Old and New London: Volume 2. Originally published by Cassell, Petter & Galpin, London, 1878.
This free content was digitised by double rekeying. Public Domain.
The Plague of 1348—The Origin of the Charterhouse—Sir Thomas More there—Cromwell's Commissioners—Prior Houghton—The Departure of the Carthusians from London—A Visit from the Grave—Effect of the Dissolution on the Charterhouse Priory—The Charterhouse and the Howards—Thomas Sutton—Bishop Hall's Letter and its Effect—Sutton's Death—Baxter's Claim defeated—A Letter from Bacon—Settlement of the Charterhouse: its Constitution—Sutton's Will—His Detractors—Funeral Sermon.
In the year 1348 (Edward III.) a terrible pestilence devastated London. The dirt and crowding of the old mediæval cities made them at all times nurseries of infectious disease, and when a great epidemic did come it mowed down thousands. The plague of 1348 was so inappeasable that it is said grave-diggers could hardly be found to bury the dead, and many thousand bodies were carelessly thrown into mere pits dug in the open fields.
Ralph Stratford, Bishop of London, shocked at these unsanctified interments, in his zeal to amend the evil consecrated three acres of waste ground, called "No Man's Land," outside the walls, between the lands of the Abbey of Westminster and those of St. John of Jerusalem, at Clerkenwell. He there erected a small chapel, where masses were said for the repose of the dead, and named the place Pardon Churchyard. The plague still raging, Sir Walter de Manny, that brave knight whose deeds are so proudly and prominently blazoned in the pages of Froissart, purchased of the brethren of St. Bartholomew Spital a piece of ground contiguous to Pardon Churchyard, called the Spital Croft, which the good Bishop Stratford also consecrated. The two burial-grounds, afterwards united, were known as New Church Hawe.
Stow, in his "Survey," mentions a stone cross in this cemetery, recording the burial there during the pestilence of 50,000 persons. In 1361, Michael de Northburgh, Bishop Stratford's successor, died, bequeathing the sum of £2,000, for founding and building a Carthusian monastery at Pardon Churchyard, which he endowed with all his leases, rents, and tenements, in perpetuity. He also bequeathed a silver enamelled vessel for the Host and one for the holy water, a silver bell, and all his books of divinity. Sir Walter de Manny, in the year 1371, founded a Carthusian convent, which he called "The House of the Salutation of the Mother of God." This he endowed with the thirteen acres and one rod of land which Bishop Stratford had consecrated for burial, and, with the consent of the general of the order, John Lustote was nominated first prior. Sir Walter's charter of foundation was witnessed by the Earls of Pembroke, March, Sarum, and Hereford, by John de Barnes, Lord Mayor, and William de Walworth and Robert de Gayton, sheriffs.
The order of Carthusians, we may here remind our readers, was founded by Bruno, a priest in the church of St. Cunibert, at Cologne, and Canon of Rheims, in Champagne, in 1080 (William the Conqueror). Bruno, grieved at the sins of Cologne, withdrew with six disciples to the Chartreuse, a desert solitude among the mountains of Dauphine. A miracle hastened the retirement of Bruno. One of his friends, supposed to be of unblemished life, rose from his bier, and exclaimed, "I am arraigned at the bar of God's justice. My sentence is just now passed. I am condemned by the just judgment of God." Bruno died in 1101, and miracles soon after were effected by a spring that broke forth near his tomb.
"Not content," says "Carthusian," "with the rigorous rule of St. Benedict, the founder imposed upon the order precepts so severe as to be almost intolerable, and a discipline so harsh, that it was long before the female sex could be induced to subject themselves to such repugnant laws. One of their peculiarities was, that they did not live in cells, but each monk had a separate house, in which were two chambers, a closet, refectory, and garden. None went abroad but the prior and procurator, on the necessary affairs of the house. They were compelled to fast, at least one day in a week, on bread, water, and salt; they never ate flesh, at the peril of their lives, nor even fish, unless it was given them; they slept on a piece of cork, with a single blanket to cover them; they rose at midnight to sing their matins, and never spoke to one another except on festivals and chapter days. On holy days they are together at the common refectory, and were strictly charged to keep their eyes on the meat, their hands upon the table, their attention on the reader, and their hearts fixed upon God. Their laws professed to limit the quantity of land they should possess, in order to prevent the luxury and wealth so prevalent among the other orders. Their clothing consisted of two hair-cloths, two cowls, two pair of hose, and a cloak, all of the coarsest manufacture, contrived so as almost to disfigure their persons. Their rigorous laws seem to have prevented the increase of their order, for in the height of their prosperity they could not boast of more than 172 houses, of which five only were of nuns."
The London Charterhouse was the fourth house of the order founded in England, the first being at Witham, in Somersetshire, where Hugh, the holy Bishop of Lincoln, was the first prior. The grants to the new London monastery of the Carthusians were no doubt numerous, as we find, among others enumerated in the "Chronicles of the Charterhouse," 260 marks given by Felicia de Thymelby, in the reign of Richard II., for the endowment of a monk "to pray and celebrate the divine offices for the souls of Thomas Aubrey and the aforesaid Felicia, his wife;" also a grant of one acre of land in Conduit-shote Field, near Trillemyle Brook, in the parish of St. Andrew, Holborn, lying between the pasture-land of the Convent of Charterhouse, the pasture of St. Bartholomew's Priory, and the king's highway leading from Holborn towards Kentish Town. The prior of St. John, Clerkenwell, also frequently exchanged lands, and we find the Prior of Charterhouse granting a trental of masses, to the end that "the soul of Brother William Hulles, the Prior of the Hospital of St. John of Jerusalem, might the sooner be conveyed, with God's providence, into Abraham's bosom."
"About the latter part of the fifteenth century," says an historian of the Charterhouse, "we find our convent the home of a future Lord Chancellor of England; for we read that Sir Thomas More 'gave himself to devotion and prayer, in the Charterhouse of London, religiously living there without vow about four years.'"
The Charterhouse had flourished for nearly three centuries in prosperity, its brethren retaining a good character for severe discipline and holy life, when the storm of the dissolution broke upon them. Three of Cromwell's cruel commissioners visited the Charterhouse, and their merciless eyes soon found cause of complaint. In 1534 John Houghton, the prior, and Humfry Midylmore, procurator, after being sent to the Tower for a month, were released on signing a certificate of conditional conformity. The majority of the brethren refused to subscribe to Henry's supremacy. The exertions, however, of the Confessor to the Brigettine Convent, at Sion House, gradually led the refractory monks to subscribe to the king's supremacy. In April, 1535, the prior, Houghton, whose adhesion had been received with distrust, was arraigned on a vague charge of speaking too freely of the king's proceedings, and he and two other Carthusians, one a father of Sion, the other the vicar of Isleworth, were hung, drawn, and quartered at Tyburn. "As they were proceeding from the Tower to execution, Sir Thomas More, who was then confined for a similar offence, chanced to espy them from the window of his dungeon; and, as one longing in that journey to have accompanied them, said unto his daughter, then standing there beside him, 'Lo, dost thou not see, Megg, that these blessed fathers be now as cheerfully going to their deaths as bridegrooms to their marriage?' Not long after he followed their steps on his way to the scaffold."
The three heads were exposed on London Bridge, and the fragments of Prior Houghton's body were barbarously spiked over the principal gate of Charterhouse. The prior's fate, however, only roused the fanatical zeal of the brotherhood, and the very next month three more monks were condemned and executed. From the letter of Fylott, one of the king's assistant commissioners, we learn that though the Charterhouse monks claimed to be solitary, there had been found no less than twenty-four keys to the cloister doors, and twenty-two to the buttery. The monks plainly told the commissioners that they would listen to no preacher who denounced images and blasphemed saints; and that they would read their Doctors, and go no further.
The monks had not long to rest. In 1537 the Charterhouse brothers refused to renounce the Pope by oath, or acknowledge Henry as supreme head on earth of the English Church. Some of the order who had previously yielded now refused to obey, and were at once hurried to prison. The monastery was then dissolved, and Prior Trafford at once resigned. The majority of the monks consented to the surrender, the prior receiving an annual pension of £20, and the monks £5 each. Nine out of ten brothers, cruelly handled in Newgate, were literally starved to death. The survivor, after four years' misery, was executed in 1541.
"According to Dugdale," says "Carthusian," "the annual revenues of this house amounted at the dissolution to £642 0s. 4d., whilst the united revenues of the nine houses of Carthusians in England were valued at the sum of £2,947 15s. 4¼d.
"Before the final departure of the convent from London, sundry miracles are said to have been wrought, and revelations to have been made, urging the brothers to abide in the faith, and to bear witness of the truth of the Christian religion at the expense of their lives. Unearthly lights were seen shining on their church. At the burial of one of their saints, when all things appeared mournful and solemn, a sudden flash of heavenly flame kindled all the lamps of their church, which were only lighted on great days; and a deceased father of the convent twice visited a living monk who had attended him in his last illness. The narrative of this last pseudo-miracle is given in the following letter, written by the favoured monk:—
"Item. The same day, at five of the clock at afternoon, I being in contemplation in our entry, in our cell, suddenly he appeared unto me in a monk's habit, and said to me, 'Why do ye not follow our father?' and I said, 'Wherefore?' He said, 'For he is entered in heaven, next unto angels;' and I said, 'Where be all our other fathers, which died as well?' He answered and said, 'They be well, but not so well as he?' And then I said to him, 'Father, how do you?' And he answered and said, 'Well enough.' And I said, 'Father, shall I pray for you?' And he said, 'I am well enough, but prayer, both from you and others, doeth good;' and so suddenly vanished away.
"Item. Upon Saturday next after, at five of the clock in the morning, in the same place, in our entry, he appeared to me again, with a large white beard, and a white staff in his hand, lifting it up, whereupon I was afraid; and then, leaning upon his staff, said to me, 'I am sorry that I lived not till I had been a martyr.' And I said, 'I think that he, as well as ye, was a martyr.' And he said, 'Nay, Fox, my lord of Rochester, and our father, was next unto angels in heaven.' And then I said, 'Father, what else?' And then he answered and said, 'The angels of peace did lament and mourn without measure;' and so vanished away."
