brother or sister N. offer and present myself to the goodness of God to serve in the order of an anchorite ; and according to the rule of that order I promise to remain hence forward in the service of God through the grace of God and the guidance of the church and to render canonical obedience to my spiritual fathers.

Then must the one who is to be enclosed make the sign of the cross on the deed of his profession with a pen, and placing it on his knees upon the altar, let him pray after the Bishop or Priest in this manner :—

Antiphon.  Confirm, O Lord, that which thou has wrought in us, from thy holy temple which is in Jerusalem.  Alleluia, Alleluia.  Let [God][sic] arise.

Afterwards let the Bishop or Priest say :—

Let us pray.

O God, who dost quicken thy servant who has turned from the vanity of the life of this world to the love of thy heavenly calling ; cleanse the thoughts of his heart, and pour upon him thy heavenly grace, that trusting in thee, and guarded by thy mighty power, he may fulfill that which by thy grace he has promised, and the work of this life well done, he may attain at last to that which thou hast vouchsafed to promise to those who trust in thee.  Through Christ, etc.

Then shall the Bishop or Priest bless the habit suitable to his profession with this prayer :—

We mark the sign of our Lord Jesus Christ on this garment that his profession may be kept, and that the Holy Spirit may rule in the heart and soul and in all the doings of him who receives it.  Through the same Christ our Lord.  Amen.

Then shall he sprinkle both the habit and him who receives it with holy water : and when he gives the habit let him say when it is being put on :—

May God put off from thee the old man with all his works, and may God clothe thee with the new man which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness.

And let all answer : Amen.

When he who is to be enclosed is clad in his habit, let him immediately prostrate himself before the altar step and let him remain thus prostrate in prayer until he be summoned by the Bishop or Priest to communion.  After that let the Bishop or Priest chant over him still lying prostrate this hymn :—

Veni, Creator Spiritus, etc.

Verse. Send out thy Spirit and they shall be made : and thou shalt renew the face of the earth.

The Lord be with you.  And with thy spirit.

 Let us pray.

O God, who willest not the death of a sinner, but rather that he should


repent and be cleansed ; we humbly beseech thy mercy for this thy servant who has forsaken the life of the world, that thou wouldst pour upon him the help of thy great goodness that, enrolled among thy chaste ones, he may so run the course of this present life that he may receive at thy hand the reward of an eternal inheritance.  Through Christ, etc.

Then shall the Bishop or Priest going to the altar finish the Mass for the one who is to be enclosed.

Secreta.  We beseech thee, O Lord, that by the power of these holy mysteries thou wilt cleanse us from all our faults, and wilt grant to thy servant N. forgiveness of all his sins.   Through our Lord, etc.

Postcommunio.  May the sacraments which we have received, O Lord, make us pure, and grant that thy servant N. may be free from every fault , so that he whose conscience by sin is accursed may rejoice in the fullness of pardon from on high.  Through our Lord.

When the Bishop or Priest shall have communicated, let him also communicate the one to be enclosed.  When Mass is finished let the aforesaid taper be handed to the one who is to be enclosed ; and when a procession has been formed, let the Bishop or Priest, vested in a chasuble, go before, then let him take by the hand the one to be enclosed carrying the taper, and let him lead him a goodly sort to his dwelling.  Let the clerks meanwhile go before, singing a Litany.  When they have reached the dwelling and the Litany is finished, the Bishop or priest shall leave the one to be enclosed outside the dwelling and shall enter the dwelling alone, beginning, with holy water, the Antiphon Purge me, or I saw water, as time permits.

Then let him hallow and bless the dwelling with the following prayers.

This prayer shall be said over the altar with Let us pray.

O Lord, holy and merciful Father, who has neither beginning of days nor end of years, whose greatness is bounded only by thy will ; O God whose majesty the heaven of heavens cannot contain ; we bless thee and humbly beseech thee that this altar may be such an one as that with Abel the forerunner in suffering, being slain by his brother, moistened and hallowed with fresh blood.  May this altar be to thee, O Lord, like that which Abraham our father, who was permitted to see thee, make ; on which the High Priest Melchisedech set forth the pattern of a prevailing sacrifice.  May this altar be to thee like that which Moses hallowed with seven days’ purification and sanctified it with a threefold blessing ; as though didst say unto him : Whosoever toucheth this altar shall be holy.  On this altar then may all wantonness be destroyed, and every lust be smitten down ; and there be offered, instead of turtledoves, the sacrifice of purity, and for young doves the sacrifice of innocence.  Through our Lord.

The Blessing on the house :—

Hearken, O Lord, to our prayers, and let the clear light of thy presence shine upon this house.  Let  full measure of thy blessing fall upon those who dwell therein by thy grace, that, dwelling in all sobriety in these temples made with hands, they may ever be temples of thy Spirit.  Through Christ our Lord.  Amen.


Another prayer with Let us pray.

