I found this story on Futility Closet here. The original source was Robert Conger Pell's Milledulcia, 1857.
"H. Hamilton, once the proprietor of Payne’s Hill, near Cobham, Surrey, advertised for a person who was willing to become a hermit in that beautiful retreat of his.
"The conditions were, that he was to continue in the hermitage seven years, where he should be provided with a Bible, optical glasses, a mat for his bed, a hassock for his pillow, an hour-glass for his timepiece, water for his beverage, food from the house, but never to exchange a syllable with the servant. He was to wear a camlet robe, never to cut his beard or nails, nor ever to stray beyond the limits of the grounds.
"If he lived there, under all these restrictions, till the end of the term, he was to receive seven hundred guineas. But on breach of any of them, or if he quitted the place any time previous to that term, the whole was to be forfeited. One person attempted it, but a three weeks’ trial cured him."
Advertisements like this were more common than you think. I know it was very popular (especially amongst the rich bourgeoisie who had new great estates that they wanted to make more 'legitimate') to have "features" on your property, like a hermit.