Charterhouse Square, close to the City of London is home to Sutton's Hospital in Charterhouse more commonly referred to as London Charterhouse. Originally a Carthusian monastery, it has been a private mansion, boy's school and is today an almshouse. The monastery was built in 1371 on land used as a plague pit following the Black Death epidemic of 1348
There was already a small chapel there erected by the Bishop of London who was shocked at the internment of plague victims buried on unsanctified ground. The chapel became the church for the monastery and parts of the medieval brickwork can be seen today behind the wooden cladding.
In 1535 the monks refused to accept Henry VIII's Act of Supremacy. The Prior was hanged, drawn and quartered with one of his severed arms pinned to the Gatehouse, with the others also executed. The monastery then became the property of the Crown. A number of members of the nobility lived here including Lord North who constructed a Tudor mansion on the land. Elizabeth I stayed at Charterhouse prior to entering the City of London when she became Queen in 1558.
In 1611 the mansion was bought by Thomas Sutton, the wealthiest commoner in England and this enabled the continued existence of this building to the present day. He used his wealth to set up a charitable foundation to educate boys and to care for elderly men. The school became the well-known public school, Charterhouse which moved to Godalming, Surrey in 1872. The almshouse continues today and provides a home for 40 pensioners. It has its own infirmary, laundry and of course, kitchens.
I took a tour around the Charterhouse last week which was given by one of the residents. Although elderly, his recall of historical events and dates was wonderful and he was a very entertaining guide.
Looking back at the photos I took, I can't recall the dates of the different parts of the building so just enjoy the visual tour and if you have time to spare, when visiting London, I would suggest booking a tour to see the Charterhouse, only one of three medieval buildings in London that are still in use. The other two are Westminster Abbey and the Tower of London.
The Great Hall, now used as a dining room by the present residents, has much of its interiors intact from the 1570s.