Saturday, 23 June 2007

Images from the London Chartehouse

Back in May, we visited the London Chartehouse, at the invitation of its gracious Master, and celebrated the first Catholic service there since the Reformation. Reports of the service can be found here. Photographs arrived yesterday, appropriately on the feast of St Thomas More since, of course, he tried his vocation at the Monastery in his youth.

Above, the choristers line up in the cloister, next to the door to a (vanished) cell; this is one part of the monastery that the Reformation Martyrs would have recognized.

The choristers sang Latin Vespers as it would have been sung before the Reformation. The chapel was packed - orginally it was the Chapter House of the Monastery, and has been much altered since.

The site of the chapel is marked in the garden, and a model of the Tyburn gallows was erected on the place where the High Altar would have stood, and where St John Houghton celebrated the famous Mass of the Holy Spirit on the day before he and the chief members of the monastic community were arrested by the King's officers. At that Mass, the rush of wind, and a spiritual ecstasty, brought great comfort to the monks.

A plaque on the wall behind records the names of the 18 martyrs of the London Charterhouse - the only monastic community in England to resist the actions of Henry VIII. From his cell in the Tower of London, St Thomas More saw them being dragged on hurdles to Tyburn, and commented that were like bridegrooms going to their wedding.

1 comment:

universal doctor said...

In view of his strong associations with the palaces of Westminster, it suprises me that the cathedral does not have a chapel dedicated solely to St Thomas More, although he is present along with St John Fisher in the relief above the altar in the chapel of the English martyrs. Without his witness the church in this vale of tears might well have perished as did he. Is there a reason why this is so?