Hear us, O Lord, Holy Father, eternal God, that if there be any thing against us or opposed to us in this house of thy servant N. it may be cast out by the power of thy divine majesty.  Through our Lord Jesus Christ, thy Son, who with thee liveth and reigneth, In the unity

Another with Let us pray.

Bless O Lord, this house and this place, that in it may dwell health, holiness, chastity, power, victory, devotion, humility, gentleness, meekness, fufilment of the law and obedience to God, Father, Son, and Hoy Ghost, and let a full measure of thy blessing rest upon this place and upon all who dwell therein with thee, that, dwelling in all sobriety in these temples made with hands, they may ever be temples of thy Spirit.  Through our Lord Jesus Christ thy Son, who with thee liveth and reigneth in the unity of the Holy Sprit One God.

After this, let the Bishop or Priest go forth and lead in the one who is to be enclosed bearing his light, beginning this Responsorium :—

The kingdom of the world.  The choir goes on—and all the glory of it have I despised for the love of my Lord Jesus Christ, whom I have seen, whom I have loved, on whom I have believed, whom I have chosen for myself.

Verse.  My heart has indited [sic] a good matter : I speak of my work for the King.  Whom I have seen.

When this has been sung with its verse, let the Bishop or Priest say :—

The Lord be with you and Let us pray.

We beseech thee, O Lord, Holy Father, almighty and everlasting God, that thou wilt vouchsafe to pour the spirit of blessing upon this thy servant that, endued with power from on high, he may be enabled both to gain thy glorious gifts and to set an example of good living to others.

Response. Amen.

Also another blessing over him.

May the Lord Jesus Christ be by thy side, to defend thee.  Amen.  May he be within thee, to refresh thee. Amen.  May he be about thee, to keep thee safe.  Amen.  May he be before thee, to lead thee forth.  Amen.  May he be above thee, to bless thee.  Amen.  Who with God the Father and the Holy Spirit liveth and reigneth, In the unity.

Another blessing.

May God the Father bless thee.  Amen.  May God the Son preserve thee.  Amen.  May he guard thy body.  Amen.  May he save thy soul.  Amen.  May he enlighten the body.  Amen.  May he direct thy mind.  Amen.  And lead thee forth to everlasting life.  Amen.  Who is threefold perfection liveth and reigneth one God for ever and ever.  Amen.

After this, let the Bishop or Priest go forth from the house, the recluse alone remaining within and keeping strict silence, while he is being firmly enclosed from without, and in the meanwhile let the Bishop or Priest begin an Antiphon after this fashion in a loud voice :—

We have received thy mercy, O God, in the midst of thy temple.

Psalms xlviii, cxvi, cxlvii, cl, with Gloria Patri.


Let the Antiphon be repeated.  We have received, O God.

When the Antiphon is finished, let the Bishop or Priest cause them all to pray for him, that Almighty God, for whose love he has left the world, and caused himself to be shut up in a most strait prison, may so guard him and strengthen him in that service, that after death he may be found fit to live with him to all eternity.

Our Father, etc.  And lead us not, etc.  But deliver, etc.

Show forth, O Lord, thy mercy towards us.

That our peace may be in thee.

The Lord be with you.  Let us pray.

We beseech thee, O Lord, to defend this thy servant, and through the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary and all the company of heaven, increase in him thy manifold gifts of grace, that being set free from the temptations of this world, he may have help in this life, and in the world to come everlasting joy.  Through Christ.

 Let us pray.

Almighty God, unto whom all hearts be open, all desires known, and from whom no secrets are hid, cleanse the thoughts of our hearts by the inspiration of thy Holy spirit, that we may perfectly love thee and worthily magnify thy holy name.  Though Christ our Lord.  Amen.

Let us pray.

Almighty and everlasting God, guide us, we beseech thee, in all our doing with thy most gracious favour, that in the name of thy beloved Son we may worthily serve thee in all good works.  Who with thee liveth and reigneth in the unity of the Holy Spirit one God for ever and ever.

Then let them all depart to enter into the Church, the Choir singing some Responsorium with its versicle concerning the Saint in whose name and honour the Church is founded, ending at the choir step by the Priest saying a verse and prayer on the same subject.  And if it be a Church or Saint Mary this Responsorium must be said :—

Happy art thou, O holy Maiden Mary, and most worthy of all praise.  Because from thee arose the sun of righteousness, Christ our God.  In Eastertide : Alleluia.

Verse.  Pray for the people ; mediate for the clergy ; intercede for womenkind who honour thee ; that all who join in thy service may feel thy comfort.  Because from thee arose, etc.

Verse.  Holy Mother of God, Mary ever Virgin.

Strengthen our weakness, we beseech thee, O merciful God, and grant that we who plead in the name of Mary the maiden Mother of God may by the aid of her prayers be freed from all our sins.  Through the same Christ our Lord.






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