Archive for the ‘Medieval History’ Category

 

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Early caseless chiming clock. some parts date from 1450

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This tower was added so that a monk could watch the relic chapel below – a sort of medieval security guard.

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Tomb of John Chambers – last Abbot of the monastery and first Bishop of Peterborough, one of the few abbots to keep a post following the dissolution of the monasteries.

Our tour brings us to the Museum which contains items associated with the history of Charterhouse

19th-century property mark taken from a building owned by Charterhouse.

Matthew Bible (1549). One of the first English translations

A 17th-century chest used for storing valuables – Found at Charterhouse

15th-century-floor tiles from the monastery

Having finished our tour we emerge into the memorial garden.

The Memorial garden

The tomb of Sir William Manny, who built the first chapel on the site in 1349. In 1371 this chapel would become part of the Charterhouse monastery.

Memorial to the Carthusian monks from Charterhouse who were executed or died during the dissolution of the monastery

The Nave from the west end

The Font

13th-century wooden ceiling

The Pulpit

The Nave looking towards the west door

Side aisle

Chapel of Remembrance

 

Charterhouse: Tour (3)

Posted: November 16, 2017 in History, London, Medieval History, UK
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Our tour next takes us to the Chapel. The current chapel occupies part of the original monastic chapterhouse and in the ante-chapel, some elements of this original building can be seen. When the church was demolished following the dissolution, the chapterhouse was converted into a small chapel for the use of the new owners. A new aisle was added in 1614 primarily to accommodate the tomb of Thomas Sutton, the founder of the hospital, and to provide additional room for the expanding community at Charterhouse. In 1626 the first organ was installed.

Tomb of Thomas Sutton

The Organ above the entrance to the chapel

A second expansion was made in 1825 when a large bay was added to the north side to accommodate scholars from the school.

Bay added to north side to accommodate scholars from Charterhouse school

The Font

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On our recent trip to East Anglia, I had the opportunity to explore Peterborough’s magnificent Cathedral.

 

The first abbey on this site was founded in 655 but was destroyed in a Viking raid in 870. The site remained unused until a group of Benedictines arrived in the mid-10th century and begun to construct another abbey. This building was severely damaged during the resistance to the Norman Conquest in 1069 and the final destruction of this building was caused by a fire in 1116. The current church was begun 2 years later, although it took 120 years to complete. It is noted for its fine 13th century wooden ceilings and its fine lofty architecture.

The abbey closed in 1539 with the dissolution of the monasteries by Henry VIII and it became a Cathedral. 2 Queens of England have been buried here. Katherine of Aragorn, first wife of Henry VIII and Mary Queen of Scots who was executed at nearby Fotheringhay Castle. However, only one remains today, as Mary’s remains were removed to Westminster when her son James I came to the English throne.

The Cathedral building has remained largely unchanged since the 12th century except for the Tower which was rebuilt in the 1880s as it was feared that the original would fall down.

A few months back I had the opportunity to visit the Charterhouse in London.

The land on which it stands was outside of the original city and is first recorded in 1348 when it was used as a burial site for people who had died during the Black Death plague outbreak. In 1371 The Carthusian order founded a Monastery on the site.

Following the dissolution of the monasteries in the 16th century, it was used to house important visitors and for state and royal meetings and ceremonies. In 1611 it was sold to Thomas Sutton, a wealthy merchant, who founded an almshouse for 80 merchants, sailors and soldiers who had fallen on hard times and a school for the education of young men.

The school moved to a new site in Godalming, Surrey in 1872, but the almshouses remained on the London site. In 2016 the charterhouse was opened to the public allowing many people to see this fine Medieval building for the first time.

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St Margaret’s church, Hardley is located in the Norfolk Broads, an area located in the east of the county formed of river-fed connected lakes and much beloved by the boating and sailing fraternity. Whilst not as isolated as St Mary Houghton, St Margaret’s too stands in open fields with only a couple of houses nearby, testimony to the farming communities which it once served and which have now disappeared.

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It is not clear when the church was originally built (it has been suggested that the chancel arch dates from the 13th century), but records of the Great Hospital in Norwich (owners of the manor of Hardley) show that in 1456 a decision was taken to rebuild the chancel and two years later they authorised the replacement of the roof. This might suggest that the original building had fallen into disrepair or out of use before this date. The work was completed by 1461. The church contains a number of features which date from this rebuild. The 15th-century font has an octagonal bowl on a stem supported by lions.

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The 15th-century wall paintings were discovered several years ago during redecoration

There are 3 panels, St Christopher, St Catherine and a consecration cross which probably dates from the time the church was re-consecrated as a place of worship after the 15th-century rebuilding.

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The chancel screen dates from the 15th century and the simple pulpit is from the Jacobean period (early 17th century).

 

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Despite being close to the impressive Priory, St James Castle Acre is a large Church not much smaller than the Priory church itself. A church has existed in Acre since at least the late Saxon period as it is recorded that when William de Warrenne found Castle Acre Priory in 1090, the priory was granted income and control of ‘the church at Acre’

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During the 14th and 15th century it became an important stop on the pilgrim’s way to the shrine at Walsingham and the church was rebuilt in the Perpendicular Gothic style. The church contains a number of interesting 15th-century features;

– a hexagonal font

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– a wine-glass pulpit with paintings of Latin biblical scholars

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– Rood screen with paintings of the 11 disciples plus St Matthias.

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The priory was founded by William de Warrenne, Earl of Surrey on his land at Acre in Norfolk. The first Earl together with his wife had journeyed to Rome on pilgrimage and stopped at the monastery of Cluny in France. He subsequently invited the Cluniac order to establish a priory at Lewes in Sussex. It is not clear if it was this William or his son, also called William, who invited the Cluniac monks to establish a new house on the families land in Norfolk at Acre.

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The priory as it would have looked before the dissolution

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The west end of the priory church

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The cloisters of the priory formed the centre around which all the other buildings were arranged

The Prior’s Solar and a fragment of medieval wall painting from the Prior’s chapel suggesting that it would have been highly decorated

The priory was very successful and continued to grow until the time it was surrendered to the crown commissioners in 1537 on the orders of Henry VIII. The land was given to Thomas Howard, Duke of Norfolk won had the priory buildings demolished with the exception of the Priors lodgings which were converted into a private residence.

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The Prior’s lodgings showing some of the changes that occurred when it was converted into a private residence

The ownership passed to Edward Coke, Earl of Leicester in the 17th century and has remained in the Coke family ever since. The site is now managed by English Heritage.

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The remains of the Inner Bailey and curtain wall

William de Warrenne came to England in the army of William the Conqueror and fought at the Battle of Hastings. Afterwards, he became one of the King’s most trusted magnates. He was made Earl of Surrey and acquired lands in Norfolk through his wife. He chose the village of Acre near Swaffham as his base in the area.

Castle Acre is one of the best examples of a Motte and Bailey Castle from the early Middle Ages and the fortifications that remain give you a good indication of quite how formidable these castles must have seemed.

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Outer Bailey


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Outer Bailey c 12th century

 

The original castle was a moated Manor House but in the 12th century, the fortifications were improved, including the building of a keep to replace the Manor House.

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13th century keep which replaced the original manor house


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Remains of 13th century keep


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Ditch surrounding Outer Bailey

However, by the end of the 14th century, the Earls of Surrey had moved on to live at other estates and the castle had been abandoned.