Free Time Machine

It’s round the corner from Barbican Centre in Charterhouse Square and started off as a priory next to a mass Black Death grave. Now it is often referred to as an Oasis in the City. And it is really. Spanning more than six centuries of sometimes tumultuous history, the Charterhouse next to the Barbican tube station and the Smithfield market and what will soon be a Crossrail hub, is a quiet abode for 45 male pensioners. Wind back to the 14th century, a Carthusian monastery was founded there following the plague in which thousands of people died, more than 50,000 of them burried in a pit. It is now a lovely garden in Charterhouse Square.
Reformation brought the end to monks’ peaceful life and in the 16th century it fell into the hands of aristocracy. Queen Elizabeth I stayed there before being crowned to sense out the sentiment. The place was bought by then richest man in England Sir Thomas Sutton, who gained wealth through coal trade, marrying well and renting money at 10 percent. He was also a philanthropist and donated the ex priory for it to become an almshouse for gentlemen pensioners, at the time soldiers and servants to the King. The community now consists of former teachers, musicians, writers and clergymen. Once a week, the brothers give tours of the Charterhouse. You will see pretty much everything but their flats including the Great Hall where breakfast, lunch, tea and supper are served daily. You have to pay for the tour and to be able to see most of the premises but its museum is free. The Chapel also hosts concerts. 

 

Author: Freelondon

I am a journalist and a big fan of London. I decided to combine the two to help people enjoy what this great city has to offer for free.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *