Wulfric of Haselbury, Priest and Anchorite

February 20 is the Feast of Saint Wulfric (Ulric, Ulfrick).
hermit tempted
“Wulfric was born at Compton Martin, 10 miles south of Bristol. After becoming a priest, he at first exercised his ministry at Deverill, near Warminster. At this stage, apparently, he was much addicted to hunting, with both hawks and hounds. A chance conversation with a beggar, however, converted him to more godly pursuits, and moved back to Compton Martin as parish priest.
In the year 1125 Wulfric came to St. Michael and All Angels Church in Haselbury Plucknett, Somerset. Wulfric wished to spend the rest of his life as an Anchorite, withdrawn from the world, living in a cell adjacent to the church. This cell stood on the cold northern side of the chancel where the vestry is now. Although he apparently failed to obtain episcopal permission for this move, he was supported by the Cluniac monks at Montacute. Sir William FitzWalter had a great respect for his saintly neighbor; he sent provisions to him and visited him from time to time. Wulfric numbered among his intimate friends Osbern, the village priest, William, a lay-brother of Forde Abbey; and Brichtric, who seems to have joined him as a disciple or attendant.
Soon people came to him for guidance and blessing. During the reigns of kings Henry I and Stephen, Wulfric exercised a powerful influence, not only in his own neighborhood, but also at court.
Henry I
Henry I was informed, correctly, that he would shortly die, while King Stephen was chastised for the evils of his government. Wulfric is said to have received the gifts of prophecy and healing and was involved in many miraculous happenings. He became known as a healer of body, mind and spirit for all those who sought him out.
According to Abbot John of Forde Abbey, Wulfric lived alone in these simple quarters for twenty-nine years, devoting much of his time to reading the Bible and praying. In keeping with the ideals of medieval spirituality, he adopted stern ascetic practices: he deprived himself of sleep, ate a frugal meatless diet, spent hours reciting the psalms sitting in a bath of cold water, and wore a hair shirt and heavy chain‐mail tunic.
One of the most influential anchorite priests of medieval England, he died in his cell on the 20th February 1154.”
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wulfric_of_Haselbury

