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CHARTER HOUSE ORIGINALLY A BURIAL-GROUND. SIR WALTER DE

MANNY FOUNDS A CARTHUSIAN MONASTERY THERE. -DREADFUL

PUNISHMENTS INFLICTED ON THE CARTHUSIANS BY HENRY THE

EIGHTH.-CHARTER HOUSE PURCHASED BY DUKE OF NORFOLK.

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GIVEN TO EARL OF SUFFOLK.-HISTORY OF SIR THOMAS SUTTON,
FOUNDER OF PRESENT CHARTER HOUSE. SCHOLARS AND PEN-
SIONERS. -OLD COURT ROOM.-CHARTER HOUSE SQUARE.

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THERE is, perhaps, no spot in London which has witnessed so much dreary horror as the ground occupied by the Charter House. Beneath and around us lie the remains of no fewer than one hundred thousand human beings, who fell victims to the frightful plague which devastated the metropolis in the reign of Edward the Third ;* when, according to Stow, “scarce the tenth person of all sorts was left alive." “No Man's Land,” as it was styled by our ancestors, bore a frightful reputation. Long after the earth had closed over the vast plaguepit, it was the custoni to inter there all who had either perished on the gibbet or by their own hands. Their mutilated corpses, according to Stow, were conveyed hither with terrifying ceremony, “usually

* “ It is to be noted, that above one hundred thousand bodies of Christian people had in that churchyard been buried ; for the said knight (Sir Walter de Manny) had purchased that place for the burial of poor people, travellers, and other that were deceased, to remain for ever."-Stow, p. 161.

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spect to take coach, and she away without any trouble at all.” It was at Bartholomew Fair that Rich is said to have first met with Walker, the original Macheath, performing in a booth, when, being struck with his talents, he engaged him for the theatre in Lincoln's Inn. The unfortunate poet, Elkanah Settle, was once so reduced in circumstances, as to be compelled to accept an engagement from a Mrs. Mynn and her daughter, to write pantomimes and contrive machinery for a Smithfield booth. Here, at the close of life,-in one of his own wretched theatrical exhibitions, called “St. George and the Dragon,”—he was reduced to personate the dragon, enclosed in a case of green leather. It is to this circumstance that Dr. Young, the author of the “Night Thoughts,” alludes in his Epistle to Pope :

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.

Such is the fate of talents misapplied, &c. We have the authority of Mrs. Piozzi, that Dr. Johnson's uncle, Andrew Johnson, “ for a whole year kept the ring at Smithfield—where they wrestled and boxed—and never was thrown or conquered."*

* Croker's “ Boswell,” p. 178. Ed. 1848.

THE CHARTER HOUSE.

CHARTER HOUSE ORIGINALLY A BURIAL-GROUND.-SIR WALTER DE

MANNY FOUNDS A CARTHUSIAN MONASTERY THERE. --DREADFUL

PUNISHMENTS INFLICTED ON THE CARTHUSIANS BY HENRY

THE

EIGHTH.-CHARTER HOUSE PURCHASED BY DUKE OF NORFOLK.

GIVEN TO EARL OF SUFFOLK- -HISTORY OF SIR THOMAS SUTTON,

FOUNDER OF PRESENT CHARTER HOUSE.

SCHOLARS AND PEN

SIONERS. -OLD COURT ROOM.-CHARTER HOUSE SQUARE.

THERE is, perhaps, no spot in London which has witnessed so much dreary horror as the ground occupied by the Charter House. Beneath and around us lie the remains of no fewer than one hundred thousand human beings, who fell victims to the frightful plague which devastated the metropolis in the reign of Edward the Third ;* when, according to Stow, “scarce the tenth person of all sorts was left alive." “No Man's Land," as it was styled by our ancestors, bore a frightful reputation. Long after the earth had closed over the vast plaguepit, it was the custom to inter there all who had either perished on the gibbet or by their own hands. Their mutilated corpses, according to Stow, were conveyed hither with terrifying ceremony, “ usually

“It is to be noted, that above one hundred thousand bodies of Christian people had in that churchyard been buried ; for the said knight (Sir Walter de Manny) had purchased that place for the burial of poor people, travellers, and other that were deceased, to remain for ever."-Stow, p. 161.

*

in a close cart, bailed over and covered with black, having a plain white cross thwarting; and at the fore-end a St. John's cross without; and, within, a bell ringing by shaking of the cart, whereby the same might be heard when it passed; and this was called the Friary cart, which belonged to St. John's, and had the privilege of sanctuary.”

At the time of the great plague, in the reign of Edward the Third, the ground on which the Charter House now stands consisted of open fields; and it was in consequence of the ordinary London churchyards having been filled to overflowing by the victims of the pestilence, that, in 1348, the ground was purchased, from philanthropic motives, by Ralph Stratford, Bishop of London, who surrounded it with a wall of brick, and built a chapel for the performance of the burial service over the dead. This immediate spot was known by the name of Pardon Churchyard, a name which it continued to retain in the days of Stow. The chapel stood on the ground between the present north wall of the Charter House and Sutton Street.

There existed another beneficent philanthropist at that fearful period, to whom, in fact, we indirectly owe the present magnificent establishment, the Charter House, namely, Sir Walter de Manny, a native of Hainault, and a Knight of the Garter, whose virtues not only endeared him to his contemporaries, but whose personal gallantry shone preeminent in every battle and tournament of that chivalrous age. As compassionate as he was brave, during the raging of the pestilence, in 1348, he added thirteen acres to the ground already purchased by Bishop Stratford ; and, at the close of his life perfected his pious work by founding and endowing on the spot a religious establishment, which continued to exist till the dissolution of the monasteries in the reign of Henry the Eighth.

The order founded by Sir Walter, in which work he was assisted by the advice and experience of Simon Sudbury, Bishop of London, consisted of twenty-four Carthusian monks, who were formed into a branch of the Benedictines, originally established at Chartreux, in France, about the year 1080. From hence the modern word, Charter House, is corrupted. The order was principally distinguished by its austerity and self-denial. Their under-garment was white, over which they wore a black cloak; the only other covering permitted them, even in winter, being a single blanket. With the exception of the prior and the proctor, they were confined entirely to the walls of the monastery. In the middle of the night they were compelled to attend divine service, even in the most inclement weather. Once a week they fasted on bread, salt, and water; and on no occasion were they allowed to eat meat, nor even fish, unless it were a free gift. When Shakespeare, in his play of Henry the Eighth, speaks of “a monk o' the Chartreux," he alludes to one of the fraternity of the ancient Charter House.

Sir Walter de Manny breathed his last in 1372, a year

after the foundation of the order, and proba

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