“He now returned to the place …in which he could get away from the ubiquitous harassment of the crowd.” (From the Medieval Life of St Robert of Knaresborough)
In the twelfth century Robert built a cave and a chapel in a secluded place on the banks of the River Nidd near Knaresborough, and lived there for thirty years.
Many came to Robert to benefit from his wisdom and to ask his prayer. After his death he was initially buried there and for many years this secluded place was a place of pilgrimage. Little of it now remains except the overgrown foundations and a small cave.
Visiting I understood why Robert had chosen this secluded river bank, away from the ‘harassment of the crowd.’ It is still a place of quiet seclusion. Each of us at times, need physical, spiritual or mental times of seclusion, places of rest. Some places will be places we physically visit, others we will visit in our minds.
A previous visitor had placed a small posy of fresh flowers in a niche near the saint’s cave. Even for the short time I visited I felt this was a place of wisdom, a gateway to heaven. Here was a place to return to in memory, prayer or imagination.
I visited on the Feast of the Angels – Michaelmass. As the sun glistened on the slow running river, and played on the dense greenery I sensed angels are protecting this special place.
Wisdom hath builded her house, she hath hewn out her seven pillars. Proverbs 9.1