Rebels, Radicals and Rough Justice: Historic Clerkenwell

    11 Nov 2015
    Clock 50min      Length1mi
    4 ratings


    Pay wave

    Stop here, and look at the building on your left.

    That’s the Charterhouse. It was a Carthusian monastery, founded by Walter de Manny in the 1370s in the reign of Edward III. If you look at the chapel over the railings on your left, you can see a flat stone slab on the grass. It’s [description]

    Again, at the time of recording, they are currently doing some construction in this area, so it might not be visible.

    The slab is the tomb of de Manny. This was on the site of the original 1370s chapel, which was rebuilt in the 1400s. The rest of the monastic buildings date from the 14- and 1500s, but are heavily restored.

    The monks practiced a very strict regime. They lived in cells and were only allowed to talk on Sunday afternoons when they went for a walk outside. They had no possessions and ate no meat.

    Henry VIII dissolved all monasteries when he proclaimed himself head of the Church of England. Prior Houghton of Charterhouse was one of the most prominent Roman Catholic church leaders in the country. Henry VIII asked him to publicly accept him as head of the church. When he refused, he and 10 of his monks were hanged, drawn, and quartered 'pour encourager les autres'.

    Now turn round and walk back to the Fox and Anchor..

    The later history of the Charterhouse is complicated. Eventually the buildings were converted for the famous Charterhouse Public School. In the 1800s, Public Schools were almost as strict as the Carthusians. William Thackeray was a pupil and in his novels called it 'Slaughterhouse'. The school moved to Godalming in 1872. The old boys are still called 'Old Carthusians'.

    Today the buildings are used as Almshouses. The residents are known as 'Brothers', reflecting the monastic history. There are places for 40 men who must be over 60 and in need of financial support.

    Now carry on walking and turn left when you get to the Fox and Anchor.

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