All our services are normally open to the public and the Gatekeeper would be happy to admit anyone who would like to attend.
However, at the moment, due to the pandemic we are remaining closed to the public for the time being, as our first priority is the health and wellbeing of the older and more vulnerable residents who live her permanently.
The services use the 17th century language of the Book of Common Prayer. On weekdays there are usually about half-a-dozen of us. On Sundays we are about 30, and we sing a few hymns.
Monday to Saturday
- 08.00 Morning Prayer
- 17.30 Evening Prayer
- On Saints’ Days and Holy Days, we have a Eucharist instead of Evening Prayer
- 10.00 Eucharist
Charterhouse is a Peculiar, meaning that it’s overseen by an Ordinary (the Master), rather than the Bishop. In practice, the chapel priest (the Preacher) is appointed in consultation with London Diocese, and is licensed by the Bishop of London.
We hold Baptisms, Marriage Blessings, and Memorial Services according to demand. Please contact the Preacher. Church weddings are permitted on rare occasions, the Archbishop of Canterbury’s Office granting permission only when bride or groom lives or works at the Charterhouse, or has lived or worked here. However, we do hold a licence to conduct civil marriages in other parts of the building. For details contact our Events department.
Who can get married in the Charterhouse?
Several venues on the site are licensed for civil weddings, conducted by the Islington Borough registrar. The Chapel is not available for civil weddings, but it is often used for a service of blessing following a civil wedding. Only a small number of people qualify for a Church of England marriage in the Chapel – namely, people who live (or have lived) on the site, and people who work (or have worked) for the Charterhouse. Regular members of the Chapel congregation may qualify.
Music in the Chapel
The Chapel is on the London Diocesan list of music venues and is available to musicians both for rehearsal and for performance. Recent users include The Hanover Band, Fretwork, The Sixteen, and The White Collar Choir (made up of young lawyers). Please contact The Preacher for further information.
Little remains of the 15th century Carthusian chapter house which occupied the site of the south aisle of the present chapel, though the ante-chapel (like an entrance lobby) from 1512 still survives.
The north aisle and the Tuscan arcade were designed by Francis Carter, who was also responsible for the spacious cloister which joins the chapel to the main building. This cloister is a place of burial and memorial. The windows face Chapel Court, the site of the original 1349 church, a burial ground chapel for victims of the Black Death.
Carter’s work was carried out for the governors of the charity Thomas Sutton set up in 1611. His memorial dominates the north aisle. The King James Hospital in Charterhouse was established for the care of 80 Brothers – elderly, single men who were lacking home and provision – and for the education of 40 boys from poor families. The school and almshouse shared this site until 1872, when the school moved to Godalming in Surrey. The charity’s executive officer was, and is, the Master, who is assisted by the Preacher and other staff. In 2018 women were admitted to the Charterhouse as Brothers.
The Brothers on the whole were not men who command sufficient funds for them to be mentioned on the many memorials on the chapel walls. For many years they were interred in their own burial ground within the Charterhouse estate. A few memorial stones remain on the wall which borders Clerkenwell Road. From 1854, Tower Hamlets Cemetery was used, until 1929, when part of the churchyard of St Mary the Virgin, Little Hallingbury in Essex became the Brothers’ burial ground. Little Hallingbury was one of the estates Thomas Sutton left in the charity’s original endowment, and was where he had originally planned to set up his almshouse and school. An annual Thanksgiving Service takes place there in July.
For more information please click here to email the Preacher.