"and before dark he hails up at the doorway of an old anchorite"
The Anchorite (1881), by Teodor Axentowicz
Public DomainThe Anchorite (1881), by Teodor Axentowicz - Credit: Warsaw National Museum

An anchorite is a type of religious hermit, a person who withdraws from secular society in order to fully dedicate his life to prayer and asceticism.

Originally the term anchorite referred specifically to those holy men who allowed themselves to be walled into small cells which were attached (‘anchored’) to a church or oratory. Over time anchorite and hermit became synomonous for any person who put himself into religious seclusion away from society.

 

The Hermit Saints Triptych (c. 1490-99), by Hieronymus Bosch
Public DomainThe Hermit Saints Triptych (c. 1490-99), by Hieronymus Bosch - Credit: Web Gallery of Art