Loretta 2021

Lady Loretta de Braoze lived an enclosed life as an anchoress at St Stephen’s Hackington (now known as St Stephen’s Canterbury.) for over 40 years in the 13th century. She was enclosed in 1221 and died still in enclosure on 4th March 1266.  Despite her physical enclosure she had an important ministry which included welcoming Franciscans to England and on at least one occasion advising the King. You can learn more about her and the anchorite way of life from the events, recordings and documents below.


Annual Commemoration of the Anniversary of the Death of Lady Loretta de Braose, 4th March 1266

Saturday 5th March 2022 at 11.00am GMT

This year we will be celebrating the life and death of Lady Loretta de Braose with a talk by Dr Cate Gunn on the Ancrene Wisse, a guide to the anchorite life written during the period of Loretta’s enclosure, and other  written works relatingto anchorites. The lecture will be followed by midday prayers led by the Canterbury Gregorian Society. 

This will take place at St Stephen’s Canterbury, where all are welcome, subject to the Covid guidance then in place. It will also be live streamed on Youtube.


Commemoration of Enclosure

We marked the 800th Anniversary of the Enclosure of Lady Loretta de Braoze as an anchoress at St Stephen’s Hackington (now known as St Stephen’s Canterbury.) in 2021 with a festival weekend which included an all-day Symposium looking at what medieval spirituality has to teach the modern world, very different in some ways but facing some similar challenges.  The talks from the symposium and closing vespers are available on YouTube, as are the special festival services held the next day.

The Anchorite Tradition, then and now
Dr Hilary Pearson

The Hermit Tradition, then and now
Ms Sara Maitland

The Franciscan Tradition, then and now
Dr Tom Herbst

The Benedictine Tradition, then and now
Br Thomas Quartier OSB

Monasticism, then and now
Rev. Kevin Maddy

Latin Vespers for Lady Loretta
Sung by Canterbury Gregorian Music Society

Sung Eucharist

Setting: Missa Orbis Factor – Plainsong
Hymns: 391, 449 (t. ‘From strength to strength’), 339, 308, 52
Voluntary: Ecce tempus idoneum – Tallis

Choral Evensong

Responses: Ayleward
Psalm 119 vv. 73–80
Canticles: Brewer in D
Anthem: Jesu, the very thought of thee – Bairstow
Hymns: 444, 459, 252
Voluntary: Fantasia on Ein’ feste burg – Scheidt

Annual Commemoration of the Anniversary of the Death of Lady Loretta de Braose,  4th March 1266

2021: Annora De Braose: The Recluse Of Iffley

Talk by Dr Hilary Pearson D Phil followed by Compline and prayers near the grave of Lady Lorett

Annora was Loretta’s  sister  and also an anchoress  – in Iffley, Oxfordshire. Dr Pearson is a resident of Iffley and on the PCC of St Mary the Virgin, Iffley parish church.  After a career as an intellectual property lawyer she obtained a doctorate in medieval history from the University of Oxford. One of her particular areas of interest is medieval religious women and their spirituality.

2019: An introduction to Lady Loretta

A talk given by Rev Dr Julie Hopkins on the anniversary of Loretta’s death in 2019


The Lady Loretta and her sister

An older and more romantic account of Lady Loretta’s life, with some information on her sister Annora, who was also an anchoress, at Iffley near Oxford.  This comes from an unpublished manuscript by Rev H E B Arnold, a priest in the early 20th century whose approach was somewhat less historically rigorous. 

You can read more about Annora here and more about the anchorite movement here.