Charterhouse is a Church of England foundation with its own Chapel which is a Peculiar (Peculiar – does not come under the Diocese of London) with the Master as the “Ordinary” of the Chapel. The services are ordered according to the 1662 Book of Common Prayer. In addition to Morning Prayer and Evening Prayer – Monday-Saturday, Holy Communion is celebrated on Sundays and Saints Days. There is a small chapel in the Queen Elizabeth II Infirmary dedicated to St Bruno, the founder of the Carthusian Order (1084).
The Chapel is in three parts. The oldest is to the south which forms the main aisle. This was the chapter house of the Carthusian Priory and was built in 1414. Immediately to the north is the Tomb Aisle constructed by Francis Carter in 1614 to accommodate the grand tomb of the founder of Sutton’s Hospital, Thomas Sutton. On its north side is the Transept, designed by Redmond Pilkington and added in 1824 to accommodate the expanding number of pupils in the school. In 1842 the Walker organ was installed at the western end of the Tomb Aisle above the splendid 17th century organ screen. Later, in 1844, the earliest recorded stained glass window by Charles Clutterbuck, which shows the Crucifixion, was installed above the altar, which is in the main aisle.
Leading to the Chapel is Chapel Cloister, also designed by Francis Carter, and much restored after damage during the Second World War.
This cloister is a place of burial and memorial. The windows face Chapel Court which is the site of the original church – a chantry chapel for the victims of the Black Death – which dates from 1349. It became the Priory Church and on 15 January 1372 Sir Walter de Mauny was buried in front of the High Altar. His grave was discovered during archaeological work after the war.
A number of acclaimed musicians have links with the chapel including Henry Purcell, John Christopher Pepusch (1667-1752) who arranged the music for John Gay’s The Beggar’s Opera, and William Horsley (1774-1858), composer of the tune Horsley to which the hymn There is a green hill far away is sung. Charterhouse Chapel Organ.
Originally, the Brothers’ burial ground was within the site and a few memorial stones remain on the wall which borders Clerkenwell Road. From 1854, Tower Hamlets Cemetery was used, until 1929, when part of the churchyard of St Mary the Virgin, Little Hallingbury in Essex became the Brothers’ burial ground. An annual Thanksgiving Service takes place there in July.
PREACHER OF CHARTERHOUSE
The following words are in the original Charter dated 22 June 1611 establishing Thomas Sutton’s Foundation and concerning the appointment of key personnel: “and also one learned and godly Preacher to teach and preach the word of God to all said persons, poor people, and children, and officers at or in the said house. The Preacher of Charterhouse (an ordained priest in the Church of England) and Deputy Master is a resident member of the community.
ORGANISTS OF CHARTERHOUSE
The photograph (right) is of the stone plaque in the Chapel. The present Organist is Brother Graham Matthews and former organist of Sheffield Cathedral. On Sundays the organ is played by Miss Elizabeth Norman.
Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday
0800 MORNING PRAYER
1730 EVENING PRAYER
1130 HOLY COMMUNION in St Bruno’s Chapel
0945 HOLY COMMUNION (unless a Wednesday when at 1130 in St Bruno’s Chapel)
Regular Service Times - all services are open to the public. Please note that changes to the service times may take place occasionally. For more information please click here to email the Preacher