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After two months, a plague hit the congregation, and all the parishioners died over the course of the next ten months. The anchorite blamed himself for not protecting his people.
At some point he died, but his spirit still lived in the cell. For at least three hundred Christmases, he waited for his chance to be released from his penance. When an alien invaded the church, the anchorite helped the Seventh Doctor and Ace defeat it. The Doctor released the anchorite's spirit. (PROSE: The Anchorite's Echo)