But wherever a man or woman lives alone by himself, a hermit or an anchoress, external considerations matter little, so long as no scandal comes about.
Ancrene Riwle is Middle English for Anchoresses' Rule, and is a 13th-century text that was widely disseminated, and today is important in the literary study of Middle English. It is also known as Ancrene Wisse (Anchoresses' Knowledge).

The work is stated as being for the edification of three sisters of a noble family who retired forever to the solitude of a hermitage. It is partly based on earlier rules or collections of guidance by Saint Bernard of Clairvaux and Saint Ailred of Rievaulx.

It explains "outer rules" for outward or physical behaviour, and "inner rules" for inward or spiritual behaviour. The inner rule of love is of course far the most important. The Christian story is depicted by an allegory of knighthood and courtly love.


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