The remnant of the order sought refuge in Bruges. Returning in 1555, they were reinstated at Shene, near Richmond, by Cardinal Pole, but Elizabeth soon expelled them, and they fled to Nieuport, in Belgium, where they remained till the suppression of religious orders by Joseph II., in 1783. One of their chief treasures, an illuminated Bible, given the Shene monastery by Henry V., was in existence in the Tuileries in 1847.
The dissolution pressed heavily on the Charterhouse Priory, of which almost all that now remains is part of the south wall of the nave, incorporated in the present chapel. When the monasteries became lumber-rooms, stables, and heaps of mere history materials, Charterhouse was tossed (as Henry threw sops to his dogs) to John Brydges, yeoman, and Thomas Hale, groom of the king's "hales" and tents, as a reward for their care of Henry's nets and pavilions deposited in the old monastery. They retained the sacred property for three years, and then surrendered the grant for an annual pension of £10. The king then cast this portion of God's land to Sir Thomas Audley, Speaker of the House of Commons, from whom it passed to Sir Edward North, one of the king's serjeants-at-law, and a privy-councillor in high favour with the royal tyrant.
"But even he," says one historian, "was not free from Henry's suspicion and distrust, as the following anecdote will show:—One morning, a messenger from the king arrived at Charterhouse, commanding the immediate presence of Sir Edward at court. One of North's servants, a groom of the bedchamber, who delivered the message, observed his master to tremble. Sir Edward made haste to the palace, taking with him this said servant, and was admitted to the king's presence. Henry, who was walking with great earnestness, regarded him with an angry look, which Sir Edward received with a very still and sober carriage. At last the king broke out in these words: 'We are informed you have cheated us of certain lands in Middlesex.' Receiving a humble negative from Sir Edward, he replied, 'How was it then? did we give those lands to you?' To which Sir Edward responded, 'Yes, sire; your Majesty was pleased so to do.' The king, after some little pause, put on a milder countenance, and calling him to a cupboard, conferred privately with him for a long time; whereby the servant saw the king could not spare his master's service yet. From this period Sir Edward advanced still higher in the estimation of the king, and at his death received a legacy of £300, besides being included among the sixteen guardians appointed during the minority of his son, Edward VI. North was compelled to acknowledge Lady Jane Grey's right to the throne, but subsequently changed his opinions, and was one of the first to proclaim the Princess Mary queen. For his flexibility he was soon after reelected to the Privy Council, and elevated to the peerage, 17th February, 1554, being then summoned to Parliament by the title of Baron North."
Sir Edward North conveyed Charterhouse to the Duke of Northumberland; but on the execution of the duke the house was granted again to Sir Edward North. In 1558, on her journey from Hatfield to London, Queen Elizabeth was met at Highgate by the Lord Mayor and corporation, and conducted to Charterhouse, where she stayed many days. In 1561 Elizabeth made another visit to Lord North, and remained with him four days. This visit is supposed to have crippled this nobleman, who lived in privacy the remainder of his days, but was, in compensation, appointed Lord Lieutenant of Cambridgeshire and the Isle of Ely. Lord North died in 1564; and his son Roger sold Charterhouse in 1565 to the Duke of Norfolk (without Pardon Chapel and Whitewell Beach) for £2,500, and for a further £320 eventually surrendered the rest of the estate.
"Here the duke," says the author of the "Chronicles of the Charterhouse," "resided till the year 1569, when he was committed to the Tower for being implicated in a conspiracy for the restoration of Mary Queen of Scots, and for engaging in a design of espousal between himself and fallen royalty. From the Tower he was released in the following year, and allowed to return to the Charterhouse; but he resumed his traitorous idea of marriage, and his papers and correspondence being discovered in concealment, some under the roof of his house, and others under the door-mat of his bedchamber, he was attainted of high treason, and again incarcerated in the Tower, on the 7th of September, 1571. This unfortunate nobleman suffered on the scaffold in the year 1572, when the Charterhouse, along with his other estates, escheated to the Crown. His son Philip, Earl of Arundel, was impeached in 1590, for also favouring Mary, and died in prison in the year 1595, most probably escaping by disease a more disgraceful and ignominious death by the hands of the executioner."
On the death of Mary Queen of Scots, that fair siren who had been so fatal to the House of Norfolk, Elizabeth generously returned the forfeited estates to the Norfolk family, Lord Thomas Howard, the duke's second son, receiving Charterhouse. The Howards flourished better under King James, who remembered they had assisted his mother, and he visited Charterhouse for several days, knighted more than eighty gentlemen there, and soon after made Lord Howard Earl of Suffolk. Of this earl, Charterhouse—or Howard House, as it was now called—was purchased by that remarkable man, Thomas Sutton, the founder of one of London's greatest and most permanent charities.
"Of noble and worthy parentage, this gentleman," says the author of the "Chronicles of the Charterhouse," "descended from one of the most ancient families of Lincolnshire, was born at Knaith, in that county, in the year 1531. His father was Edward Sutton, steward to the courts of the Corporation of Lincoln, son of Thomas Sutton, servant to Edward IV.; and his mother, Jane, daughter of Robert Stapleton, Esq., a branch of the noble family of the Stapletons of Yorkshire, one of whom was Sir Miles Stapylton, one of the first Knights of the Garter, and Sir Bryan Stapylton, of Carleton, tempore Richard II., also a Knight of the Garter: 'ancestors,' as the learned antiquary, Herne, justly observes, 'not so low, that his descent should be a shame to his virtues; nor yet so great, but that his virtue might be an ornament to his birth.' He was brought up for three years at Eton, under the tuition of Mr. Cox, afterwards Bishop of Ely, and two years in St. John's College, Cambridge. In 1553, however, he removed from Cambridge, without having taken a degree, and became a student of Lincoln's Inn. But here he did not remain long; his desire of travel increasing with his knowledge, and his principles (he being a member of the Anglican Church) compelling him to leave London, he determined to visit foreign parts. He accordingly departed for Spain, and having stayed there half a year, passed into Italy, France, and the Netherlands. He is said to have taken a part in the Italian wars, and was present at the sacking of Rome, under the Duke of Bourbon. He returned to England in the year 1561, and through a recommendation from the Duke of Norfolk, he became secretary to the Earl of Warwick, who, 'in consideration of trewe and faithful service to us done by our well-beloved servant, Thomas Sutton,' appointed him Master of the Ordnance of Berwick-upon-Tweed, and granted him an annuity of £3 6s. 8d. for life. When Lord Westmoreland's rebellion broke out in the North, the Earl of Warwick created Mr. Sutton Master-General of the Ordnance in that quarter, a post which he himself had once held; and it appears that Mr. Sutton himself acted as a volunteer, and commanded a battery at the memorable siege of Edinburgh, when that city held out for the unfortunate Mary. After a blockade of five weeks, the castle surrendered on the 28th May, 1573. On his return from Scotland, Mr. Sutton obtained a lease of the manors of Gateshead and Wickham, near Newcastle. This was the source of his immense wealth, for having 'several rich veins of coal,' which he worked with great advantage, he had become, in 1585, worth £50,000. The following year he left Newcastle for London, and assisted against the Spanish Armada, by fitting out a ship, named after himself, Sutton, which captured for him a Spanish vessel, worth £20,000.
"He brought with him to London the reputation of being a moneyed man, insomuch that it was reported 'that his purse returned from the North fuller than Queen Elizabeth's Exchequer.' He was resorted to by citizens, so that in process of time he became the banker of London, and was made a freeman, citizen, and girdler of the City.
"Mr. Sutton, being now advanced in years, thought proper to retire from public life. He relinquished his patent of Master-General of the Ordnance, and on the 20th of June following he executed a will, in which he surrendered all his estates in Essex to the Lord Chief Justice, Sir John Popham, and others (with power of revocation), in trust, to found an hospital at Hallingbury Bouchers, in Essex, which place, as will be seen, he afterwards changed for London; and, 'as a proof of his trewe and faitheful heart borne to his dread sovereign, Queen Elizabeth, he bequeathed Her Majesty £2,000 in recompense of his oversights, careless dealinge, and. fearfulness in her service, most humbly beseeching her to stand a good and gracious lady to his poor wife.'" He also instituted a great many scholarships at Magdalen and Jesus Colleges, Cambridge; his generous will, in fact, being one long schedule of benevolent legacies.
Among other curious bequests in the interminable will of this great philanthropist, are the following:—£100 to the fishermen of Ostend, and £26 13s. 4d. for mending the highways between Islington and Newington, &c.
Sutton, who by many is thought to have been the original of Ben Jonson's Volpone, the Fox, that insidious legacy-hunter and voluptuary whom the old poet has painted in the darkest colours, lived at this time in a house near Broken Wharf, and between Trig Stairs and Queenhithe, in Thames Street, an old City palace which had once belonged to the Dukes of Norfolk. The death of Sutton's wife seems to have first led the childless millionaire to project some great and lasting work of charity. He was already surrounded by a swarm of carrioncrows, both from town and city, while a jackal pack of advisers followed untiringly at his heels. A Dr. Willet urged him to leave his money to the Controversial College at Chelsea, a ridiculous project encouraged by the king, or to assist James I. in bringing the water of the river Lea to London, by underground pipes.
The following passage in a letter from Mr. Hall, of Waltham, afterwards the celebrated Bishop of Exeter, served to fix the old man's determination:
"The very basest element yields gold. The savage Indian gets it, the servile apprentice works it, the very Midianitish camel may wear it; the miserable worldling admires it, the covetous Jew swallows it, the unthrifty ruffian spends it. What are all these the better for it? Only good use gives praise to earthly possessions. Hearing, therefore, you owe more to God, that He hath given you an heart to do good, a will to be as rich in good works as great in riches; to be a friend to this Mammon is to be an enemy to God; but to make friends with it is royal and Christian. . . . .
