Mount Grace Priory – Britain’s best preserved Carthusian priory 1

Mount Grace Priory was founded in 1398 by Thomas Holland 1st Duke of Surrey, and was the last monastery established in Yorkshire before the Reformation. It is the best preserved of the ten medieval Carthusian houses (Charterhouses) in England. It is situated in the North Yorkshire National Park and easy to access off the A19.


The humble existence of the Carthusian monks can be felt in this beautifully maintained ruin. Mount Grace Priory consists of a church and two cloisters and within the walls of the great cloister are the remains of ‘cells’ where the monks lived, worked, prayed and meditated in isolation. They rarely had any contact with others. Their meals would be delivered to the ‘cell’ by a lay brother who would pass food through a hatch so the monks solitude would not be disturbed.


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The monks were ordered to silence and did not share a communal life of other religious orders. One of the ‘cells’ in the great cloister has been reconstructed in its own garden plot to give the visitor some idea of how life for a Carthusian monk felt. When sitting in the grounds, the peace and tranquility is tangible and it is easy to imagine how some would take to the lifestyle easily, yet others tried to flee. The ones who had tried to leave their duty were brought back and put into prison, the ruins of which are still visible today.




The Manor house which is the access point to the priory (originally the monastic guest house),was built by Thomas Lascelles in 1654 and then extended by Sir Lowthian Bell who was a wealthy industrialist in 1901. Many of the features from the Lascelles house and other medieval predecessors are still visible. There are beautiful graduated gardens to the front of the house with stunning floral borders and water features to enjoy. A very enjoyable visit for anyone who enjoys history and would like to step back in time.




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