The Cistercian priory of Hampole is known for the links that it had to the English hermit and mystic writer Richard Rolle (d. 1349). Medieval manuscripts regularly refer to Rolle as a hermit ‘of Hampole’. But what exactly were the links between the nunnery and Rolle? A small number of manuscripts suggest that Rolle wrote for a nun or nuns of Hampole, although this evidence seems destined to remain ambiguous. On the other hand, in the late fourteenth century and into the fifteenth century, we find references to Hampole nunnery as a place both familiar with Rolle’s writings and, also, as a repository of his writings. By the fifteenth century, a growing textual culture can be identified at Hampole, one that can teach us not only about Rolle’s writings and their popularity but also about the book collections of nuns and the role of nunneries as promoters of cults and protectors of religious orthodoxy.


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