"Whatever, therefore, men either shew or promise, happy is that man that may be his own auditor, supervisor, executor. As you love God and yourself, be not afraid of being happy too soon. I am not worthy to give so bold advice; let the wise man Syrach speak for me:—' Do good before thou die, and according to thine ability stretch out thine hand, and give. Defraud not thyself of thy good day, and let not the portion of thy good desires pass over thee. Shalt thou not leave thy travails to another, and thy labours to them that will divide thy heritage?' Or, let a wiser than he speak, viz., Solomon:—'Say not, To-morrow I will give, if thou now have it; for thou knowest not what a day will bring forth.' It hath been an old rule of liberality, 'He gives twice who gives quickly;' whereas slow benefits argue uncheerfulness, and lose their worth. Who lingers his receipts is condemned as unthrifty. He who knoweth both, saith, 'It is better to give than to receive.' If we are of the same spirit, why are we hasty in the worst, and slack in the better? Suffer you yourself, therefore, good sir, for God's sake, for the Gospel's sake, for the Church's sake, for your soul's sake, to be stirred up by these poor lines to a resolute and speedy performing of your worthy intentions. And take this as a loving invitation sent from heaven by an unworthy messenger. You cannot deliberate long of fit objects for your beneficence, except it be more for multitude than want; the streets, yea, the world is full. How doth Lazarus lie at every door! How many sons of the prophets, in their meanly-provided colleges, may say, not 'Mors in ollâ,' but 'Fames!' How many churches may justly plead that which our Saviour bad his disciples, 'The Lord hath need!'"
This letter fixed the wandering atoms of the old man's intentions. He at once determined to found a hospital for the maintenance of aged men past work, and for the education of the children of poor parents. He bought Charterhouse of the Howards for £13,000, and petitioned King James and the Parliament for leave and licence to endow the present hospital in 1609. This "triple good," as Bacon calls it—"this masterpiece of Protestant English charity," as it is called by Fuller, was also "the greatest gift in England, either in Protestant or Catholic times, ever bestowed by any individual."
Letters patent for the hospital were issued in June, 1611. Sutton himself was to be first master; but "man proposes, and God disposes." On December 12th of the same year Mr. Sutton died at his house at Hackney. His body was embalmed, and was borne to a vault in the chapel of Christchurch, followed by 6,000 persons. The procession of sable men from Dr. Law's house, in Paternoster Row, to Christchurch, lasted six hours. There was a sumptuous funeral banquet afterwards at Stationers' Hall, which was strewn with nine dozen bundles of rushes, the doors being hung with black cloth. Camden, as Clarencieux King of Arms, was on duty on the august occasion. The sumptuous funeral feast in Stationers' Hall we have already mentioned.
But what greediness, envy, and hatred often lurk under a mourner's cloak! The first act of Mr. Thomas Baxter, the chief mourner, at his cousin's funeral, was, as heir-at-law, to claim the whole of the property, and to attempt to forcibly take possession of Charterhouse. The case was at once tried, Sir Francis Bacon, Mr. Gaulter, and Mr. Yelverton appearing for the plaintiff, and Mr. Hubbard, Attorney-General, Mr. Serjeant Hutton, and Mr. Coventry arguing for the hospital. It was then adjourned to the Exchequer Chamber, where it was solemnly argued by all the judges of the land, except the Lord Chief Justice of the King's Bench, who was indisposed; and, by Sir Edward Coke's exertions, a verdict was at last given for the defendants, the executors of Sutton. The rascally Baxter (although all impugners of the will were held by Sutton to forfeit their legacies) received the manor of Turback, in Lancashire, valued at £350 a year, a rectory worth £100, and £300 by will.
But the old man's money had still a greedy mouth open for it. Bacon, that wise but timid man, that mean courtier and false friend, was base enough to use all his eloquence and learning to fritter away, for alien purposes that would please and benefit the king, the money so nobly left. Hurt vanity also induced Bacon to make these exertions; his name not having been included in Sutton's list of governors. Bacon's subtle letter opening the question is a sad instance of perverted talent. It begins—
"May it please your Majesty,—I find it a positive precept in the old law that there should be no sacrifice without salt; the moral whereof (besides the ceremony) may be, that God is not pleased with the body of a good intention, except it be seasoned with that spiritual wisdom and judgment as it be not easily subject to be corrupted and perverted; for salt, in the Scripture, is both a figure of wisdom and lasting. This cometh into my mind upon this act of Mr. Sutton, which seemeth to me as a sacrifice without salt; having the materials of a good intention, but not powdered with any such ordinances and institutions as may preserve the same from turning corrupt, or, at least from becoming unsavoury and of little use. For though the choice of the feoffees be of the best, yet neither can they always live; and the very nature of the work itself, in the vast and unfit proportion thereof, is apt to provoke a misemployment."
King James, though eager enough to lay his sprawling hands on the old man's money, which he had left to the poor of London, hardly dared to go as far as such a confiscation as Bacon had proposed; but he dropped a polite hint to the governors that he would accept £10,000, to repair the bridge of Berwick-upon-Tweed, and this they reluctantly gave.
In 1614 the officers of the hospital were appointed, and the Rev. Andrew Perue chosen as master. Sutton's tomb in the Charterhouse Chapel being now completed, the corpse was carried there by torchlight on the shoulders of his pensioners and re-interred, a funeral oration being pronounced over the grave.
Malcolm gives the following summary of the property bequeathed in Mr. Sutton's will:—He left £12,110 17s. 8d. in legacies, and nearly £4,000 was found in his chest. His gold chain weighed fifty-four ounces, and was valued at £162. His damask gown, faced with wrought velvet, and set with buttons, was appraised at £10; his jewels at £59; and his plate at £218 6s. 4d. The total expenses of his funeral amounted to £2,228 10s. 3d., and his executors received, from the time of his decease to 1620, £45,163 9s. 9d.
At an assembly of governors in 1627, among other resolutions passed, it was agreed to have an annual commemoration of the founder every 12th of December, with solemn service, a sermon and "increase of commons," as on festival days. It was also decided that, except "the present physician, auditor, and receiver," no member of the foundation or lodger in the house should be a married man.
But the hospital had still another terrible danger to encounter. King James (who had no more motion of real liberty than an African king), at the instigation of his infamous favourite, Buckingham, demanded the revenues of Charterhouse to pay his army; but Sir Edward Coke, who had saved the charity before, stepped to the front, and boldly repelled the king's aggression. The hospital at last reared its head serene as a harbour for poverty, an asylum for the vanquished in life's struggle. As an old writer beautifully says, "The imitation of things that be evil doth for the most part exceed the example, but the imitation of good things doth most commonly come far short of the precedent; but this work of charity hath exceeded any foundation that ever was in the Christian world. Nay, the eye of time itself did never see the like. The foundation of this hospital is opus sine exemplo." A great school had arisen in London, as rich and catholic in its charity as Christ's Hospital itself.
The governors of Charterhouse are nineteen in number, inclusive of the master. The Queen and the archbishops are always in the list. The master was entitled to fine any poor brother 4s. 4d. or 8s. 8d. for any misdemeanour. He was to accept no preferment in church or commonwealth which would draw him from his care of the hospital. The physician was to receive £20 a year, and not to exceed £20 a year for physic bills. The poor brethren were not to exceed four score in number, and were required to be either poor gentlemen, old soldiers, merchants decayed by piracy or shipwreck, or household servants of the king or queen.
Herne, in his "Domus Carthusiana," a small 8vo volume published in 1677, shows that the world had not been kind to the founder's memory. Herne, in his preface, says: "Sir Richard Baker, Dr. Heylin, Mr. Heylin, and Mr. Fuller say little of him, and that little very full of mistakes; for they call him Richard Sutton, and affirm he lived a bachelor, and so by his single life had an opportunity to lay up a heap of money, whereas his dear wife is with much honour and respect mentioned in his will. Others give him bad words, say he was born of obscure and mean parents, and married as inconsiderable a wife, and died without an heir; but then, to give some reason for his wealth (having no time nor desire to inquire into the means of his growing rich), to cut short the business, they resolve all into a romantic adventure. They say it was all got at a lump by an accidental shipwreck, which the kind waves drove to shore, and laid at his feet, whilst the fortunate Sutton was walking pensively upon the barren sands. They report that in the hulk coals were found, and under them an inestimable treasure, a great heap of fairy wealth. This I fancy may go for the fable, and his farming the coal-mines for the moral."
Percival Burrell, the preacher of Sutton's funeral sermon thus describes the character of the generous man:—"He was," said the divine, "a great and good builder, not so much for his owne private as for the publicke. His treasures were not lavished in raysing a towre to his own name, or erecting stately pallaces for his owne pompe and pleasure, but the sustaining of living temples, the endowing of colledges, the enriching of corporations, the building causewayes, and repairing of high-wayes. Above all, the foundation of King James his Hospitall, at his sole and proper charge, were the happy monuments of his architecture. Surely this was to be a Megarensis in the best sense—that is, to build for ever. He did fulfill the letter of the apostle, in building gold, silver, and precious stones; for he commanded plate and jewels to bee sold and converted into money, for the expediting of our hospitall.
"I shall not mention thousands conferred upon friends and servants, but these legacies ensuing merit a lasting memory:—In the renowned University of Camb., to Jesus Colledge, 500 markes; to Magdalen, 500 pound; for the redemption of prisoners in London, 200 pound; for the encouragement of merchants, 1,000, to bee lent gratis unto ten beginners. Nor was his charity confined within these seas, but that western Troy, stout Ostend, shall receive 100 pound, for the relief of the poore, from his fountain. In all these his piety was very laudable; for in many of these acts of bounty, his prime repose was in the conscionable integrity of the priest, in those places where he sowed his benefits. Certes, this was to build as high as heaven."
Archdeacon Hale on the Antiquities of the Charterhouse—Course of the Water Supply—The "Aye"—John Houghton's Initials—The Entrances —The Master's Lodge—Portraits—Sheldon—Burnet—Mann and his Epitaph—The Chapel—The Founder's Tomb—The Remains of Norfolk House—The Great Hall and Kitchens—Ancient Monogram—The Cloisters—The School—Removal to Godalming—Experiences of Life at Charterhouse—Thackeray's Bed—The Poor Brothers—A Scene from "The Newcomes"—Famous Poor Brothers—The Charterhouse Plays—Famous Carthusians.
