"What more than the wind's whim whether the faltering dome should prove sanctuary or sepulchre to a deranged old anchorite?"
Anachoreta (The Anchorite), by Teodor Axentowicz (1881)
Public Domain The Anchorite (1881), by Teodor Axentowicz - Credit: National Museum, Warsaw

An anchorite is a type of religious hermit, specifically referring to holy men who were willingly walled into small cells which were attached (‘anchored’) to a church or oratory. Free from the distractions of secular society, the anchorite could fully dedicate his life to prayer and asceticism.

Anchoress was the name given to women who practised this form of religious seclusion.