“WULFUC (Ulric, Ulfrick) OF HASELBURY (Somerset) (c.1080-1154), priest and hermit. The near-contemporary Life by John, abbot of Ford, is accurate and informative. Wulfric was born at Compton Martin (Somerset), eight miles from Bristol. The lord of the manor was William Fitzwalter, also lord of Haselbury. Wulfric trained to be a priest and first exercised his ministry at Deverill, near Warminster. He was much addicted to hunting with hawks and dogs, but was converted to a more aus-tere life in the early 1120s, reputedly through a chance conversation with a beggar. He then ministered at Compton Martin as parish priest until 1125, when he settled as an anchorite at Haselbury Plucknett (twenty miles from Exeter) in a cell on the north side of the chancel of the parish church. He had no official episcopal authorization, but was supported by the neighbouring Cluniac monks of Montacute. His penitential regime included rigorous fasting with prostrations, the wearing of chain-mail and frequent immersion in cold water. His gift of prophecy and second sight further increased his reputation for holiness.
Visitors to his cell, in which he was permanently enclosed, included Kings Henry I and Stephen. In 1130 Henry and Queen Adela obtained from him the healing of the knight Drogo de Munci from paralysis. In 1133 Wulfric prophesied the death of the king which took place in 1135.
king stephen
Stephen visited him with his brother, Henry of Blois, bishop of Winchester, when Wulfric greeted him as king even before his disputed accession; but on another occasion, Wulfric reproached him for misgovernment.
Wulfric worked at copying and binding books and made other articles for the services of the church. He persevered in his chosen calling until death, when the monks of Montacute unsuccessfully claimed his body, as did the Cistercians, for whom he had great affection, but to whose Order (in spite of contrary claims) he never belonged. They did, however, provide his biographer.”
From David Hugh Farmer, The Oxford History of Saints, 3rd Ed, Oxford, Oxford University Press, 1992, p.505: http://users.tpg.com.au/shammell/wulfric.htm
st michaels
“In the year 1125 [The Parish Church of St. Michael and All Angels, Haselbury Plucknett, Somerset] became the home of Wulfric, a middle-¬‐aged priest from Compton Martin on the Mendips, who wished to spend the rest of his life as an Anchorite, – “withdrawn from the world” – living in a “Cell” adjacent to the church. This Cell stood on the cold northern side of the Chancel where today’s Vestry is found. In writing up Wulfric’s life story, Abbot John of Forde Abbey tells us how, for 29 years Wulfric lived alone in these simple quarters, devoting much of his time to reading the Bible and praying. In keeping with the ideals of medieval spirituality, he adopted stern ascetic practices: he deprived himself of sleep, ate a frugal meatless diet, spent hours reciting the psalms sitting in a bath of cold water, and wore a hair shirt and heavy chain-¬‐mail tunic.
His faithful prayer resulted in great holiness and wisdom and soon people high and low came to him for guidance and blessing. Visitors even included two Kings, Henry I and Stephen. Wulfric received the gifts of prophecy and healing and was involved in many miraculous happenings. This “Man of God” became a healer of body, mind and spirit for all those who sought him out. One of the most influential anchorite priests of medieval England, he died in his Cell on the 20th February 1154.”
http://www.haselburystm.org/history.html
hermits and anchorites
“The most celebrated anchorite of mediaeval England was, perhaps, Wulfric, enclosed for twenty-nine years at Haselbury, a village near Crewkerne. Wulfric was born at Compton, probably Compton Martin. He became priest of Deverill near Warminster, but at that time he was more addicted to sport than to spiritual exercises. Upon his conversion, he determined to devote himself entirely to a life of contemplation and rigorous asceticism at Haselbury—“burying himself in Christ in a cell adjoining the church”. Sir William FitzWalter had a great respect for his saintly neighbour; he sent provisions to him and visited him from time to time. Wulfric numbered among his intimate friends Osbern, the village priest ; William, a lay-brother of Ford Abbey ; and Brichtric, who seems to have joined him as a disciple or attendant. During the reigns of Henry I and Stephen, he exercised a powerful influence, not only in his own neighbourhood but also at the court. The story of Wulfric as prophet and wonder-worker is related elsewhere.
Wulfric died in 1154, and was buried in his cell by the Bishop of Bath who had visited him on his death-bed. The monks of Montacute sought to obtain possession of the saint’s body, but Osbern the priest interposed, and the remains were translated to the adjoining church. Miracles subsequently took place there, and the shrine became a place of pilgrimage. The north chapel is still known as “Wulfric’s aisle”.”
Extract from Rotha Mary Clay “The Hermits and Anchorites of England” (1914): http://www.historyfish.net/anchorites/clay_anchorites_seven.html

See Pauline Matarasso (Translator) “John Of Forde: The Life of Wulfric of Haselbury, Anchorite” (Cistercian Fathers Book 69, 2011)
life of wulfric
“John of Forde’s Life of Wulfric of Haselbury ‘priest, healer, seer, mystic, who lived in a cell abutting a village church from 1125 until his death in 1154 ‘is a classic of its kind. It portrays the daily life of the recluse, his austerities, the hours of prayer, his familiar companionship with his God, as well as his place in the community, a network of relationships stretching country-wide and friendships maintained over many years with both women and men. John, prior and later abbot of Forde, is the devoted guide opening up the treasures of his Wulfric to any who care to listen. The work, too little read or studied for want of a translation, is now made available not only to the medievalist but to anyone with an interest in the spiritual life.”
Part of the book is available to read on-line at: http://books.google.com.au/books?id=7nQZhQSIUIMC&pg=PA217&lpg=PA217&dq=saint+wulfric+of+haselbury&source=bl&ots=eaUEUWsPno&sig=n8EI_iLMKN-ApJn7REbAIph7hVQ&hl=en&sa=X&ei=0TUBU5XOMYa3iQei94CwDg&ved=0CD4Q6AEwBA#v=onepage&q=saint%20wulfric%20of%20haselbury&f=false
For a review, see https://scholarworks.iu.edu/dspace/bitstream/handle/2022/14425/12.04.24.html?sequence=1

See also:
http://aclerkofoxford.blogspot.com.au/2013/02/a-miracle-of-wulfric-of-haselbury.html
http://www.historyfish.net/anchorites/clay_anchorites_seven.html

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