The History and Antiquities of London, Westminster, Southwark, and Parts Adjacent, vol. 4

Allen, Thomas

1827

The Charter-house, which is situated on the north side of the square to which it gives name, occupies the seat of an ancient monastery for Carthusian monks, called It was part of the estate of the hospital of St. John of Jerusalem. Sir Walter de Manny, of Hainault, of those gallant knights who served in the wars of Edward III., and of the that was honoured with the order of the garter, and Michael de Northburgh, bishop of London, built and endowed the priory for monks, in the year . Sir Walter appointed John Lustate, the prior, and, according to the custom of the times, ordered masses for the welfare of the king, of himself, his wife, the bishop of London, the soul of Alice de Hainault, that of Michael de Northburgh, and for the souls of those buried under and about the monastery.

Edward III. licensed the convent, and pope Urban VI. confirmed the same by a bull. Richard I. bestowed on the prior and convent of silver per annum.

The great epoch in the history of all religious establishments in this country, happened immediately before their fall. The denial of the Pope's supremacy by Henry VIII. was of the few rational acts of that violent monarch, and nothing could be more impolitic than the resistance of the religious orders. However, the king's punishments were ready for the rebellious, as we shall soon perceive; the prior Howghton and proctor Middlemore visited the Tower in consequence of their refusing to swear to the renunciation. After enduring confinement a short time, they submitted.

Many of the monks seem to have made the question a matter of conscience; and really appear to have earnestly debated it, without reflecting on whom they had to depend for mercy. Several communications by letters passed between the monks of the Chartreuse and those of Sion upon the subject, some of which are still preserved in the Museum. Father Fewterer, confessor general to the latter, had conformed, and most zealously endeavoured to persuade the monks of the former to follow his example: he gives the benediction of

the grace and peace of Jesus Christ;

and adds, that his brethren and himself sympathise with them in their troubles, and

praying you of charitie to charitably receyve th'aim, and applye yorselfs with charitie to charitably folowe that is charitably meant.

The temporizing confessor

founde by the worde and wylle of God, both in the Old and Newe Testament, great trewethes for or prince; and for the bishop of Rome nothing at all.

He mentions several authors who had written for the supremacy; and concludes,

so ye shall wel lerne that it graveth not of lawe and

scripture, nor yete of no antique counsaill received as a counsaill. Therfor dye not for the cause, salve yrselfs, and yr house, lyve longe, and lyve well to the honor of God, welthe by yor prayers, and edyfying by yor life to the people. Subjecte yorselfs to yor noble prince, gette his gracious favr by your dutie doing to his grace.

His advice was aided by others with whom the visitors had appointed a conference, to which the monks Fox and Chauncey were deputed at Sion. others, Broke and Burgoyne, wrote to the father confessor in , saying that his precepts had prevailed with them, and that they sincerely hoped the rest of the convent would follow their example;

gladde wold we be to heare yt thei wolde surrender their witts and consciences to you, yt they might come home, and, as bright lanterns, shew the light of religious constic'on among us.

Andrew Bord thought it necessary to justify himself to his brethren in a letter; from which we find, that he had just then discovered that his age was at variance with the rules of the order, and that the confined air of his cell was injurious to his health. Conscience then,

that doth make cowards of us all,

prompted him to leave them, and advise them to submit to the king.

As a prelude, most wise, learned, and discreet men, were placed within the convent, under the name of governors. On taking possession, they assembled the officers, monks, and servants, before them, and were graciously pleased to say that their most excellent prince had in his mercy and compassion pardoned all their heresies and treasons committed previous to that day, and that they were at liberty to purchase this emanation of pity under the great seal. At the same time they added, that death would follow new offences.

The keys of the convent were demanded from the proctor, and other officers, and they were informed that all receipts and payments must in future pass through the hands of the governors, for which they were accountable to the king only. Those men had besides an inquisitorial power, enabling them to examine into the opinions of the monks separately. At those private conferences, they were offered dispensations for breaking their vows and leaving their order, and inconsiderable stipends for a year or , till they could find employment, when they would be expected to preach the word of God, and strictly conform to his ordinances.

