“The hermit is never to leave the place, or hold conversation with anyone for seven years during which he is neither to wash himself or cleanse himself in any way whatever, but is to let his hair and nails both on hands and feet, grow as long as nature will permit them.” Not to be confused with your personal care routine during lockdown, the above quotation comes from classical archaeologist Sir William Gell’s book A Tour in the Lakes Made in 1797, in which he outlines one of the most curious professions in history—that of the ornamental hermit. This story is from Kinfolk Issue Forty-One Buy Now Related Stories Arts & Culture Issue 46 Object Matters An unperfumed history of the scented candle. Arts & Culture Issue 45 Object Matters A curious history of novelty objects. Arts & Culture Issue 43 Object Matters A fuzzy history of the carpet. Arts & Culture Issue 42 Object Matters A modest history of the codpiece. Arts & Culture Issue 38 Object Matters A macabre history of memento mori. Arts & Culture Issue 47 Alice Sheppard On dance as a channel to commune with the body—even when it hurts.