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Carthusian

The Carthusians are a religious order founded by St Bruno[?] in 1084. They follow their own Rule, called the Statutes, rather than the Rule of St Benedict (as is often erroneously reported) and combine eremitical (hermit-like) and cenobitic (monastic) life.

The name 'Carthusian' is derived from Chartreuse[?], a French valley which was where St Bruno built his first hermitage. The word 'Charterhouse', which is the name for a Carthusian monastery, is derived from the same source.

Carthusians have no active ministry because they are strictly cloistered. They spend most of their time alone in their cells, although they do come together for certain prayers and for Sunday dinner. Today Carthusians live very much as they originally did having never undergone any kind of reform.

The best preserved remains of a medieval Charterhouse are at Mount Grace Priory[?] near Osmotherley[?], North Yorkshire. One of the cells has been reconstructed to illustrate how different the lay-out is to monasteries of most other Christian orders, which are normally designed with communal living in mind. The Carthusian monk (or nun) lives a solitary life in a 'cell' (actually more like a small house), which typically consists of three small rooms on the ground floor - bedroom, study, and shrine - and a work area in the upstairs loft. Each cell has its own water supply and lavatory, and a tiny private garden planted with herbs and flowers. The garden would normally be cultivated by the monk as part of his daily duties.

Today, there are 24 Charterhouses around the world, five of which are for nuns. Most of these Charterhouses are in Europe - including one in Sussex, England - but there are also a couple in South America and even one in the USA, in Vermont.

The London Charterhouse[?] gave its name to a square and two streets in the City of London, as well as to the Charterhouse public school (UK sense) which used part of its site before moving out to Surrey.

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