The unhappy wretched priests were condemned to the cloisters for some time, during which no person dared speak to them without a licence from the governors. Their books were taken from them, and their sermons critically examined.

The catastrophe of this drama was now drawing near. Those madmen who persevered in their resistance were without excuse; because they were not opposing a mild reformer, acting from the pure and wholesome conviction of ever-prevailing truth, but an

416

abandoned lawless tyrant; who sacrificed his wives with the same relentless savage brutality, that a barbarous driver would his animals.

The prior Houghton, though terrified into submission at , committed some new offence, for which he suffered death; and of his quarters was placed over the gate of the convent

In

1535

,

Harl. MS. 604.

were eighteen of the charter-house professes for the defendynge of the liberty of the church here hi England, through every house of London, all condemned for their right; of the which

seven

were bound to hurdells, and so drawn through the city of London unto the place of execution; of the which these are the names: John Longston, Robert Lawrence, Austen Webster, Humfry Middlemore, William Epman, Sebastian Newdigate, and William Horne;

There is a mistake in this name; for Horne is said to have been executed in 1541; indeed he is in Bedyll's list of the sick, in 1537.

and

three

of them, Humfry, William, and Sebastian,

were chained in an upright position days .previous to their execution. After those had suffered, they had their limbs cut off, their bowels burnt, and their bodies quartered, scalded, and then placed on different buildings in the city, and on the gate of the monastery. John Rochester and Thomas Walworthe were hang on a gibbet.

The remaining far more miserable men, in number, finished their days in prison, a prey to the most horrible tyranny, neglect, filth, and despair. A Mr. Bedyll, in a letter dated , encloses a list of the monks whose detestable bigotry had provoked their fiend-like opponents to such a pitch of inhumanity. He boasts that the traitors were almost all dispatched by the hand of God;

whereof co'sidering thair behavor, and the whole mater I am not sory, but wold that all such as love not the king's highness and his worldly honor wer in like case.

This advocate for a slow death then begins to speak of charity, and recommends the prior Trafford as of the best of men, who had done every thing to convince the monks, with success, that they ought to surrender the house, and rely upon the king's mercy and experienced grace. And yet even Bedyll was afraid for him; as he further says,

I beseech you, my good lord, that the said prior may be so intreated, by your help, that he be not sorry and repent that he lathe fered and followed your sore words, and my gentle exhortations.

On the dissolution, the Charter-house passed into various hands, The chapel was granted in reversion to William Cordall, of the clerks synging and servying in our church of St. John, called Clerkenwell, on . The next notice of this place occurs in a deed of sale from Roger lord North to the duke of Norfolk, dated , of queen Elizabeth, when Whitwellbeach, Pardon

417

chapel, and an orchard and wailed garden called the Brikes, in which the chapel stood, were sold for This property had been leased I Philip and Mary, by Edward lord North, to Thomas Parry, esq. for per annum. Queen Elizabeth leased it to Thomas Goodison, in the of her reign, and Whitwellbeach in the to Cotton; this grant was in the possession of William Harborne, , on the of which year he assigned the remainder of his term to John Clarke, receiver of the hospital.

Since Pardon churchyard and the neighbouring lands have been in the hands of the governors of the present hospital, it has been leased to various persons, amongst others to baron Sotherton, sir Edward Verney, knight marshal, &c. &c. John Granger had it in , for years, on condition that no buildings should be erected on the yard, or Whitwellbeach, during that period. was built before , but the old chapel, Mr. Malcolm says, was in being within memory.

Pardon churchyard and its adjacent neighbourhood was the site of the great burial place during the ravages of the plague in , persons are said to have been buried in this place, now covered with houses, and are inhabited by persons who are unconscious how many skeletons lie under their feet The superstition of the times soon suggested the propriety of erecting chapels, in which masses might be said for those souls which had departed

unhousel'd, unannointed, unanneal'd.

