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Coventry Altar Stone Blessed at Mount Grace

On Friday 11 October, staff from the Herbert visited Mount Grace Priory Ruins in Northallerton Yorkshire. Chris Kirby, Head of Collections at the Herbert Art Gallery & Museum, Keeper of Collections, Paul Thompson, and Senior Curator, Martin Roberts, visited the site along with a number of Trustees from the Charterhouse, Coventry City Council and members of Coventry Cathedral and Diocese.

Like Coventry's Charterhouse Priory, Mount Grace is a Carthusian Monastery, and is the best preserved example in the country. As St Anne's Charterhouse in Coventry is currently under a restoration development, the team thought that the trip would be a good way to find out how the Mount Grace staff have remade their monastery into a tourist attraction.

On the visit, the team took with them the altar stone from the Coventry Charterhouse, which was blessed by the Archbishop of York and the Diocese of Middlesborough during a special service in the Mount Grace ruins. The Purbeck Marble altar stone has a polished face and five deeply incised crosses which represent the five wounds of Christ. The stone was part of an altar used outside the Nave of the Coventry Charterhouse between 1500 and 1539. The stone can be seen on display in the City of Spires section in the Herbert's History Gallery.

The purpose of the Mount Grace visit was for the Herbert and the Charterhouse staff to see a very similar building to the Coventry monastery, which would help them to understand the original layout and the buildings that have been demolished.It would also allow them to see how the visitor attraction operates on a daily basis.

Chris Kirby, Head of Collections at the Herbert Art Gallery & Museum, said: "The trip gave us a very fascinating insight into how the Mount Grace Priory Ruins Visitor Site operates, and it was great to see another preserved Carthusian Monastery. The blessing of the altar stone was a very special experience and we have brought away a lot of ideas that we can use to develop the display of the Charterhouse."

For more information about Mount Grace visitor site, including things to do, opening times and prices go to, please visit: www.nationaltrust.org.uk/mount-grace-priory

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