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This is it! I've given up work -retired from the rat race and am about to start on a 10 year adventure, doing all those things I've been meaning to do but never had the time to do them. I've offloaded my responsibilities and it is now my time. So follow my adventures and see whether I actually manage anything!



Sunday, 7 February 2016

Charterhouse



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

In 2013, during excavations for London's Crossrail project a number of human skeletons were found at the edge of Charterhouse Square confirming that this area between the lands of the Abbey of Westminster and those of St John of Jerusalem (known as No Man's Land) had indeed been used as a plague pit.

You enter the Charterhouse through this15th cent wooden gate. The monastery was one of 9 Carthusian houses built in England. It housed  a prior and 24 monks who lived in two storey houses around the cloister.










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.






Thomas Sutton's tomb in the chapel.










The talbot, part of Sutton's coat of arms is much in evidence in the building.










Part of the Tudor mansion.










The Great Hall, now used as a dining room by the present residents, has much of its interiors intact from the 1570s.









17th cent graffiti









The old merges with the new.







22 comments:

  1. What a beautiful historical building. The chapel and the Sutton's tomb are pretty. It was a lovely tour and a great collection of images. Enjoy your new week ahead!

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  2. What a great job you've done of showing this historic place!

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  3. It's impressive in size too. I wonder how the workers feel about skeletons from the plague pit. While logic tells you nothing would survive, still.....

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  4. How interesting to tour a building so rich in history!

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  5. It still blows my mind away to read dates like '1371'. Enjoyed your historic tour.

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  6. In photo 28, amazing they didn't try a little harder for the new to blend in with the old. Otherwise, the place is amazing. The history...wow

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  7. I am continually amazed at the history you show me in London. What a gift you are! :-)

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  8. Great photos and very interesting history. It is really interesting that the buildings have stood for such a length of time. Thanks for sharing.

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  9. Well -- we saw the other two medieval buildings but didn't know about this one. So why can't I come back to London? So much to see again and/or for the first time. Fascinating history here. I scanned quickly through to see if an almshouse was still what I thought it was; kind of surprised to learn the term still exists today. But it sounds as if the people who live there (based on your guide) are proud of their home and its history. And that's great! (Over on this side of the pond we don't have almshouses, they'd probably just be living on the street. We need help!)

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  10. Oh, I do agree with Mick -- great photos and so much fascinating history!! I love it!! Would love to visit there!! Your post is the next best thing!! Thank you so much for sharing!! Enjoy your new week!!

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  11. Wow! What a beautiful place and gorgeous photos ~ You could turn all these photos you have done into a wonderful guide book!

    Wishing you a Happy Week ^_^

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  12. I will have to put it on my list for my next visit to London. So much history there. I remember reading about the discovery of the plague victims a couple years ago.

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  13. These virtual tours are great! You can actually bring out a book with all these posts.

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  14. So nice to watch and read the post.

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  15. Beautiful place with a violent history. Love the shot of the Great Hall.

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  16. Fascinating history to that place. How often do they give the tours?

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  17. Another if London's little gems....

    Mollyxxx

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  18. Greetings from Malaysia! Thank you for a very informative tour of the Charterhouse Square and its surrounding places. Just to let you know that I am your newest follower.

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  19. Superb piece of history, I have heard of Chaterhouse but never knew any more about it. Must put it on my list of places to visit.

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  20. How interesting, poor workers when they found the skeletons ! What a terrible disease it had been !

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