Founded in 1398 by the nephew of King Richard II, Mount Grace Priory is the best preserved Carthusian monastery in the country. Carthusian monks lived a strict, isolated lifestyle that emulated the early Christian hermits. Mount Grace consists of 25 private cells and gardens surrounding a cloister with a small church. These monks would have lived in near total solitude, meeting only on Sundays and feast days.
Originating in France, nine Carthusian charterhouses were eventually founded in Britain. Priories like Mount Grace were popular options for monastic life and men would travel from across the country to join. These monks would have spent their days praying and working. There is evidence of monks at Mount Grace Priory taking part in bookbinding, writing and weaving. Lay brothers cooked all the meals and cared for the property on behalf of the monks. This was an honourable calling and many bishops retired to become lay brothers in later life.
Mount Grace Priory existed mostly undisturbed until the Reformation. Whilst they did not vocally oppose King Henry VIII’s reforms, the Priory was disbanded in 1539. After this, the Priory passed through the hands of several wealthy landowners who transformed the property into a manor house. Eventually, Mount Grace fell into the hands of Sir (Isaac) Lowthian Bell, an industrialist. Lowthian Bell led repairs of the property and stabilised the ruins. After his passing, Mount Grace would eventually be in the power of the state from 1955. Today, Mount Grace is an important remnant of the Carthusian order in England. The high quality ruins mean it is often used by historians to model what other charterhouses may have looked like. Visitors can get a keen insight into the lives of Carthusian monks and fully explore their schedules and living habits during their visit.
Things to do:
- Explore the grounds of the best preserved Carthusian charterhouse in the country.
- Investigate a reconstructed monk’s cell and gardens. Visitors can see the furniture a monk would have used and can discover the plants and vegetables a monk would have grown in the replicated garden space.
- The 17th century manor refurbished by Lowthian Bell in the 19th century is a wonderful example of the Arts and Crafts movement including original William Morris designs!
- 13 acres of Arts and Crafts style gardens. Traverse further into beautiful meadows and orchards.
- The Orchard Café sells a range of hot and cold meals and drinks. There is also an outdoor picnic space!
For prices and opening times, click here.
The majority of the grounds are wheelchair accessible. There are some upstairs locations that are not. Furthermore, there is one step down into the monk’s herb garden. The café is wheelchair accessible and wheelchairs are available to loan.
There are accessible toilets on site.
Assistance dogs are welcome.
Portable induction loops are available from the admissions desk.
For more information on accessibility, please click here.
To visit another priory in the Yorkshire area, see here.