THE history of which a translation is here offered, was written by Dom Maurice Chauncey, a monk of the London Charter House about the year 1539, shortly after the destruction of that House by Cromwell and his agents. It describes in simple and touching language the condition of the House just before its downfall, which was then recent - the measures adopted to force the new dogma of the Royal Supremacy upon its members-the death and sufferings of those who refused the oath, and the dispersion of the rest after many and severe trials. Dom Maurice Chauncey was born in Hertfordshire about A.D. 1513. He was educated at Oxford and Gray's Inn, and entered the Carthusian Order before he was twenty, and was professed in 1534, Blessed John Houghton being then Prior. During the persecution which followed that Martyr's death, Dom Maurice was zealous in resisting the endeavours of Cromwell to induce the monks to acknowledge the supremacy of the King, and was one of four who were sent away from the London House into another House of the Order near Hull, with the object, it would seem, of breaking down his constancy. He returned after a time to London, and partly through the influence of the Monks of St. Bridgett at Sion House, and partly cajoled by representations and promises which gave him hopes that his taking the oath would preserve the London House-he yielded, and took the oath; but speedily repented, and for ever afterwards deeply grieved over what he had done. In 1538, the London House was broken up, and the monks expelled on a small pension, which, it seems probable, Dom Maurice never received, as he at once fled into Belgium, and was received, with one London Lay-brother, the companion of his flight, into the Carthusian House of Val de Grace, near Bruges, where he renewed his vows. Sixteen years afterwards, in June, 1555, on the accession of Queen Mary, he returned into England, and with someothers who had gone abroad, and some who had remained in England, he restored the Carthusian Observance at Sheen, in Surrey, at the old Carthusian House there, of which he became Prior. On the death of Queen Mary, the monks were again driven out of England, and were received into the Carthusian House of Val de Grace, and after two years, he was made Prior of that House, by the General Chapter. When, however, the numbers increased, he was permitted to choose a place where he and his fellow-countrymen could live by themselves, so he bought a house in Bruges, to which he gave the name of Sheen Anglorum. Here he remained until 1578, when the Catholic Religion In that region being overthrown, the monasteries also were broken up. Dom Maurice and his companions fled into France without resources, seeking and not finding where they could be received. They settled at length at Louvain, in the greatest poverty. Dom Maurice, as Prior, then went to Spain to implore the King to help them, and having accomplished his mission, at once set out to return, but seized with illness on the journey, he took refuge in the Carthusian House in Paris, where he shortly afterwards died, on the 12th of July, 1581, aged sixty-eight years. On his body being prepared for burial, there was found fastened in it, an iron chain, the instrument alike and the witness of his lasting penance. It remains to mention that by an ordinance of the General Chapter of the Sacred Carthusian Order, held at the Grande Chartreuse on the 9th of May, 1887, and following days, a feast of the Order, in commemoration of these martyrs, was appointed to be kept on the 4th of May, in accordance with the decree of the Congregation of Rites of the 29th of December of the previous year.
Dom Maurice Chauncey, Paperback, ISBN 10: 1491248378, ISBN 13: 9781491248379