The Morgan Library & Museum, 225 Madison Avenue, New York, NY 10016, (212) 685-0008.

The Carthusians or Charterhouse monks were founded as an order by Bruno of Cologne near Grenoble, France. Its first “rule,” was written about 1127 at the Grande Chartreuse, the motherhouse of the order. There were approximately 226 charter houses across Europe but only 10 in England and Scotland. The one in Scotland was at Perth.

Henry II introduced the order to England in 1181 as part of his atonement for the death of Thomas Becket. The first priory was Witham in Somerset. A second was founded by his illegitimate son William Longspe.

The order lived as hermits within their own living space. Although they gathered in church for services the choir stalls were petitioned to prevent them from seeing one another. Their food was prepared in a central kitchen and delivered to their cells but the right angle in the serving hatch prevented them from seeing one another even then. It was a life of labour, study and prayer.

Witham Priory, Somerset (1178)

Hinton Priory, Somerset (1222)

Beauvale Priory, Nottinghamshire (1343)

London Charterhouse (1370)

Hull Charterhouse, East Yorkshire (1377)

Coventy Charterhouse (1381)

Axholme Priory, Lincolnshire (1397)

Mountgrace Priory, North Yorkshire (1398)

Sheen Priory, Richmond, Surrey (1414)