Standard Article

Hilton, Walter (d. 1396)

  1. Ellen Condict

Published Online: 25 NOV 2011

DOI: 10.1002/9780470670606.wbecc0657

The Encyclopedia of Christian Civilization

How to Cite

Condict, E. 2011. Hilton, Walter (d. 1396). The Encyclopedia of Christian Civilization. .

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 25 NOV 2011


Walter Hilton was a late 14th century Augustinian canon who settled in his later years at the Priory of Thurgarton in Nottingham, England. Little is known of the life of Hilton, but it seems he was first a layman, trained as a canon lawyer, then a solitary recluse before joining the religious community under ecclesiastical rule. The obscurity of Hilton's personal life is a reflection of the major themes of his work; his humility and gentle self-effacement are products of the maturing of faith he calls his readers to, a process of recognizing the truth of the soul's condition and replacing its innate self-centeredness with an interior resting in the truth of Christ. Conveying his personal spiritual experience is not Hilton's intent. He goes so far as to assert that he did not practice the art of contemplation himself, though his writing makes evident that he had experience with the deep spiritual joy he describes.


  • late 14th century augustinian canon;
  • the scale (or ladder) of perfection, devotional classic;
  • the “mixed” life, desiring and contemplating jesus