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purpose of burial.
The pestilence continued to increase, and the mortality became so great that this ground soon became quite insufficient for the
of burial. At this time there was in London, attached to the suite of the King, il French knight who had seen much service in the foreign
He, Sir Walter de Manny by name, of Manny, in Cambrai, humanely and generously purchased some thirteen acres of adjacent land from the brethren of St. Bartholomew Spital, and dedicated it to the purpose of the interment of the dead, and Bishop Stratford duly consecrated it for that sacred use. Stowe relates that in this plot of ground no fewer than fifty thousand bodies were interred, and that he had seen and read an inscription to that effect, which was fixed to a stone cross then standing in the churchyard. The old chronicler further remarks that, in consideration of the great number of Christian people here buried, Sir Walter also caused a chapel to be built upon a part of the land, where for twenty-three years afterwards offerings were made. It is said, indeed, that in all over one hundred thousand persons were buried on this spot. They were not, of course, all citizens or well-to-do inhabitants of London, the great majority must have been wayfarers and poor persons, the most likely class at all times to succumb to the attack of such an epidemic. Disputes appear to have arisen between the clergy of the neighbouring churches and those who served this chapel, so in order to avoid such unseemly contention the Bishop directed that the bodies should be taken to the church of the particular parish in which each victim had died, and afterwards brought here for burial. We have now arrived at the year 1361, at which period the Bishop of London, Michael de Northburgh (who had succeeded Bishop Stratford, the founder of Pardon Chapel), died, and by his will bequeathed the sum of £2,000, equivalent to over £5,000 of our money, for the purpose of founding a monastery of the Carthusian Order upon this site. He also provided richly for its endowment, and presented in addition for the service of the church, a silver and enamelled vessel for the preservation of the Host ; this I suppose to have been a monstrance, or ostensorium, which was often made in the shape of a sun in glory, and was transparent, made of crystal or glass. He also gave a vessel for the holy water, and a silver bell, and presented all his books to the library of the monastery. Stowe, however, does not mention the Bishop's share in the foundation, but attributes the whole to the munificence of Sir Walter de Manny. The house by the King's leave was named the “ House of the Salutation of the Mother of God”. The knight appears to have been a sort of trustee of the Bishop's bequest, and at once proceeded to carry out his intentions by obtaining the royal license to found the convent; he also endowed it himself with the thirteen acres of land previously consecrated. King Edward III and King Richard II each endowed the monastery with great privileges, and granted the monks many immunities. Pennant says he originally intended to found a college for a Warden, Dean, and twelve secular priests, but changed his design in conformity with Bishop de Northburgh's will, and founded the priory for twenty-four Carthusian monks, the church being consecrated in 1371. A large amount of rebuilding would seem to have been undertaken by the monks in the early part of the sixteenth century, from 1505 to 1509. This foundation was, in fact, a double one, for the original rules of the Carthusian Order were that twelve monks and a prior should compose each convent, commemorative of Our Saviour and the twelve Apostles. This rule was, however, frequently departed from, as at Mount Grace, in Yorkshire, where there were twenty cells; and their latest foundation in England, at Sheen, in Surrey, in 1514, had accommodation for thirty monks.
I need say but little about the constitution of the Carthusian Order, for most of you will remember that it was founded in 1080 by St. Bruno, at Chartreux, near Grenoble, whence the name Chartreuse, or Charter-house, is corruptly derived.
The Carthusians were a very austere brotherhood, and their rule was a most severe one : which is one reason, perhaps, why they were very few in numbers, compared to other orders. The Order was not known in this country until 1176, when they established themselves at Witham, in Somersetshire ; at
long intervals other houses were founded, but they appear never to have possessed more than perhaps nineteen houses in England, and I believe none of these were for nuns. Their rule was rigidly severe, and they passed their lives in solitude and almost perpetual silence. Unlike other religious communities, they did not live in common, but each monk had his own separate cell, which cells were—at the Charterhouse-ranged round the four sides of the great cloister, and consisted of small detached houses, containing three rooms on the ground-floor and a room in the roof. To each house was assigned a small walled-in garden, along one side of which was a paved walk sheltered by a pent roof, where the inmate of the cell could take exercise in wet weather. The monks wore hair shirts, and never ate meat, and only fish when it was presented to them as alms; their ordinary food consisted of pulse, bran bread, and water. Notwithstanding the extreme harshness of their rigid rule, the Carthusians appear to have always enjoyed the respect of the people; they were regarded as thoroughly sincere and devout, and were never accused of the misdeeds too prevalent amongst the other monastic orders. The London Charterhouse in particular, it is recorded, bore the highest reputation at the time of the dissolution of the monasteries.
The ground plan of the Charterhouse differs considerably in arrangement from that of the earlier Priory of Chartreuse at Clermont
There the church consisted only of a choir and sanctuary, and occupied the middle of the width of a large parallelogram, with an outer court to the west, in which, immediately opposite the church and separated from it only by a cloister, was the Prior's court and lodging. The great cloister court, surrounded by the cells and gardens of the monks, extended immediately to the east of the church. Here, at Charterhouse, the arrangement is otherwise, as we shall see; it also differs from the arrangement of the other English houses of this Order, so far as they are known, because most of them have been either entirely destroyed, or have been so altered in rebuilding for secular uses, that the original