In a monograph on the Charterhouse, Archdeacon Hale, so long holding the post of master, entered deeply into its antiquities. "The monastery," said the archdeacon, in the Transactions of the London and Middlesex Archœological Society for October, 1869, "originally consisted of a number of cells, which, with the chapel, chapter-house, sacristan's cell, and little cloister, formed a quadrangle, to which some other irregular buildings were attached. The laundry was in the principal court; and near to it was the sacristan's washing-place, for washing the sacred utensils and vestments. The waterpipes entered under the cells on the north side of the quadrangle, and the water was received in an octangular building, and which is called the 'Aye,' the use and derivation of which word has not been discovered." The water was supplied by pipes running at the back of the cells, and the "lavoirs" were probably washing-places. The brewhouse is not shown in the old plan; its water-supply is only marked, and "the buttery-cock is shown without any building attached to it, whilst the water is described as passing on in two courses to the fleshkitchen, one through the cloister, another through the gateway from the cistern at the kitchen-door, with a branch to a place or house called Elmys and the Hartes-Horne. We thus find two kitchens mentioned; the first denoted by the kitchendoor, and the remains of the second kitchen are to be found in the wall next the present gateway of the Charterhouse, formed of squares of flint and stone. The gateway of the old plan appears disconnected with the rest of the buildings, but it still exists." We have also the interesting fact, discovered by the diligence of Mr. Burtt, of the Record Office, that the Abbot of Westminster granted to the Prior and Convent of the Charterhouse three acres of land ("No Man's Land") "probably a small piece by the wayside, the consideration for it being only the rendering of a red rose and the saying a mass annually for the sacred King and Confessor Edward."
The course by which the water was brought from Islington, across the fields, for the supply of the Charterhouse is shown in old vellum rolls, on which the course passes the windmill, of which the "Windmill" Inn, in St. John Street, was a remnant and a remembrance. The neighbouring Hospital of St. John was, in 1381, burnt by the Essex and Kent rebels, when the fire lasted seven days. The hospital does not appear to have been rebuilt before the end of the fifteenth century, and possibly the ruins of St. John's supplied some materials. Amongst other interesting fragments was the head of an Indian or Egyptian idol, which was found imbedded in the mortar amidst the rubble. The connection of the brethren of St. John of Jerusalem with the East suggests the idea that this little figure might have found its way to the Charterhouse from St. John's.
From a rough sketch accompanying Archdeacon Hale's paper, exhibiting the course of the conduit as it existed in 1624, it appears that "the 'Aye' in the centre of the quadrangle occupied by the monks had disappeared, and that, the water was brought to a reservoir still existing but now supplied from the New River instead of from the conduit. No record can be found of the time when this exchange took place. The drawing exhibits in a rude manner traces of buildings which still exist, as well as of those which were taken down for the erection of the new rooms for the pensioners some forty years since. Three sides of a small quadrangle, an early addition to if not coeval with the building of the monastery, still remain; the windows and doorways give evidence: of great variety of structure and of date, and the joints of the brickwork proofs of many alterations. There are letters on the west external wall, 'J. H.,' which we would willingly assume to be the initials of John Houghton, the last prior but one, and the wall itself as of his building. The cells of the monks, which were in the quadrangle, in the centre of which the conduit stood, have been all destroyed, with the exception of some few doorways still remaining. The buildings of the monastery now existing are on the south side of that quadrangle: they include the chapel, the small quadrangle above mentioned, and the courts of Howard House, including the Great Hall and the court called the Master's Court. At what time these buildings were erected between the ancient flesh-kitchen, the small quadrangle to the west, and the prior's lodgings on the north, has not been discovered. They were doubtless for the accommodation of strangers who resorted to and were received at the monastery. It has been said that much information respecting the temper and feelings of the people was obtained by Henry VII. from the knowledge which the Carthusian monks acquired through intercourse thus kept up with various classes."
Charterhouse Square has three entrances—Carthusian Street, Charterhouse Lane, and Charterhouse Street. The two first had originally each a gatehouse, and in Charterhouse Lane, where it stood there is a gate of iron surmounted by the arms of the hospital—arms that have never been blazoned with blood, but have been ever irradiated with a halo of beneficence and charity. Charterhouse Square is supposed to have been part of the ground first consecrated by Bishop Stratford, as a place of charitable burial. A town house belonging to the Earls of Rutland once adorned it, and in this mansion Sir William Davenant, wishing to win the gloom-struck Londoners from their Puritan severities, opened a sort of opera-house in 1656. Rutland Place, a court at the north-east corner of the square, still marks the spot, at the sight of which Cavaliers grew gayer, and Puritans sourer and more morose. A pleasant avenue of light-leaved limes traverses the square, for Charterhouse masters to pace under and archæologists to ponder beneath.
As we enter Charterhouse Square from Carthusian Street, the entrance to the old hospital is on the north side. The gateway is the original entrance of the monastery, and has been rubbed by many a monk's gown. This interesting relic is a Tudor arch, with a drip-stone, terminating in plain corbels. Above is a shelf, supported by two lions, grotesquely carved, and probably dating back to the early part of the sixteenth century. On the right stands the porter's lodge, on the left the house of the resident medical officer.
From the entrance court are two exits. The road straight from the entrance leads to the quadrangles, the schoolmaster's house, "the Gown Boys," and the preacher's residences; the left road points to the master's lodge, the hall, and the chapel. In the latter, turning under an archway leading to the head-master's court, is the entrance to the master's lodge. The fine hall of the lodge is adorned by a good portrait of the maligned but beneficent Sutton. In the noble upper rooms are some excellent portraits of illustrious past governors—men of all sects and of various fortunes. Prominent among these we note the following:—Black-browed, saturnine Charles II., and his restless favourite, George Villiers, second Duke of Buckingham; the Earl of Shaftesbury, their dangerous Whig rival, and Charles Talbot, first Earl and afterwards Duke of Shrewsbury—a florid full-length, in robes of the Garter (the white rod the earl carries was delivered to him in 1714, by Queen Anne, with her dying hand); the ill-starred Duke of Monmouth, swarthy, like his father, in a long black wig, and in the robes of the Garter, and the charitable Sheldon, Archbishop of Canterbury, who is said to have expended more than £66,000 in public and private almsgiving, in relieving the sufferers by the Great Plague, and in redeeming Christian slaves from the Moors. The theatre Sheldon built at Oxford was a mark of his respect to the university, and a grateful remembrance of his time studiously spent as warden of the college of All Souls. There is also in an upper room a fine three-quarter length of the clever and learned but somewhat Darwinian divine, Dr. Thomas Burnet, who was elected Master of Charterhouse in 1685; he was the author of the "Sacred Theory of the Earth," a daring philosophical romance, which barred the rash writer's further preferment. As master, Burnet boldly resisted the intrusion of Andrew Popham, a Roman Catholic, into the house, by meddling James I. "Soon after Burnet's election," says Mr. Timbs, "James II. addressed a letter to the governors, ordering them to admit one Andrew Popham as pensioner into the hospital, upon the first vacancy, without tendering to him any oath, or requiring of him any subscription or recognition in conformity with Church of England doctrine, the king dispensing with any statute or order of the hospital to the contrary. Burnet, as junior governor, was called upon to vote first, when he maintained that, by express Act of Parliament, 3 Car. I., no officer could be admitted into that hospital without taking the oaths of allegiance and supremacy. An attempt was made, but without effect, to overrule this opinion. The Duke of Ormond supported Burnet, and, on the vote being put, Popham was rejected; and, notwithstanding the threats of the king and the Popish party, no member of the communion was ever admitted into the Charterhouse." This eccentric man—no relation of the great Whig friend of William of Orange—died in 1715. He appears here as a well-favoured man, in a black gown, and with short hair.
An arched passage on the left of the master's court leads to Washhouse Court. A porch, surmounted by the royal arms, brings you to the great hall and kitchen, and a passage on the right conducts you to Chapel Court, which is surrounded by buildings to the south and west, by a piazza on the north, and by the chapel on the east. The chapel cloister consists of six Italian semi-classic arches, dull, clumsy, and exactly unsuited to the purpose of the place. Among the gravestones are those of a past organist, Richard John Samuel Stevens (1757), and Samuel Berdmore, master (1802). A door at the east end, leading to the ante-chapel, has over it a small tablet to Nicholas Mann, "Olim magister, nunc remistus pulvere," which in English means, "Here lies one who formerly dusted boys' jackets, and is now dust himself." In the small square ante-chapel is a modern screen, surmounted by the royal arms and those of the founder, Sutton. This ante-chapel is vaulted and groined; the bosses that bind the ribs being ornamented with roses, foliage, and shields, charged with the instruments of the Passion. The font is modern, and of the most Pagan period, contrasting painfully with the perpendicular of the ante-chapel, which bears the date 1512. The equilateral arch at the east end, leading to the main chapel, is conjectured by the best authorities to have been the nave-arch of the original monastic church. It is filled up with a carved wooden screen, consisting of a series of pointed cinque-foiled arches.
The chapel is a thorough Jacobean structure, with the founder's tomb conspicuous in a proud position at the north-west corner, the rows of seats where the Charterhouse boys once sat with ill-concealed restlessness, and the pews of the old brotherhood arranged gravely by themselves. The present chancel, say the antiquarians, is part of the original nave. It is square, divided in the centre by two Tuscan pillars. An aisle (or, rather, recess) was added to the north side in 1826, and there is a tower at the east end parallel with the ante-chapel. "The south wall alone is part of the original church; and it is supposed that the choir extended some way to the east beyond the present chapel." Behind a panel in the east wall the visitor is shown an aumbrye (cupboard), with some crumbling stonework round it. "The pillars which divide the chapel in the centre support three semicircular arches, the keystones of which are embellished with the Charterhouse arms. The roof is flat, ceiled, and decorated after the style of the time of James I. At the west end, under the tower, is an open screen of wood, carved in a style corresponding with the date of the rest of the chapel. This supports a gallery containing the organ. Its principal ornaments are grotesque, puffy-faced cherubim, helmets and swords, drums, and instruments of music; and in the centre is a shield, tied up with a thick cable charged with the arms of the hospital. The altar is of wood, and on each side in the corner of the chancel is a sort of stall, the one on the right being appropriated to the head-master, and that on the left to the second-master of the school."
