History and Stories
Mount Grace Priory

Mount Grace Priory: History and Stories

Mount Grace Priory in North Yorkshire is the best-preserved Carthusian monastery in England. In the Middle Ages, monks lived hermitic lives in one of Mount Grace’s 25 individual cells, each with a private garden.

After the Reformation, the site would become the home to wealthy aristocrats and industrialists. These included Lowthian Bell, who remodelled part of the priory in the Arts and Crafts style.

Discover more of the history of Mount Grace and the lives of its inhabitants through the centuries.

Interior scene with William Morris wallpaper

Key Facts About Mount Grace Priory

  • Mount Grace Priory was founded in 1398 by Richard II’s nephew Thomas de Holland.
  • It is the best-preserved Carthusian monastery in England. The priory is even used by historians as a ‘type site’, or model, for the study of other medieval Carthusian buildings.
  • Mount Grace was one of only nine Carthusian monasteries, also known as charterhouses, in medieval England.
  • Carthusian monks lived solitary lives. They spent most of their time in isolated cells and lived according to a strict timetable.
  • Mount Grace was one of the last monasteries in Yorkshire to be suppressed during the Reformation.
  • In the 17th century, part of the priory was remodelled as a mansion.
  • In the early 20th century, the site was bought by wealthy industrialist Lowthian Bell.
  • Bell enlarged and remodelled the mansion at Mount Grace in the Arts and Crafts style championed by William Morris.
Read the full history of Mount Grace Priory

The Carthusians

  • Who Were the Carthusians?

    Find out about the history of the Carthusians, and what set them apart from other medieval monastic orders.

  • Carthusian Daily Life

    Unlike other medieval monks, Carthusians lived as near-hermits, spending most of their time alone in their cells. Find out more about their daily lives.

  • How to Garden Like a Medieval Monk

    Take a closer look at the role gardens played in the daily life of Mount Grace’s monks.

A Mini Guide to Medieval Monks

Can you tell your Carthusians from your Cistercians? How did the Cluniacs differ from the Benedictines?

This short animated film will guide you through four key monastic orders of the Middle Ages.

More resources

  • Why is Mount Grace Priory important?

    Mount Grace is the best-preserved and most accessible of the Carthusian monasteries in England. Read more about why this site is so significant. 

  • Description of Mount Grace

    Four distinct phases of building between about 1400 and 1523 can be identified across Mount Grace. Read a detailed description of the priory’s architecture.

  • Research on Mount Grace

    Read an overview of the past and current research on Mount Grace, plus the questions still outstanding for future investigation.

  • Sources for Mount Grace

    Read a list of primary, secondary, visual and material sources for the study of Mount Grace Priory.


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