The London Charterhouse is a historic complex of buildings in Smithfield, London, dating back to the 14th century.
The Charterhouse began as (and takes its name from) a Carthusian priory, founded in 1371 and dissolved in 1537. Substantial fragments remain from this monastic period, but the site was largely rebuilt after 1545 as a large courtyard house.
The Charterhouse was further altered and extended after 1611, when it became an almshouse and school, endowed by Thomas Sutton. The almshouse (a home for gentlemen pensioners) still occupies the site today under the name The Charterhouse; the school moved out in 1872 to Godalming, Surrey .
In 1348,here laid a graveyard and plague pit for victims of the Black Death. A chapel and hermitage were constructed, renamed New Church Haw; but in 1371 this land was granted for the foundation of the London Charterhouse, a Carthusian monastery.
The twenty-five monks each had their own small building and garden. Thomas More came to the monastery for spiritual recuperation.
The monastery was closed in 1537, in the Dissolution of the Monasteries in the English Reformation. As it resisted dissolution the monastery was treated harshly: the Priorwas hanged, drawn and quartered at Tyburn and ten monks were taken to the nearby Newgate Prison; nine of these men starved to death and the tenth was executed three years later at Tower Hill. They constitute the group known as the Carthusian Martyrs.
For several years after the dissolution of the priory, members of the Bassano family of instrument makers were amongst the tenants of the former monks’ cells, whilst Henry VIII stored hunting equipment in the church. But, in 1545, the entire site was bought by Sir Edward (later Lord) North , who transformed the complex into a luxurious mansion house. North demolished the church and built the Great Hall and adjoining Great Chamber. In 1558, during North’s occupancy, Queen Elizabeth I used the house during the preparations for her coronation.
Following North’s death, the property was purchased by Thomas Howard, 4th Duke of Norfolk, who renamed it Howard House. In 1570, following his imprisonment in the for scheming to marry Mary, Queen of Scots, Norfolk was placed under house arrest at the Charterhouse. He occupied his time by embellishing the house, and built a long terrace in the gardenleading to a tennis court. In 1571, after being exposed for taking part in another plot he was executed the following year.[
The property passed to Norfolk’s son, Thomas Howard, 1st Earl of Suffolk. During his occupancy, James I held court there on his first entrance into London in 1603 .
In May 1611 it came into the hands of Thomas Sutton of Knaith, Lincolnshire. He acquired a fortune by the discovery of coal on two estates which he had leased near Newcastle upon Tyne, and later, upon moving to London, he carried on a commercial career. Before he died on 12 December of that year, he endowed a hospital on the site of the Charterhouse, calling it the Hospital of King James; and in his will he bequeathed money to maintain a chapel, hospital (almshouse) and school. The foundation was constituted to afford a home for eighty male pensioners and to educate forty boys.
Charterhouse continues to serve as an almshouse to 40 male pensioners, known as Brothers, who are in need of financial and companionship support. The complex is open for pre-booked guided tours; and the chapel can be viewed as part of the annual Open House London event.
If you decide to visit the mansion , you can marvel the newly opened museum and the interior of the House .
The price of the tour starts from 10 pounds , but it should it pre-booked here .
Beside the House you can visit the garden designed in an English country garden style featuring roses, herbaceous borders, ancient mulberry trees and a small pond.
Here is the location of the Charterhouse and you can combine it with the nearby Barbican center .