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and even a junction, may be to enliven such an utter desolation, or disturb so deep a peace. But far more strange and impressive than the stillness which now reigns beneath the shadow of “ Black Hambleton” must have been the forced and painful silence of the peopled cloister and the clustered cells which at the end of the fourteenth century testified to the devotion and liberality of Thomas Holland, Earl of Kent. Three hundred years had elapsed since Bruno promulgated in the desert of the Chartreuse a monastic reform more thorough and relentless even than that of Robert, Bernard, and Stephen Harding. The extreme austerity of the Carthusian rule had, we must suppose, left the field to the more popular Cistercians, and Witham and Henton, both in Somersetshire, were long the only houses of the order in England. But between 1344 and 1414 no less than seven Carthusian priories were founded, and among them, in 1397, “The House of Mount Grace of Ingleby,” dedicated to St. Mary and St. Nicholas.
Thomas Holland was then Duke of Surrey, and the favoured and trusted nephew of the King. But when, only two years later, Richard II was deposed, the Duke became once more Earl of Kent, and the rich and powerful patron of the Carthusians was transformed into an impotent rebel, and finally suffered as a traitor. So the “Monastery of the Assumption of Our Lady of Mount Grace,” as it seems to have been mostly called, was left unfinished, and the monks uncertain as to their title to those far-off midland and southern lands at Hinchley, Warham, and Carisbrooke, which the deposed monarch had granted to his favourite. At last, however, in 1440, Henry VI confirmed the original grants, and building operations were resumed and soon completed.
" Sancta et singulares ”-saintly and singular, indeed, were the observances which had won the admiration of the luckless Duke of Surrey. Not in the fast of eight months out of twelve, the refusal of meat even to the sick, the substitution of flannel for linen in bedding as well as clothes, lies the peculiar hardship of the Carthusian rule, but rather in that which the ruins now before us so vividly recall—the isolation of each monk in his own little hut and walled garden, the silence enjoined even on the stated festivals when the common refectory was used, the ingenuity of self-torture which turned at a sharp angle the aperture in the wall lest the hands or face of the bringer of the daily pittance should cheer the solitary by touch or look. Did not even
Elijah see the ravens in his “eremus”? Yet it was for this rule, in all its stern integrity, that the inmates of our London Charterhouse were ready to die. It is instructive to see how their extirpation by Cromwell and his master strikes a very modern historian.
“In the general relaxation of the religious life the charity and devotion of the brethren of the Charterhouse had won the reverence even of those who condemned monasticism. After a stubborn resistance, they had acknowledged the Royal Supremacy, and taken the oath of submission prescribed by the Act. But by an infamous construction of the statute, which made the denial of the Supremacy treason, the refusal of satisfactory answers to official questions as to a conscientious belief in it was held to be equivalent to open denial. The aim of the new measure was well known, and the brethren prepared to die. In the agony of waiting, enthusiasm brought its imaginative consolations : When the Host was lifted up there came, as it were, a whisper of air which breathed upon our faces as we knelt; and there came a sweet, soft sound of music. They had not long, however, to wait. Their refusal to answer was the signal for their doom. Seven swung from the gallows; the rest were Aung into Newgate, chained to posts, in a noisome dungeon, where, 'tied and not able to stir,' they were left to perish of gaol-fever and starvation. In a fortnight five were dead, and the rest at the point of death, “almost dispatched,' Cromwell's envoy wrote to him, “by the hand of God, of which, considering their behaviour, I am not
So perished, without a thought of yielding, the champions of English Carthusianism.
i Green's English People.