Charterhouse Square, EC1M

Road in/near Farringdon, existing between 1371 and now

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Charterhouse Square is the largest courtyard associated with London Charterhouse, mostly formed of Tudor and Stuart architecture restored after the Blitz.


The 2-acre square roughly covers a large 14th century plague pit, discovered during excavations for Crossrail.

In 1371 a Carthusian monastery was founded by Walter de Manny on what is now the north side of the square. The name of the monastery was Charterhouse - derived as an Anglicisation of ’La Grande Chartreuse’ whose order founded the monastery.

Charterhouse was dissolved as a monastery in 1537, and in 1545 was purchased by Sir Edward North and transformed into a mansion house. Following North’s death, the property was bought by Thomas Howard, 4th Duke of Norfolk, who was imprisoned there in 1570 after scheming to marry Mary, Queen of Scots.

Thomas Sutton then bought the Charterhouse, and on his death in 1611, endowed a hospital (almshouse) and school on the site, which both opened in 1614, supporting 80 pensioners. The school for boys coexisted with the home for pensioners until 1872 when Charterhouse School moved to Godalming, Surrey.

The Charterhouse complex includes a Tudor Great Hall, Chapel, Great Chamber, the Barts and The London School of Medicine and Dentistry and an almshouse.



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Farringdon

Farringdon station - the terminus for the very first underground railway in 1863 - is a London Underground and National Rail station in Clerkenwell, just north of the City of London in the London Borough of Islington. It will change significantly when it becomes an important interchange station between the two largest transport infrastructure programmes currently under way in London, the Thameslink Programme and Crossrail, both of which are scheduled for completion in 2018.

Farringdon is partly within the City of London and partly in the London Borough of Islington. The name originates from the names of wards of the old City (Farringdon Within, Farringdon Without).

Today, as a place Farringdon is somewhat ill-defined, its original site and layout having perhaps been lost under later development: little more than the station and a few street names help to locate it now.
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