The east window of five lights, filled with painted glass (the subject the Divine Passion), is the gift of the Venerable Archdeacon Hale, when master of the house. Another east window, representing the Bearing of the Cross, was the result of a subscription among the boys themselves. In a southern window are some fragments of glass representing the Charterhouse arms. "The pulpit and reading-desk," says the chronicler of the Charterhouse, "are against the south wall, as also are the master's and preacher's pews; the latter have small canopies over the seats allotted to them. The seats for the pensioners are open, and have at the side poppy-heads in the shape of greyhounds' heads, couped, ermine, collared gules, garnished and ringed, or, on the collar three annulets of the last, the crest of the hospital." The scholars formerly sat in the recess to the north.
"The founder's tomb on the north side of the chancel is a most superb specimen of the monumental taste in the reign of James I. It is composed of the most valuable marbles, highly carved and gilt, and contains a great number of quaint figures, of which the founder is the principal. His painted figure, in a gown, lies recumbent on the tomb. On each side is a man in armour, standing upright, supporting a tablet containing the inscription, and above is a preacher addressing a full congregation. The arms of the hospital are to be seen still higher, and above all a statue of Charity. It is also enriched with statues of Faith and Hope, Labour and Rest, and Plenty and Want, and is surrounded by painted iron railings. The inscription is as follows:—
"Sacred to the glory of God, in grateful memory of Thomas Sutton, Esquire. Here lieth buried the body of Thomas Sutton, late of Castle-Camps, in the county of Cambridge, Esquire, at whose only costs and charges this hospital was founded and endowed with large possessions for the relief of poor men and children. He was a gentleman, born at Knaythe, in the county of Lincoln, of worthie and honest parentage. He lived to the age of seventy-nine years, and deceased the 12th of December, 1611."
This sumptuous tomb, still so perfect, cost £366 15s.
"In the return of the wall, opposite the founder's tomb, is a small monument to the memory of Francis Beaumont, Esq., formerly master of the hospital. He is represented kneeling before a desk, his hand resting on the Holy Scriptures, and habited in the costume of the period.
"The other monuments in the chapel are for the most part tasteless and inelegant; there are, however, a few exceptions. On the south wall is a full-sized figure of Edward, Lord Ellenborough, by Chantrey. He is represented sitting, in his robes as Chief Justice, with the following legend:—
"In the Founder's vault are deposited the remains of Edward Law, Lord Ellenborough, son of Edmund Law, Lord Bishop of Carlisle, Chief Justice of the Court of King's Bench from April, 1802, to November, 1818, and a Governor of the Charterhouse. He died December 13th, 1818, in the sixty-ninth year of his age; and, in grateful remembrance of the advantages he had derived through life from his education upon the Foundation of the Charterhouse, desired to be buried in this church."
The chapel contains monuments to Matthew Raine, one of the most eminent of the Charterhouse masters; John Law, one of the founder's executors; Dr. Patrick, preacher to the house, who died in 1695; Andrew Tooke, master 1731; Thomas Walker, 1728; Dr. H. Levett, physician to the hospital in 1725; John Christopher Pepusch, organist to the house, and friend of Handel. In the Evidence Room behind the organ, in which the hospital records are kept, there are three doors, the three keys being kept by the master, the registrar, and one of the governors. A small door on the right of the cloisters communicates with a spiral staircase leading to the roof of the tower.
"The tower," says Carthusian, "is square, and is surmounted by a heavy Italian parapet, with a thing in the shape of a pinnacle at each angle. The whole is crowned with a wooden dome resting on pillars supporting semicircular arches. The dome carries on its top a vane representing the Charterhouse arms. Under this cupola is a bell, which bears the following legend:—
"T. S. Bartlet for the Charterhouse made this bell, 1631."
In a vault beneath the chapel is the leaden coffin of Sutton, an Egyptian shaped case, with the date, 1611, in large letters on the breast, the face of the dead man being modelled with a square beard-case.
A small paved hall leading from the cloister is the approach to the great oak staircase of old Norfolk House, richly carved with shallow Elizabethan trophies and ornaments, the Sutton crest, a greyhound's head, showing conspicuously on the posts, probably additions to the original staircase, which is six feet wide, and consists of twenty-one steps. A large window midway looks into the master's court. The apartments of the reader are at the top of the staircase, on the right, and on the left an ante-chamber conducts to the terrace— a grand walk, eighty yards long, which commands a view of the green. Beyond this terrace, to the north, rises the great window of the chapel of the new Merchant Taylors' School. The library, near the terrace, is a grave-looking room, containing a selection of divinity and old Jesuit books of travel, &c., given by Daniel Wray, Esq., whose portrait hangs over the fireplace.
The governors' room, part of old Norfolk House, which is next the library, is remarkable for its Elizabethan decorations, which are of the most magnificent description. "The ceiling," says Carthusian, "is flat, and is adorned with the armorial distinctions (three white lions) of Thomas, Duke of Norfolk, brilliantly painted and gilt. His motto, 'Sola virtus invicta,' is inscribed on ornamental scrolls, tastefully arranged alternately with the date of the year (1838) in which this remnant of Elizabethan splendour was rescued from ruin. Previous to that time the emblazoned shields, which now glitter so brightly in gold and silver, were well-nigh obliterated with whitewash. The figures in the tapestry then presented a motley mixture of indistinguishable objects; half of the beautifully-carved cornice which now supports the ceiling had vanished. The paintings of the ceiling consist of the following:—In the intercolumniations of the four pillars which form the basement are arabesque shields, containing paintings of Mars and Minerva, and over the space for the stove, representations of Faith, Hope, and Charity. Above this is a shield, charged with Mr. Sutton's arms, with his initials, T. S., one on each side. A large oval, containing the royal arms, supports this, with the emblems of the four evangelists in the spandrils formed by the square panel, of which it is the centre. On each side is an arch, supported by Ionic pillars, upon which are ovals, in which are portraits of the twelve apostles. The colours used are black, red, and gold. In this room there are four square-headed windows, of five, four, and two lights, transomed.
"The tapestry on the walls consist of six pieces—three of large dimensions, the subjects of which are not known, though many conjectures have been hazarded. The largest piece represents a king, sitting enthroned, crowned, and sceptred; behind him is a woman in plain attire, whilst at his feet kneels a queen, who is followed by a retinue, consisting of two black men, carrying a cushion, upon which rests a model of a fortress, another bearing the key of this citadel, and other attendants. This has been taken for the siege of Calais, and also the siege of Troy. The last supposition is, that it is a representation of the visit of the Queen of Sheba to Solomon. A second piece has been supposed to represent David, armed by Saul, in the act of sallying forth to meet 'the uncircumcised Philistine.' Two armies are seen in the background. Another appears to be a mixture of Scriptural subjects. A scene in the foreground does not much differ from the account of Deborah with Sisera's head, whilst the death of Abimelech is depicted behind. Three other pieces, containing figures of men, some of which are crowned, all which bear a striking resemblance the one to the other, seem intended for the judges and kings of Israel. Similar illustrations are not unfrequently found in ancient Bibles."
Descending the great staircase we enter the great hall, the most ancient of the buildings dating subsequent to the Reformation, the west wall being part of the old convent. This wall, the local antiquaries think, was rebuilt by Sir Edward North. The unfortunate Duke of Norfolk, it is supposed, lifted the roof of the hall higher, to make room for a new music-gallery. Its date, 1571, marks the time when he was released from the Tower on a kind of furlough, and employed himself here on such improvements as this. The carving is executed with extreme care and finish. A small sidegallery leads to the great staircase. The room is lighted by three large windows with some stained glass, and there is a lantern in the roof.
"In the windows are some curious fragments of stained glass. One pane contains the arms of the Lord Protector, Duke of Somerset, encircled by the garter; another contains a collection of pieces, the subject of which is rather ambiguous, the chief objects being a woman walking over a bridge, two horsemen galloping through the water underneath, a ship, the crown of Spain, the arms of Castile and Arragon, and the date, 1670. A third pane displays the arms of the founder, Sutton.
"The chimney-piece was an addition by Mr. Sutton, and is of later date than any other part of the building. It is carved in stone, but is of grotesque design, consisting of imaginary scrolls in the style of the Rénaissance school. The arms of the founder, surmounted by helmet, mantlings, and crest, complete, are well executed; as also are two small pieces of ordnance on each side, which are boldly yet accurately wrought. Beneath these, and in the centre above the space allotted to the stove, is an oval, upon which is carved a dragon, or some fabulous monster. It is now," adds Carthusian (1847), "very much mutilated.
"One thing yet remains to be spoken of, and that is the noble portrait of Mr. Sutton at the upper end of the hall. He is represented dressed in a black gown, sitting in an antique high-backed chair, and holding in his right hand the ground-plan of the Charterhouse. . . . . The room is now used as a dining-hall for the pensioners, and the banquet is held here on the ever-memorable 12th of December."
A door on the right opens into the upper hall, a small, low room, adorned by a carved stone chimneypiece, with the founder's arms sculptured above. The windows are square-headed. It is traditionally supposed to be the former refectory of the lay brothers of the monastery. It was latterly used as a dining-hall for the foundation scholars. A massive door at one corner opens into the cloister.
A door in the Great Hall, under the music-gallery, opens into a stone passage, on the right of which were the apartments of the manciple. On the left there is an opening into the Master's Court, and in the centre are three doorways with depressed squareheaded Tudor arches, the spandrils being filled with roses, foliage, and angels bearing shields.
The great kitchen boasts a fireplace, at which fifteen sirloins could be roasted at the same time. In one of the stones of the pavement there are brass rivets remaining, which once fastened down the monumental brass of some Carthusian.
