Charterhouse

the-Masters-court-the-Charterhouse-1-e1379949827994-1024x435In 1348/9 Sir Walter de Manney bought 13 acres of ground from Barts and gave it to the City as a burial ground for victims of the Black Death. A small chapel Manney errected on the site of Charterhouse Square. In 1370 Manney found a Carthusian monastery on the site with a Prior and 24 monks The monks lived in “cells”; a two storey house with its own garden. The monks lived alone and ate alone except on Sundays and feast days.They had no personal possessions and were not allowed meat. They could talk to each others on Sunday when taking a 3 hour walk. This was later stopped owing to distractions of Bartholomew Fair. Manney died in 1372 and was buried here, (tomb in garden), and Edward 111 attended funeral.

Sir Thomas More lived here for 3 years.

Charterhouses’ importance was such that Thomas Cromwell came in person to dicuss the Act of Supremacy. However Prior John Houghton and two other monks were hung drawn and quartered for refusing to accept the King as Supreme Head of the Church. Houghton’s head was put on London Bridge and one of Houghton’s arms was pinned up over gate. 3 more were later hanged. 20 signed the Oath of Supremecy and a further 10 who refused were sent to Newgate and chained upright until 9 starved and the survivor executed at Tyburn 3 years later after time in the Tower.

The new prior surrendered the monastery to the King and it was acquired by Sir Edward North who constructed a fine Tudor house. It was sold to the Duke of Northumberland, who planned to make it a town house for his son Guildford Dudley and his wife lady Jane Grey, but it went back to North on his execution. Queen Elizabeth stayed here three times. The first time was before her entry to the City and the second ruined North financially and he sold to the 4th Duke of Norfolk. He renamed it Howard House but his plans to marry Mary Queen of Scotsand and incriminating letters later found here led to the Tower, house arrest and later execution. The house stayed in the Howard family.

James 1 on arrival in London stayed here for 4 days and created 133 new knights in the Great Chamber. In 1611 it was bought from Howard’s son by Sir Thomas Sutton “the richest commoner in England” for £13,000 as a school for 44 poor boys and a hospital for 80 poor gentlemen. Sutton was a rich money lender and Master of the Ordanance in the Northern Parts. He married a Dudley and had a business in Fleet Street where he had a chest of gold coins. Buried in Greyfriars he was reburied here in December 1614.He was apportioned arms after his death and you see Talbot greyhounds, now extinct, sculptured around the property. Shrewdly Sutton in his will put the King, his consort and the heir apparent as executors in perpetuity.

The school Charterhouse stayed here until 1872 when it moved to Godalming in Surrey. Famous boys include John Wesley, Roger Williams, Lord Ellenborough, Robert Baden-Powell, Sir Henry Havelock, Lord Liverpool Charles Manner-Sutton and Wiliam Makepeace Thackery. In 1875 part of the building was sold to the Merchant Taylor’s School but they moved to Hertfordshire in 1933.

In 1941 extensive damage was done in an air raid but restored by Seeley and Paget, it opened it’s doors again in 1951. 4 acres was sold back to St Bartholomew’s Medical school. Extensive gardens include mulberry trees whose first fruit is annually presented to the Lord Mayor

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