Carthusian monk

The Isle of Axholme consists of seven parishes and is the only part of Lincolnshire west of the Trent. It is bounded by four rivers (Trent, Idle, Bickersdyke, and Don) and because of this was known as an ‘island’ – to which it bore a resemblance before the drainage by Vermuyden around 1626. Leland wrote: ‘By Milwood Parkside stood the right fair monastery of the Carthusians’. The Charterhouse of the Visitation of Our Lady was founded in 1397 by Thomas Mowbray, Earl of Nottingham, subsequently Duke of Norfolk and Marshal of England. It was sometimes called “The Priory in the Wood” and was frequently visited as a place of pilgrimage. The buildings have disappeared, although a farmhouse was erected on some of the foundations, and there are remains of an archway. Recent geophysical recording has produced excellent results, complementary to an earthwork survey which has targeted the church and main coventual buildings. Saint Augustine Webster was the Prior of Axholme. When the Carthusians were called upon to acknowledge that the king was supreme head on earth of the church of England, Webster together with Robert Lawrence, prior of Beauvale, Nottinghamshire, went to London, and with the prior of the London Charterhouse, John Houghton, presented themselves before Cromwell, and begged to be excused from submission. They were sent to the Tower, where they were soon joined by Richard Reynolds, a Brigittine monk of Sion. These four were examined on 26 April 1535 before a committee of the privy council, of which Cromwell was a member. On their refusal to accept the act of supremacy, they were brought to trial before a special commission, and on the following day (29 April) were found guilty by a jury and condemned to death. The execution took place at Tyburn on 4 May 1535, when for the first time in English history ecclesiastics were brought out in their habits without undergoing the previous ceremony of degradation. The Carthusian monks were the first to suffer of the Forty Martyrs of England and Wales, and were canonized by Pope Paul VI in 1970.

Categories: Our Catholic Heritage