Returning through the Master's Court and the entrance court, on our way to the "Gown Boys" and the green, we pass a gateway, older than the outer one already described. It has a four-centred arch, but no mouldings or drip-stone. The wall built over it for some height terminates in a horizontal parapet, supported by a plain corbel table. The rough unhewn stone of a wall to the right proves it, according to antiquaries, to have been part of the old monastic building. "The letters 'I. H.,' says Carthusian (1847), "with a cross of Calvary, which are worked into the wall, prove the ecclesiastical character of its former inmates. The letters 'I. H.,' worked out in red brick on the wall, have been a matter of some discussion. Some have supposed them to be the two first letters of our Saviour's monogram, but, upon close examination, it will be found that there are no traces of the final S. The arch beneath, over which is the cross of Calvary, must have had its meaning. It has been suggested that it is the entrance to a burial crypt, and that the letters 'I. H.' are the initials of the unfortunate Prior Houghton, interred in the vault beneath. A doorway on the right opens into the Abbot's Court. This was called, at the period when Charterhouse was known as Howard House, by the name of the Kitchen Court. Subsequently it obtained the name of the Washhouse Court, and this was changed, some time since, for Poplar Court, on account of some poplar-trees which formerly grew there, but which so inconvenienced the buildings that they were removed a few years since. The name disappeared with them, and the court is now called by its former incorrect cognomen." This is the most solitary and the most ancient of all the Charterhouse courts. In one corner half an arch can be distinguished, and the square-headed windows are older than they seem.
The Preacher's Court, with its castellated and turreted modern buildings, was built in 1825, after the designs of Edward Blore, Esq. The preacher's residence was on the east side. One of the octangular turrets over the northern gateway of this court holds the bell, which rings regularly a quarter of an hour before the pensioners' meals, to call home the loiterers. Some of the poor brethren lodge on the west side. On the south and east sides runs a paved cloister, and at the south-east angle is the large west window of the governor's room, above which five shields are carved in stone. The northern gateway is a depressed Tudor arch, with spandrils filled with the Charterhouse arms.
The Pensioner's Court, also built in 1825, has three gateways, but no cloister or octangular tower. The one gateway opens into the stable-yard and servants' quarter, the second into the burial-ground, the third into the Scholars' Court. In this last, at the north-east angle, the head-master used to reside, while the matron favoured a house to the north, and the gown boys' butler sheltered himself cozily at the south-east corner lodge. The stones round the semicircular arch, on the east side, are thickly engraved with the names of scholars once on the foundation, and the date of their departure.
The foundation boys' school-rooms were, for some exquisite reason, called "Gown Boys," and consisted of a hall and a writing-school. The hall boasts an Elizabethan stone chimney-piece, and the ceiling is adorned with arabesque shields and scrolls. The scholars used to have all their meals but dinners here, and it was also a sitting-room for the "Uppers." The writing-school opposite is a square room, and part of the old school. The roof is upheld by four massive wooden pillars, and is ornamented with nine shields, and charged with the armorial bearings of the founder, the former governors, and benefactors.
Part of the cloister of the old monastery, which led to the fives-court of the Duke of Norfolk's palace, runs along the west side of the green, and above it is a terrace of old Norfolk House. This cloister formerly adjoined the monks' cells, as an ancient doorway still proves. The brick wall to the east bears the date 1571, the date of the musicgallery in the Great Hall, and the date of the duke's final imprisonment. The present cloister windows are mere square openings, and there seems to have formerly been a false flat roof. In the centre of the cloisters is an octagonal abutment, which has for generations been called by the boys "Middle Briars." The cloisters used to be the great resort of the football and hockey players, especially in bad weather. The Upper Green is three acres of fine grass-plot, formerly the special property of the "Unders," and bounded on the north by Wilderness Row, on the east by Goswell Street, on the south by the school and Upper Green, and on the west by the master's garden, where there was a fountain, in a stone basin, in the centre of the lawn, which was divided by iron railings from the burial-ground of the poor brethren. Dr. Hulme, physician to Charterhouse, who died from a fall down-stairs, in 1808, was interred here.
The School is a large brick building, on a small hill, which separates the two greens, and is supposed to have been built over the northern side of the old cloisters. It was built from designs by Mr. Pilkington, in 1803. The large door in the centre is surrounded, like that of the old school, with the names of bygone Carthusians. The head-master used to preside, at prayers, on a large seat, elevated on three steps, and regally surmounted by a canopy. There were five lesser thrones for the ushers and assistant-masters, with horseshoe seats before each, capable of seating sixteen boys. Six large windows, and a central octagonal lantern lit the room. At the east and west ends there were small retiring-rooms—little tusculums for masters and their classes. Behind the head-master's desk was another room. On the outer keystone of the arch the names of several of the head-masters were engraved—Crusins, 1719; Hotchkis, 1720; Berdmore, 1755; Raine, 1778; Russell, 1803; Saunders, 1819.
On ground given by the governors of Charterhouse St. Thomas's Church and Schools were built, some years ago. The entrance to the school is in Goswell Street.
The Upper Green was the cricket-ground of the "Uppers." The gravel walk to the left was the site of the eastern cloisters. Two doorways of ancient cells still remain. Near one of them are two flat square stones, which tradition reports to have formed the foot of the coffin of the former inhabitant of the cell.
A door from the cloister on the right opens into a room called Brooke Hall, "named," says the author of "Chronicles of the Charterhouse," "after Mr. Robert Brooke, fourth master of the school, who was ejected for not taking the Solemn League and Covenant, but to whom, on the Restoration, this apartment belonged. Over the fireplace is an ancient portrait of a man reading, with the following motto inscribed on the sides:—
"And gladly would he learn, and gladly teach. 1626."
"This has occasioned many surmises and suppositions. Some suppose it to be a likeness of Brooke, while others assert that neither the date nor the apparent age of the figure by any means agrees with the account received of that gentleman, who, it appears, was but a young man when admitted usher, in 1626. The last conjecture is that the portrait was either that of Nicholas Grey, the first schoolmaster, who resigned his place in 1624, or of his brother, Robert Grey, who ceased to be master in 1626. This room was used as a dining-room for the officers of the house."
On the eastern wall of what was called the Upper Green, between two doorways, is, in white paint, a large figure of a crown, with the word "Crown" under it. It is the spot where the "Crown" Inn formerly stood, says Carthusian. Tradition states that this was painted by the first Lord Ellenborough, when he was a boy in the school, as a sign-post for the boys to halt at when they played at coaches; and finding it there perfect when he visited the place as a man, he expressed a wish that it might be kept renewed. In the south-west corner of the green was an old tree, cut down about thirty years ago, which was called "Hoop Tree," from the custom the boys had of throwing their hoops into the branches when they broke up for the holidays. Hoop-bowling was a great game at Charterhouse, up to about 1825 or 1830; and some boys attained such proficiency, that they could trundle five or six hoops, or even more, at one time. At the north-east corner of the Under Green, now built over, was the "Coach Tree," so called from the boys climbing into it at certain times of the day, to see the coaches pass up Goswell Street, between Islington and St. Martin's-le-Grand. The site of St. Thomas's Church, Charterhouse, was the ground where boys who quarrelled were accustomed to give each other pugilistic satisfaction.
In the south-east corner of the green was the "Tennis Court," really the "Fives-Court."
The school, which moved to Godalming, for sanitary and other reasons, in May, 1872, was divided into seven forms, inclusive of the "shell," or transition state between the third and fourth forms. The very young boys were called "Petties." The present number of boys is 320, of which 55 are scholars on the foundation. An extra half-holiday is given at Charterhouse when a Carthusian obtains distinction at either of the universities. The gown-boys were prohibited going out during Lent. The chapel-bell rings at eight or nine at night, to warn the pensioners. When one of the old men dies, his comrades are informed of his departure by one stroke less being given than on the preceding evening. The number of strokes usually given is eighty, corresponding to the number of the old gentlemen in the black cloaks.
The following description of Charterhouse discipline and customs, from 1842 to 1847, was kindly communicated to us by Arthur Locker, Esq.:—
"I was," says Mr. Locker, "at the Charterhouse from 1842 to 1847. At that time Dr. A. P. Saunders was head-master (now Dean of Peterborough); Rev. Oliver Walford was second-master (since dead); Rev. H. W. Phillott and Rev. F. Poynder were assistant-masters; Rev. C. N. Dicken, the reader, read the daily prayers in the chapel, and also taught in the school. While I was there the numbers of the school varied from about 150 to 180. Of these 44 (and, at one time, by a special privilege, 45) were foundationers, or gown-boys, who were fed, educated, and partially clothed, by the institution. Each governor (the governors were the leading men of the country, cabinet ministers, archbishops, &c.) selected a boy in turn, as a vacancy occurred, and the eligible age was from ten till fourteen. Most of the gown-boys were either aristocratically connected, or possessed interest with the higher class. The remainder of the boys, whose parents paid for their education, lived respectively in the three boarding-houses of Messrs. Saunders, Walford, and Dicken, and were called Sanderites, Verrites, and Dickenites. There were also about twenty day-scholars. The upper school consisted of the sixth and fifth forms, which had the privilege of fagging; then came the fourth form, a sort of neutral class, neither allowed to fag or be fagged, and very often, in consequence, great bullies. The lower school (all subject to fagging) were the shell, the third, second, first forms, and the petties. In our house we had four monitors, who exercised some of the duties of masters. They could cane boys for breach of rules, and could put their names down in the black book (three insertions during one week in that volume involved a flogging; and the floggings, administered with long apple-twigs, were very severe). These monitors, and some others of the big boys, had little slips of rooms for their own use, called 'studies,' and each proprietor of a study had a study-fag, who, besides keeping his books free from dust and in good order, made his coffee, toasted his roll, washed his hair-brushes, &c. Boys rather liked this special service, as it saved them from the indiscriminate fagging inflicted by strangers. The cricket-fagging was the worst. I have been kept stopping balls behind a wicket for a fellow practising for five hours at a stretch, and beaten on the back with a bat if I missed a ball. Fagging produced laziness and tyranny among the big boys, and lying and deception among the little ones. The monitors, by the way, had a special set of fags called 'basinites,' whose business it was to take care that the basins were filled, towels dried, and soap ready in the monitors' bedroom, for they washed up-stairs. We washed in a public room, fitted up with basins.' The dietary arrangements at Charterhouse were under the management of a jolly old redfaced gentleman named Tucker, who had formerly been in the army. He was called the 'Manciple.' The food was very good; and on Fridays (perhaps as a protest against Roman Catholicism) we fared especially well. Friday was styled 'Consolation Day,' and we had roast lamb and currant tart, or roast pork and apple tart, according to the season of the year. We said our lessons in a large building called the New School, in the centre of the two greens; but we learnt our lessons, and had for an in-door playing-place a writing-school of our own. Here, from eight till nine o'clock every evening, one of the masters kept 'banco'—that is to say, everybody was bound to be quiet for one hour, though they might read story-books, or do what they pleased. We were locked up in our bedrooms at night, the windows of which were further secured by iron bars. The doors were unfastened at seven o'clock, and school began at eight. Cricket was the chief game in the summer quarter; during the rest of the year we had football and hockey. Fives was also played in one of the courts, but tops and marbles were discountenanced, as savouring (heaven save the mark!) of private schools. As a rule, boys are very conventional and narrow-minded. We were kept quite apart from the eighty old pensioners, or 'codds,' as they were called, and only saw them on Sundays and saints' days in chapel. I remember two in whom we felt an interest—Mr. Moncrieff, the dramatist; and a Mr. Bayzand (or some such name), who had been a harlequin, but who at fourscore had grown a very decrepit, unwieldy man. The upper form boys were allowed the privilege of going out from Saturday afternoon till Sunday evening, at nine p.m., provided they received an invitation from parents or friends, which invitation had to be submitted for approval to the headmaster. The lower forms were allowed the same privilege every alternate Saturday. At all other times we were strictly confined to our own part of the premises; and many a time have we, imprisoned behind those gloomy walls, longed for the liberty of Goswell Street, the houses of which overlooked our under green.
