Wanted: Hairy hermit for Tatton flower show cave

COMPLETE silence, a ban on bathing and a love of solitude are all part of the job description for a unique position that has become available at Tatton Park – after remaining vacant for the last 150 years.

Head gardener Sam Youd is appealing for an individual showing promise as a modern-day hermit to take residence in his Hermit’s Grotto garden, which will be on display at the RHS Show Tatton Park this month.

Sam’s grotto was inspired by 19th-century romanticism when many jilted lovers turned their back on society to reflect and philosophise in solitude, while elsewhere grand residences embraced the trend to hire a hermit to patrol the grounds and delight house guests.

“It will take a certain type of person to do justice to the hermits of the 18th and 19th century,” said Mr Youd. “The Hermit’s Grotto is pretty grotesque, but that reflects the reality of a hermit’s environment.

“I was particularly inspired by John Harris, the famous Cheshire hermit who turned his back on a large inheritance to live in a cave near Carden, in Chester, when his sweetheart’s family forbade their marriage.

“Anyone with half the strength of character that John had will be welcome in the garden and I look forward to meeting potential hermits.”

The successful candidate must take a vow of silence and be able to live alongside a skull, to encourage human reflection.

Kris Hulewicz, show manager for Tatton, said: “When Sam told me he was in need of a hermit, I thought he was having me on, but when I saw the design it became clear that it wouldn’t be complete without the man himself.

“A Hermit’s living space is an interesting environment to explore at an RHS show so I look forward to the reactions of judges and visitors.”

THE RHS Show Tatton Park runs from July 22-26.

Hermit: The person specifications ESSENTIAL to the hardcore hermit:

An unkempt natural appearance;

Love of solitude;

Vow of silence;

Facial hair (male or female);

Overgrown toenails.

The successful hermit will be asked to reside on the grotto for 12 hours on preview day at the RHS Show Tatton Park on July 21. He or she will be rewarded with a hermit’s feast and a photo of their day.

Applicants should email Sam, saying why they would make the perfect hermit at hermit@trustfido.co.uk or calling the hermit hotline on 0161 274 3311.