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M is for Mount Grace Priory

image Determined to visit another region of the UK for the A-Z Challenge, M has been achieved by visiting MOUNT GRACE PRIORY in North Yorkshire. We packed up the car full of our camping gear and excitedly headed North in the first week of the school summer holidays!

And what a wonderfully tranquil, fascinating visit Mount Grace Priory is. In a superb setting, you can only begin to imagine how much of a solace from every day life the 14th Century Carthusian Monks that established the medieval Charterhouse must have found at Mount Grace. Although interesting as the Manor House is that you first enter as you visit the site, for us the real interest lay in the ruins of the Priory.

A victim of the 16th century Henry VIII Reformation destruction of the monasteries, Mount Grace still provides a perfect glimpse of the majority of the chapel, the monks cells (with Cell 8 reconstructed as was so that you can picture a monks simple, spiritually led life) and some of the outbuildings. What we also enjoyed was picturing the cloister around which the monks walked in contemplation. Also fascinating was the lengths that the monks went to to ensure a fresh water supply and excellent plumbing – the supply houses can still be seen nestled in the trees in the hillside!

image Perfectly preserved alongside many of the cell doors were the feeding holes used by the monks who largely lived a hermit style life. Living in solitude, each monk occupied his own cell and came into contact with others in the chapel only for the night time praying hours, Sundays and feast-days. They were a silent order with a vegetarian diet, which consisted of crops grown by their ‘work’, tending their private garden within each cell.

We spent a good few hours at Mount Grace Priory and really enjoyed ourselves. As we’ve said a few times already, if we weren’t doing the 2014 A-Z Challenge, it’s unlikely that we would have visited Mount Grace with the kids this year. And what a fun experience and living lesson in history for the kids we would have missed. Great stuff – a visit we would recommend.

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