"The great festival of the year was the 12th December, held in memory of our benefactor, Thomas Sutton, when, after a service in the chapel, a Latin oration was delivered by the head gown-boy, then going to college, and a collection put into the trencher-cap by the visitors who came to hear him. A hundred pounds, or more, was often thus collected. After this the old Carthusians dined together, and spent the rest of the evening at the house of the master (Archdeacon Hale). The master was supreme over the whole establishment, both boys and pensioners: he must not at all be confounded with the school-master. When a boy left school, his name was engraved on the stone wall which faced the school buildings, with the date of the year of his departure."
"In former times," says Mr. Howard Staunton, "there was a curious custom in this school, termed 'pulling-in,' by which the lower boys manifested their opinion of the seniors in a rough but very intelligible fashion. One day in the year the fags, like the slaves in Rome, had freedom, and held a kind of saturnalia. On this privileged occasion they used to seize the upper boys, one by one, and drag them from the playground into the schoolroom, and, accordingly as the victim was popular or the reverse, he was either cheered and mildly treated, or was hooted, groaned at, and sometimes soundly cuffed. The day selected was Good Friday, and, although the practice was nominally forbidden, the officials, for many years, took no measures to prevent it. One ill-omened day, however, when the sport was at the best, the doctor was espied approaching the scene of battle. A general sauve qui peut ensued, and, in the hurry of flight, a meek and quiet lad (the Hon. Mr. Howard), who happened to be seated on some steps, was crushed so dreadfully that, to the grief of the whole school, he shortly after died. 'Pullingin' was thenceforth sternly interdicted."
On the resignation, in 1832, of Dr. Russell (who was appointed to the living of Bishopsgate, the number of the school fell off from about 600 boys to something about 100 or 80, consequently many of the junior masters were dismissed.
The poor brothers of the Charterhouse (a very interesting feature of Sutton's rather perverted charity) are now eighty in number. They receive £36 a year, have comfortable rooms rent free, and are required to wear, when in bounds, a long black cloak. They attend chapel twice a day, at halfpast nine and six, and dine together in the Duke of Norfolk's fine old hall. The only special restriction over the old brothers is the necessity of being in every night at eleven, and they are fined a shilling for every non-attendance at chapel—a rule that secures, as might have been expected, the most Pharisaic punctuality at such ceremonials. This respectable brotherhood used to contain a good many of Wellington's old Peninsular officers, now and then a bankrupt country squire, and now and then —much out of place—came the old butler of one of the governors.
Thackeray has immortalised his old school, about which he writes so fondly, and with that air of thoughtful regret, that so marks his sadder passages: "Mention," says the great novelist, in "The Newcomes," "has been made once or twice, in the course of this history, of the Grey Friars' School—where the colonel, and Clive, and I had been brought up—an ancient foundation of the time of James I., still subsisting in the heart of London city. The death-day of the founder of the place is still kept solemnly by the Cistercians. In their chapel, where assemble the boys of the school, and the fourscore old men of the hospital, the founder's tomb stands—a huge edifice, emblazoned with heraldic decorations and clumsy carved allegories. There is an old hall, a beautiful specimen of the architecture of James's time. An old hall? Many old halls, old staircases, old passages, old chambers decorated with old portraits, walking in the midst of which we walk, as it were, in the early seventeenth century. To others than Cistercians, Grey Friars is a dreary place, possibly. Nevertheless, the pupils educated there love to revisit it, and the oldest of us grow young again for an hour or two as we come back into those scenes of childhood.
"The custom of the school is, that on the 12th of December, the Founder's Day, the head gownboy shall recite a Latin oration, in praise Fundatoris Nostri, and upon other subjects, and a goodly company of old Cistercians is generally brought together to attend this oration; after which we go to chapel, and hear a sermon; after which we adjourn to a great dinner, where old condisciples meet, old toasts are given, and speeches are made. Before marching from the oration-hall to chapel, the stewards of the day's dinner, according to oldfashioned rite, have wands put into their hands, walk to church at the head of the procession, and sit there in places of honour. The boys are already in their seats, with smug fresh faces, and shining white collars; the old black-gowned pensioners are on their benches, the chapel is lighted, and founder's tomb, with its grotesque carvings, monsters, heraldries, darkles and shines with the most wonderful shadows and lights. There he lies, Foundator Noster, in his ruff and gown, awaiting the Great Examination Day. We oldsters, be we ever so old, become boys again as we look at that familiar old tomb, and think how the seats are altered since we were here, and how the doctor— not the present doctor, the doctor of our time— used to sit yonder, and his awful eye used to frighten us shuddering boys, on whom it lighted; and how the boy next us would kick our shins during service-time, and how the monitor would cane us afterwards because our shins were kicked. Yonder sit forty cherry-cheeked boys, thinking about home and holidays to-morrow. Yonder sit some threescore old gentlemen-pensioners of the hospital, listening to the prayers and the psalms. You hear them coughing feebly in the twilight—the old reverend blackgowns. Is Codd Ajax alive? you wonder. The Cistercian lads called these old gentlemen 'codds,' I know not wherefore—I know not wherefore—but is old Codd Ajax alive? I wonder; or Codd Soldier, or kind old Codd Gentleman, or has the grave closed over them? A plenty of candles light up this chapel, and this scene of age and youth, and early memories, and pompous death. How solemn the well-remembered prayers are, here uttered again in the place where in childhood we used to hear them! How beautiful and decorous the rite! How noble the ancient words of the supplications which the priest utters, and to which generations of fresh children, and troops of bygone seniors, have cried 'Amen' under those arches! The service for Founder's Day is a special one, one of the Psalms selected being the thirty-seventh, and we hear—' 23. The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord: and he delighteth in his way. 24. Though he fall, he shall not be utterly cast down: for the Lord upholdeth him with his hand. 25. I have been young, and now am old: yet have I not seen the righteous forsaken, nor his seed begging bread.' As we came to this verse I chanced to look up from my book towards the swarm of black-coated pensioners, and amongst them—amongst them—sat Thomas Newcome.
"His dear old head was bent down over his prayer-book; there was no mistaking him. He wore the black gown of the pensioners of the Hospital of Grey Friars. His order of the Bath was on his breast. He stood there amongst the poor brethren, uttering the responses to the psalm. The steps of this good man had been ordered hither by Heaven's decree: to this almshouse! Here it was ordained that a life all love, and kindness, and honour should end! I heard no more of prayers, and psalms, and sermon after that." * * * *
And who can forget the solemn picture of the colonel's death? "One afternoon," says Thackeray, "he asked for his little gown-boy, and the child was brought to him and sate by the bed with a very awe-stricken face; and then gathered courage, and tried to amuse him by telling him how it was a half-holiday, and they were having a cricket match with the St. Peter's boys in the green, and Grey Friars were in and winning. . . . At the usual evening hour, the chapel bell began to toll, and Thomas Newcome's hands, outside the bed, feebly beat time; and just as the last bell struck, a peculiar sweet smile shone over his face, and he lifted up his head a little, and quickly said, 'Adsum,' and fell back. It was the word we used at school when names were called, and lo! he, whose heart was as that of a little child, had answered to his name, and stood in the presence of the Master."
At the Poor Brothers' celebration was formerly sung the old Carthusian melody, with this quaint chorus:—
"Then blessed be the memory
Of good old Thomas Sutton, Who gave us lodging—learning,
And he gave us beef and mutton."