Pardon church was used for this purpose, situated directly facing the kitchen-garden of the , and behind the houses in . And Charter-house church-yard (now the square) had a chapel near the centre of the area, which the prior and brethren used for expiatory masses. The original building was of stone, and had not been removed before , when lord North conveyed it to Thomas Cotton, schoolmaster,

for the good desyre and affection he beareth towards the vertuous educacion and bringing up of yowthe in learning;

in this deed it is described as a brick building, roofed with tiles; a door at the west end, and another on the south side; separated within by a wainscoat partition into a choir and nave; with pews on the north and on the south side of the former, and pews and seats in the latter. This grant was only during pleasure, and rent free.

Pardon church-yard must have been purchased after the dissolution of religious houses by sir Edward North, as it certainly belonged to the order of St. John of Jerusalem, so lately as .

On the , the Chartreuse was purchased of Roger lord North, and his father's executors, by the duke of Norfolk, for ; and in the same year he issued letters of attorney to John Blenhayset, esq. and William Dunham, goldsmith, to take possession. To this nobleman is to be attributed the present state of the

418

buildings, with some exceptions. The wall in Charter-house-square bears many marks of antiquity, and was probably part of the monastery, though now so totally mutilated, and incorporated into the master's and other apartments, that their original form is quite lost. Upon passing the gate into the court, the ragged stones of the ruins are found to have been used in building a long gallery, whose windows are of the fashion used in the duke's days; in the midst is an arch (over which are Mr. Sutton's arms and the dale of ,) leading to another court formed on the east side of the hall. A small portico before the door has the royal arms on it; to the right a buttress and large windows with lancet-shaped mullions; over them small arched windows, and above the door with divisions. At the south end a very large projecting window divided into parts, and over it a small . The roof is slated, and supports a small cupola. The north and south sides of the area are of brick, erected about the middle of the last century. small passages lead to courts on either side; that on the south contains the entrance to the chapel, and much of the walls are of ancient stone. The north court seems to have been erected, or altered about the same time. Near it are the kitchen and the bake-house; the former contains enormous chimney-places, and the doors and windows have all pointed arches. Facing the chapel is a passage to, the cloister, which is of brick, with projecting mullioned windows, and flat tops. A few small pointed doors were in the backwall, but they are now closed. From a terrace on the cloister the patched ancient walls and buttresses of the original court-room may be seen. I have now mentioned all the external marks which seem to fix the above buildings to the times previous to Mr. Sutton's purchase. It is impossible to trace them from the sites of the various monastic buildings. It will be found from the description of the interior, that the duke of Norfolk had expended large sums in adorning his house, which his inordinate ambition prevented him from enjoying. Whether he had any view towards his alliance with Mary queen of Scots, in thus decorating it, I know not, but be that as it may,

when Mary once perceived the artifices of Elizabeth to detain her in prison, she thought herself warranted to make attempts of every kind to procure herself liberty. A multitude of conspiracies were formed for her, to some of which she consented, and particularly to that for marrying the duke of Norfolk against the will of queen Elizabeth, though Bothwell was still alive; it cost that duke his life for pursuing his chimerical project with too much zeal.

He was committed to the Tower in , and in the following year was permitted to reside at the Chartreuse, guarded by sir Henry Nevil, but, recurring to this unhappy pursuit, he was again taken into custody, and brought to trial, in consequence of which he lost his head on the scaffold. The estates of this nobleman having thus fallen to the crown,

419

queen Elizabeth shewed much magnanimity in restoring them to the family, who were caressed by James I. for the sufferings they had endured for his mother queen Mary. The days of his residence in London was with the Howards at the Chartreuse. Lord Thomas Howard, the duke's son, was created earl of Suffolk by the king, lord chamberlain of his household, lord treasurer of England, and knight of the most noble order of the garter.

