Quench Gallery, Cliftonville Avenue, Margate CT9 2NU
Ruth Claxton | once solid now dissolved
As pandemic lockdowns lift, I repeatedly visit the vestiges of the cell of a mediaeval anchoress, which once adjoined St James church in Shere. The stone lintel and two small openings in the church wall are all that remains of the tiny room in which Christine Carpenter, the Anchoress of Shere, is thought to have been entombed for most of her adult life. The Anchorite tradition involved an individual, usually a woman, voluntarily forgoing village life to be enclosed in a chamber to pursue solitary, religious devotion. Walled in, the cell protected the anchoress from the sins of the world, shielding her from the mortal dangers of plague and pestilence as well as the social perils of moral temptation. Essay written by Kelly Large.