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 The Charterhouse - London UK

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PostSubject: The Charterhouse - London UK   The Charterhouse - London UK Icon_minitimeTue Sep 10, 2013 9:21 pm

Charterhouse Square. Ec1.

A Haunted Gem of Hidden London.

The ancient wall of weathered stone that encircles the Charterhouse – London’s only surviving Tudor town house - helps keep the contemporary world firmly at bay.

Beyond the massive oak gates of the gatehouse, visitors find themselves in a veritable time capsule, the origins of which stretch back to 1381 when Norman nobleman Sir Walter de Manny endowed a monastery for the strict order of the Carthusian monks. Here the holy brethren would offer prayers for the souls of the victims of the 1348 Black Death who still lie buried in the great square outside the gates.

The monastery flourished until the Reformation, when its monks refused to accept Henry as head of the church in England. Their Prior, John Houghton, was hanged, drawn and quartered, and one of his arms was even nailed onto the monastery gates in attempt to persuade the surviving monks. But, inspired by their leader’s bravery and ghostly nocturnal visits from long dead members of their order who urged them to remain true to their faith, the friars held strong and refused to curtail to the King’s demands.

One dark, wintry night, as they prayed in the chapel by dim candlelight, their came a flash of heavenly flame which caused every candle to flare up with a celestial brilliance. Encouraged in their battle with the State, the monks remained steadfast, even though sixteen more of their number were executed, before the monastery was finally dissolved.

The building was then granted to Lord North, who turned it into a splendid private residence. He entertained Elizabeth 1st here on two occasions, his hospitality being so lavish that he crippled himself financially and had to retire to the country. Thomas Howard, 4th Duke of Norfolk, then bought the house. His plans to marry Mary, Queen of Scots, resulted in his execution in 1572, and the house had several more owners before being purchased in 1611 by the immensely wealthy Sir Thomas Sutton. He converted he building into a hospital for aged men and a school for the education of the sons of the poor. In time the school became a distinguished public school; and moved to new premises in Godalming in 1867. Today some twenty or so elderly men live amid the ancient courts and forgotten cloister of this wonderful old mansion.

At night when the surrounding streets fall silent, a shadowy monk is said to drift aimlessly about the cobblestone courtyards, parts of which survive from the days of the monastery. He shares his weary vigils with the headless spectre of the Duke of Norfolk that comes striding down the main staircase, on which he was arrested, his head tucked neatly under his arm.
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