Geddington Cross

Hardingstone Cross

Waltham Cross

The Queen Eleanor Crosses

It was not unusual in the Middle Ages for memorial crosses to be built to encourage by-passers to pray for the soul of the departed.

However, it was unusual, but not unique, to have crosses built along the route of a funeral procession.   The precedent, from which Edward almost certainly got the idea of the crosses, was the   series of monuments built to commemorate the funeral procession of King Louis IX.

 

These monuments, were not as resplendent as those Edward commissioned and did not survive as three of the Queen Eleanor Crosses miraculously have done.

Two chroniclers at the time give us the reasons for the site selection of the Queen Eleanor crosses 

The Chronicler of St Albans noted that;

 “in every place or vill in which the body rested the Lord King commanded a wonderful cross to be set up.”

The Chronicler of Dunstable Priory noted that;

“when the body of the said Queen was departed from Dunstable, the bier was set down in the centre of the market place while the King’s Chancellor and the great men there and those present had marked a suitable place where they might afterwards erect, at royal expense, a cross of wonderful size, our Prior being present and sprinkling water.”

12 Crosses were erected, of which 3 survive.  They are listed In order of there location along the funeral route.

Lincoln

Swine Green near St Catherine’s Priory at the foot of Cross-o-Cliff  Hill.  Destroyed in the Civil War.  A fragment of a statue of Eleanor can be seen in the castle grounds.

 

Grantham

St Peter’s Hill on the High Street. Destroyed by Colonel Rossiter’s Parliamentary garrison in 1645 & the stone removed for building material

 

Stamford

Similar in appearance to the surviving crosses at Northampton and Waltham. Destroyed in 1659.  Site held to be in Scotgate where the Clock House now stands.

 

Geddington

Surviving cross in the middle of the village opposite the church.

 

Hardingstone

Surviving cross near Delapre Abbey. 

 

Stony Stratford

Destroyed during the Civil War but a modern building on the site bears a commemorative plaque.  

 

Woburn Cross

Destroyed during the Civil War.  However, no records exist to indicate where or if it was built.

 

Dunstable

Destroyed.  Site was in the market place where Watling Street meets Ickneild way near the entrance to Church Street.  Plaque on the wall of the National Westminster Bank.

 

St Albans Abbey

Destroyed in 1640.  Site was in the High Street near the Clock Tower.  A plaque on the Clock Tower commemoratives the site.

 

Waltham Cross

Surviving cross.

 

West Cheap (Cheapside)

Opposite Wood Street at the west end of Cheapside.  No plaque.

 

Charing Cross

Replica at Charing Cross Station.  Original stood on the site of Charles 1 statute at Trafalgar Square.