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Charterhouse was set up as a Carthusian Monastery in 1371 by Walter de Manny, in Smithfield to the north west of the City of London. It was set up near a 1348 plague pit where many victims of the Black Death were buried. The 25 monks each had their own small building and garden.

Thomas More came to the Monastery for spiritual recuperation. The Monastery was closed in the Dissolution of the Monasteries in the English Reformation. The [[Prior], John Houghton was hanged,drawn and quartered at Tyburn. Subsequently, 10 monks were taken to the nearby Newgate Prison of whom 9 starved to death, and the 10th was executed three years later at Tyburn.

Charterhouse was subsequently used by Lord North and the Duke of Norfolk as a home. Ricardo Riddulphi was arrested in the House and the Riddulphi plot of 1571 against Elizabeth I failed and was followed by the execution of Norfolk.

Charterhouse was purchased by Thomas Sutton, who in 1611, turned it into a school which became famous as Charterhouse School and a home for elderly gentlemen who had served the King as 'Captains by land or by sea'.

Charterhouse was badly damaged in the Blitz but is now restored and much medieval and 16th Century fabric remains. The school moved out in the 19th Century but Charterhouse is still home to senior citizens.