On the , in the year of king James I. Thomas earl of Suffolk, Theophilus lord Howard, Thomas earl of Arundel, and William lord Howard, conveyed the Charter-house to Thomas Sutton, esq. citizen, and girdler, for the sum of Mr. Button, who was of a good family in Lincolnshire, commanded of the batteries at the siege of Edinburgh in ; but this was of the least of his services to the country, although it procured him a pension of a year from. queen Elizabeth. When the invasion of England was threatened by the Spanish armada, Mr. Sutton knew that the queen had no fleet capable of opposing it; he also knew that the Spanish fleet could not but set sail, but through the means of aid from the bank of Genoa, he, therefore, purchased all the bills he could, in every commercial town of Europe, and discounting them at that bank, drained it so much of its specie, that it was months before it could give the necessary assistance to Spain, and, by this time, England was prepared for the contest. He afterwards commanded a barge, that bore his name and contributed to the destruction of that very armada, the invasion by which he had so happily averted months before. Mr. Sutton now commenced merchant, and acquired a splendid fortune, which he devoted to works of charity, and among the most striking, was the foundation of the Charter-house, at an expense of , independent of an endowment of per annum. Mr. Sutton intended to preside as master of the hospital, but he died on the , months after he had obtained the charter for its incorporation, at the age of years. The benevolent intentions of the founder were followed by the governors, who, in , made an order, that no should be admitted into the hospital, but only

such poor persons as can bring good testimony of their good behaviour,

and

no children whose parents have any estate in lands to leave unto them, but only the children of poor men that want means to bring them up.

The hospital was endangered during the civil wars; but as soon as Cromwell gained the ascendancy, he was elected governor, and attended several of the meetings; and, since that period, no event has occurred to injure this extensive charity. The number of scholars educated in the hospital is , of whom are on the foundation, and students at the universities, with an allowance of l; per annum for years. Boys who give no promise of getting a living by their education, are put out apprentices, and have each a sum of on leaving the school.

420

 

pensioners are maintained on the endowment, who live in handsome apartments, and have all the necessaries of life provided for them; in order to enable them to clothe themselves, they have an allowance of . a year, and a gown. The hospital is managed by a master and governors.

The Charter-house, though a venerable pile, has few vestiges of the ancient conventual building.

The entrance is through a venerable pointed arch on the north side of Charter-house square. It consists of several courts, some of which exhibit the remains of the monastic buildings to great advantage. The principal object is

 
 
Footnotes:

[] Malcolm.

[] Trafford had a pension of 20l. only.

[] Lond. Red. i. 430.

[] Acta Regia, fol. 1733, p. 457.

This object is in collection Subject Temporal Permanent URL
ID:
g158bt43n
To Cite:
DCA Citation Guide    EndNote
Usage:
Detailed Rights
View all images in this book
 Title Page
 Dedication
CHAPTER I: Site, local divisions, and government of the City of Westminster; history of the Abbey; Coronation Ceremonies; and lists of the Abbots and Deans
CHAPTER II: Westminster Abbey, and Description of the Tombs and Monuments
CHAPTER III: History and Topography of St. Margaret's Parish
CHAPTER IV: History and Topography of St. John's Parish, Westminster
CHAPTER V: History and Topography of the parish of St. Martin's in the Fields, Westminster
CHAPTER VI: History and Topogrpahy of the parish of St. James, Westminster
CHAPTER VII: History and Topography of the Parish of St. Anne, Westminster
CHAPTER VIII: History and Topography of the parish of St. Paul, Covent Garden
CHAPTER IX: History and Topography of the Parish of St. Mary-le-strand
CHAPTER X: History and Topogrpahy of the parish of St. Clement Danes
CHAPTER XI: History and Topography of the parish of st. George, Hanover Square
CHAPTER XII: History and Topography of the Precinct of the Savoy
CHAPTER XIII: History and Topography of the Inns of Court
CHAPTER XIV: History and Topography of the Precincts of the Charter-house and Ely Place, and the Liberty of the Rolls
 CHAPTER XV: Historical Notices of the Borough of Southwark
CHAPTER XVI: History and Topography of the Parish of St. Olave, Southwark
CHAPTER XVII: History and Topography of the parish of St. John, Southwark
CHAPTER XVIII: History and Topography of the parish of St. Thomas, Southwark
CHAPTER XIX: History and Topogrpahy of the parish of St. George's, Southwark
CHAPTER XX: History and Topography of St. Saviour's Parish
CHAPTER XXI: History and Topography of the parist of Christ-church in the County of Surrey
 CHAPTER XXII: A List of the Principal Books, &c that have been published in Illustration of the Antiquities, History, Topography, and other subjects treated of in this Work
 Addenda et Corrigienda
 Postscript