May
18

Mount Grace Priory

Mount Grace Priory, in the parish of East Harlsey, North Yorkshire, England is today the best preserved and most accessible of the ten medieval Carthusian houses (charterhouses) in England. Set in woodlands, it was founded in 1398 by Thomas Holland, 1st Duke of Surrey, the son of King Richard II’s half-brother Thomas, earl of Kent, it was the last monastery established in Yorkshire, and one of the few founded anywhere in Britain in the period between the Black Death (1349-50) and the Reformation. It was a fairly small establishment, with space for a prior and twenty-three monks.
Mount Grace Priory consisted of a church and two cloisters. The northern cloister had sixteen cells whilst the southern had five cells, Frater and Prior’s house and the Chapter House. To the west stood the lay brothers’ quarters and the guest house.
Upon the abdication of King Richard, Surrey and others of the king’s supporters attempted to assassinate his recently crowned successor, Henry IV, at New Year’s, 1400, but were captured and executed. Holland’s body was eventually recovered and, in 1412, re-buried in the charterhouse that he had founded. The orphaned priory of Mount Grace, bereft of its founder and the income that had been granted to it by Holland and King Richard, depended upon royal largesse for its income for more than a decade.