Thomas Sutton's reputation as the wealthiest commoner in England at the time of his death in 1611 was matched by the scale of the charity which he founded at the Charterhouse in Clerkenwell. It was the most lavishly endowed charity created between the Reformation and the eighteenth century, consisting of the largest almshouse ever founded in England and a school which developed into one of its leading public schools. The royal connection established under James I has continued to the present day, its governors have been leading figures in church and state, and the Masters have included men who were eminent in their chosen field. The almshouse has been home to distinguished almsmen and the school has educated many boys who went on to distinguished careers.
This new history examines the Charterhouse's significance as England's leading charity and the support and opposition that it has attracted, against a background of the changing pattern of charitable care and the education of the young. And it portrays the colourful life of the community and the cast of characters connected with Thomas Sutton's charity over the past four centuries. Publication timed ahead of 400th anniversary of the creation of the charity by Thomas Sutton in 2011. This work includes a foreword by HRH the Duke of Edinburgh, a governor of Charterhouse. Charterhouse is one of London's oldest institutions and most important benefactors over the last 400 years.
Stephen Porter is an acknowledged expert on London's history. His other books include The Great Plague ('An excellent introduction' Sunday Telegraph), London: A History in Paintings & Illustrations ('Glorious... brings London vividly to life' Simon Jenkins) & Pepys's London ('A compelling, lively account' BBC History Magazine). He is a Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries and of the Royal Historical Society. After twenty-five years living in the capital he now lives in Stratford-Upon-Avon.