Among the poor brothers of the Charterhouse who have here found a refuge the rough outer world denied, the most justly celebrated was Stephen Gray, Copley medallist of the Royal Society, and a humble and patient resident here in the early part of the eighteenth century. This remarkable and now almost forgotten discoverer formed the subject of a lecture lately delivered at Charterhouse by Dr. Benjamin Ward Richardson, F.R.S., from which we derive the following facts:—The first time that Mr. Gray was known anything about was in the year 1692, when he was, perhaps, about the age of forty, and was living at Canterbury, pursuing astronomical studies. In that year he was known to have made astronomical inquiries as to certain mock suns which he saw. He then, in 1696, turned his attention to microscopes, and made one by melting a rod of glass, which, when the end was in a molten state, dropped off and formed a round solid globe, which acted as a powerful magnifier. That, however, was not sufficiently powerful, so he made a more powerful one by having a hollow globe of glass filled with water, and with this he was enabled to discover animalculæ in the water. The same year witnessed a great improvement of his in the barometer. It had been invented some years before, but Mr. Gray hit upon an ingenious method of taking an accurate reading of the instrument. In 1699 the same gentleman observed again mock suns in the heavens, and a halo round the true sun, but did nothing more than record the fact. His next step in science was to obtain a meridian line, after which, in about a couple of years, spots in the sun attracted his attention: Mr. Gray was one of the first observers of that phenomenon, and in 1706 he recorded an eclipse of the sun. From that time to 1720, not much was heard of either him or his discoveries, but in the latter year a letter was sent by Prince George to the Charterhouse, requesting that he might be admitted. After his admission to the charity he remained without doing much for some time, but at length he recommenced his labour by sending a paper to the Royal Society, denominated "Some New Electrical Experiments," and some little time after that he became known to Dr. Gilbert, a man of great research. Dr. Gilbert made several experiments with the magnet, as to its power of attraction; he also discovered that amber when rubbed would lead a balance-needle, and in prosecuting his inquiries further, found out that sealing wax, resin, and glass possessed the same qualities, but that they were different from the magnet in many other respects. He therefore named them after the Greek word for amber (electron), thus bringing into use the word electricity. That was one of the men who took notice of Mr. Gray and his experiments. About this period some experiments were made with reference to repulsion and attraction by Mr. Gray, which were followed up by Sir Isaac Newton, during which the great philosopher discovered that small pieces of gold leaf and paper placed in a box with a glass lid would fly up to the lid when it was briskly rubbed. Mr. Gray then discovered if parchment, goldbeaters' skin, and brown paper were heated, they would all attract feathers towards them. A fir rod, with an ivory ball attached to it and placed in a cork, and the tube in a charged glass rod, would also produce the same result. That showed to the ingenious mind of Mr. Gray that electricity could be transmitted from one substance to another. Mr. Gray having discovered that electricity could be so transmitted, was led to try packthread as a conductor. Packthread was accordingly employed, and found to act very well as such a medium when used in a vertical position, but when in a horizontal one it would not carry any spark at all. This discovery was made in a barn by Mr. Granville Wheeler, at Atterden House, near Faversham. The cause of the failure was owing to the fact that the current passed off up to the ceiling. The line was then suspended at distances by means of pieces of silk thread, and when that was done the current passed through to the end of the line. As silk thread was easily broken copper wire was employed, but with no better result, and by that means the discovery was arrived at that there were some bodies which carried off the electric current, and others which concentrated it. After this later discovery the first electric line in the world was made on Mr. Wheeler's ground, and a message through a packthread, and attached to a charged glass rod, was sent a distance of 870 yards from the grounds of Mr. Wheeler up to his garret window. Mr. Gray having thus made one of the grandest discoveries in the world, followed up his researches, and found out that it was not necessary to have contact to pass an electrical current. That was called induction, and some short time afterwards, in 1732, the Royal Society awarded their gold medal; and in the same year the recipient of the gold medal further contributed to science by discovering that water could be made a conductor, and also that resin could be made to act as a good insulator—a grand discovery, for without insulators we could not make much use of the electric current. In 1735 Mr. Gray also succeeded in obtaining the electric spark, which he did by means of a charged glass rod brought into contact with an iron bar resting upon bands of silk. After this period nothing much was heard of him, and his time was fast drawing to a close. Before that time, however, he invented a machine which he called his planetarium. It was a round box filled with resin, and a metal ball in its centre, over this was suspended a pith pellet, and if the pellet gyrated in a circle the ball was in the centre, but if it were not it would move in an elliptic. By such a means as that he thought he could show a complete planetary system. He was, however, mistaken, for the twirling of the pith pellet round the globe of metal was no doubt caused by the pulsation of the blood through the fingers. As a further proof of Mr. Gray's intellect, when he obtained the first spark of electricity, he prophesied that electricity generated by a machine would become as powerful as the same force in nature. That, no doubt, will soon be the case, for sheep and other large animals have been instantaneously killed by a machine weighing fifteen hundredweight.
With all the vices that superstition and laziness could engender, there can never be a doubt among tolerant men that learning owes a deep debt to the much-abused tenants of monasteries. Many great Biblical works and ponderous dictionaries were the products of the indomitable patience of those ascetic workers. The Carthusian order had, at least, its share of these sturdy toilers, whose life's silent but faithful labour was often summed up in an old brown folio. Among the more celebrated of these patient men we find Theobald English (beginning of the fourteenth century), who wrote the lives of all holy men, from the Creation to his own time; Dr. Adam (about 1340), whose works are now in the Bodleian, wrote the "Life of Saint Hugh, Bishop of Lincoln," treatises and works on Tribulation and on the Eucharist; John Olvey (1350) wrote a book on the miracles of the Virgin; Prior Rock, who died in 1470, left dialogues, epigrams, and poems behind him, in MS.; Thomas Spencer (1529) produced commentaries on St. Paul's Epistles; John Batmore, or Batmanson, prior in the sixteenth century, wrote against Luther and Erasmus; Prior Chauncey, of Bruges, who succeeded Houghton, wrote a "History of the Emigration of the Carthusians," and "Passio Octodecim Cartusianorum."
The allowance to each pensioner was originally £26 12S., paid in quarterly instalments. The scholars of the foundation were not to exceed forty. The schoolmaster and usher were not allowed to take in their houses more than sixty other scholars, "unless they entertained another under-usher out of their own means, to be dieted and lodged in the hospital." At the annual examination in Easter a gold medal is now awarded for the best Latin hexameter. There are also two silver medals for Greek iambics and Latin prose. On the Foundation Day a Latin oration is delivered in the great hall by the senior gown-boy; and at the banquet which follows the orator's trencher goes round like the purse at Westminster, which contributes to the orator's outfit for Oxford.
"It was anciently the custom of the Charterhouse scholars to perform a dramatic piece on "Founder's Day." It appears, however, that there were other epochs set apart for conviviality and merriment, such as the 5th of November, the anniversary of the deliverance of the kingdom from the Popish plot. A play is still extant, entitled "A Dramatic Piece, by the Charterhouse Scholars, in memory of the Powder Plot, performed at the Charterhouse, Nov. 6th, 1732." The scene is the Vatican, and the characters represented are the Pope, the devil (in the character of a pilgrim), and two Jesuits. The plot is by no means uninteresting, and some passages evince considerable tact and experience." An attempt has been made to connect this play with a dramatist, Elkanah Settle by name, who died a pensioner of Charterhouse in 1724.
"Dr. Young," says the author of the "Chronicles of the Charterhouse," "in his epistle to Mr. Pope, refers to Settle's last days in the following lines:—
'Poor Elkanah, all other changes past,
For bread in Smithfield dragons hissed at last;
Spit streams of fire to make the butchers gape,
And found his manners suited to his shape.'"
"Mr. Settle finally obtained admission into Charterhouse, and there, resting from his literary labours, died in obscurity in the year 1724. The similarity of sentiment which appears between Mr. Settle's works and the play performed by the Charterhouse scholars, gives rise to a supposition that the latter was the work of Settle himself. The active part which Mr. Settle took in the famous ceremony of Pope-burning in the year 1680, agrees strictly with the ridicule which is laid upon his Holiness, when made to 'run away in a fright' in the said play, and the date of his death was only a few years anterior to the said performance; there can be but little or no doubt that it is a composition of the fallen bard, who, it is said, 'had a numerous poetical issue, but shared the misfortune of several other gentlemen, to survive them all.'"
"The register of Charterhouse," says Mr. Staunton, in his "Great Schools of England," 1869, contains the names of numerous pupils afterwards illustrious in various departments of public life. Among these may be noted Richard Crashaw, the poet; Richard Lovelace; Dr. Isaac Barrow; Dr. John Davies, Master of Queen's College, Cambridge; Dr. Mark Hildersley, Bishop of Sodor and Man, who completed the arduous task, commenced by Bishop Wilson, of translating the Scriptures into the Manx language; Joseph Addison; Richard Steele; John Wesley, the founder of Wesleyan Methodism; Sir William Blackstone; Dr. John Jortin; Dr. Martin Benson, formerly Bishop of Gloucester; Monk, late Bishop of Gloucester, one of our best Greek scholars; Sir Simon Le Blanc, one of the late Judges of the King's Bench. There was a time when this school could claim as her sons the then Primate of England, Dr. Manners Sutton; the Prime Minister of England, the Earl of Liverpool; and the Chief Justice of England, Lord Ellenborough. The Lord Chancellor of Ireland, Lord Manners; Basil Montagu; Baron Alderson; Sir Astley P. Cooper; Sir Cresswell Cresswell, and General Havelock; Lord Justice Turner, and the late Sir Henry Russell, Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Indian Judicature; Sir C. Eastlake, P. R. A.; William Makepeace Thackeray, the great novelist, and John Leech, the well-known artist, are proud names for Charterhouse. Other famous Carthusians"—but it will be seen that death has already played havoc with this list—"are Bishop Thirlwall, of St. David's, the historian of Greece, and his eminent rival, George Grote; Dr. Waddington, Dean of Durham, and his brother Horatio Waddington, Secretary for the Home Department; the Earl of Dalhousie; the Right Hon. T. Milner Gibson, M.P.; Sir J. D. Harding, late Queen's Advocate; the Archdeacon Churton; the Dean of Peterborough; the Dean of Christchurch; Sir Erskine Perry; Sir Joseph Arnould, Judge of the Supreme Court of Bombay, and the Rev. Thomas Mozeley; W. G. Palgrave and F. T. Palgrave; Sir H. Storks; Sir Charles Trevelyan; Sir G. Bowen, and others.
"In the head-monitor's room," says Mr. Timbs, "is preserved the iron bedstead on which died W. M. Thackeray, and outside the chapel are memorial tablets to Thackeray, Leech, and Havelock, erected by fellow Carthusians."
The collection of pictures in the Charterhouse, besides those already noticed, includes a portrait of William, Earl of Craven, who fought bravely beside Gustavus Adolphus. The earl is supposed to have married James's daughter, the widowed Queen of Bohemia; he gave a name to Craven Street, Strand, and lived on the site of the Olympic Theatre. The picture is a full-length, in armour. The old soldier wields a general's truncheon, and behind him spreads a camp. There are also portraits of Bishops Robinson, Gibson, Morley, and others.