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Carthusians

The Carthusian order was founded by Saint Bruno of Cologne in 1084 and takes its name from the  Chartreuse Mountains where  Saint Bruno lived as a hermit. The Carthisian order was originally more austere than other religious orders. The monks or nuns live in separate cells rather than dormitories and they tended to eat alone not in communal refractories.
The first Carthusian house in England was established by Henry II at Witham Friary in 1172. This was part of his penance for the murder of  Thomas Becket in 1170. The priory was awarded lead mining rights at  Charterhouse near Priddy. This wouldhave put thm into close contact with the Knights Templars a Haydon Grange Farm. Another Carthisian priory was established in Hinton Charterhouse in 1227 by the widow of the Earl of Salisbury who also awarded the manor of Norton St Philip to support the new priory
Records dated 1241 suggest there may have been accommodation for curates in Chewton Mendip which was still held by the priory of Jumieges in Normandy. Other records mention a Church House, a rectory manor Court House and a priory farm which may have been Sages Farm.
The Carthusians had held a sheep farm at Green Ore since 1337 but the lead mines and sheep grange were economic assets and there is no record of them establishing any places of worship in the Mendips. The work would have been done by lay brothers who may have taken the monastic vows but lacked the education to become clergymen. It is possible what was later called Egelfelde House was built to accommodate lay brothers responsible for sheep farms or possibly lead mines.
 Henry V founded Sheen Priory as a Carthusian priory in 1414 and awarded land in Chewton Mendip previously held by Hayling Island priory which had taken over from Jumieges at the beginning of the 100 years war.
The Bonvilles were the owners of the temporal manor when Sheen priory was established and were probably living in what became Manor Farm.
The Cathusians held the land  until the dissolution of the monasteries. The Grey family were probably the initial beneficiaries of the form Carthusian farms in Chewton Mendip followed by the Manners and Kingmill families.
 The Rosewell , Eglsefield and Waldegraves may have also been recipients of Carthusian lands. The Flower family may have been introduced to the village via a connection to Carthusian monks.
 The Cartusians may have been the source of a sacrafield   tax or tithe, the sacrafield properties were near Eakers Hill and Tor Hole.  The term was still used in the  1740 and 1766 ledgers but it was already an obscure term when Collinson’s History of Somerset was published in 1791. James Rosewell was the laast person recorded as a tenant of a sacrafield property
 The  1794   maps give an idea of the extent of the former monastic land which included land held  which was then held by the Kingsmills, Jenkins and other families. The  1839 tithe map makes no reference to Sacrafield properties.
Some Victorian histories state there was a Carthusian Priory in Chewton Mendip but the view of some historians is to dismiss this as folklore. If there were Carthusuian buildings in the village they would not have been anything like Glastonbury Abbey even if they held monks.
Undoubtedly the Chewton Priory that appears in the old photographs and is remembered by some of the senior citizens was Victorian and Mr Jenkins’ house may have the source of older misconceptions.
 However, recently rediscovered material held in the Hampshire Archives suggest there was something of significance on the site that was linked to the Carthusians
 Refer to the following websites for more information about the Carthusians.
 http://www.british-history.ac.uk/report.aspx?compid=37816
 http://www.hintoncharterhouse.com/priory.htm
 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Witham_Friary
http://www.thecharterhouse.org/
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