A stricken Edward I erected memorial crosses to mark each resting stage of Eleanor of Castile's final journey to burial in London.
BY DAVID ROSS, EDITOR
Charing Cross was one of 12 "Eleanor Crosses" erected by a disconsolate Edward I when his wife Queen Eleanor of Castile died in 1290. Eleanor bore Edward 16 children in an unusually happy union for that period of arranged marriages.
There is a legend that Eleanor once saved Edward's life by sucking the poison from a wound he received while fighting in the Holy Land. This tale is unlikely to be true; it did not appear until well after the couple were dead, but it does show the extent to which their devotion to each other was known.
When Eleanor died at Harby, near Lincoln, in November 1290, a grief-stricken Edward ordered her embalmed, and her entrails were buried at Lincoln Cathedral. Her body was then carried in a somber procession to Westminster Abbey in London.
At each place where the procession stopped for the night, Edward had built a memorial cross in her honour. Today only the crosses at Waltham Cross (Hertfordshire), Geddington, and Hardingstone (both Northamptonshire) remain, and the cross at Charing is remembered only in the name Charing Cross.
The locations of the 12 crosses were as follows: Lincoln, Grantham, Stamford, Geddington, Northampton, Stony Stratford, Woburn, Dunstable, St Albans, Waltham, Westcheap, and Charing.
Discounted Historic Hotels
Name the Historic attraction
British Heritage Awards
Celebrate the best of British Heritage in our annual
British History Quiz
This famous landscape garden designer gained his odd nickname from his habit of telling clients that their estates had 'great capability of improvement'
His real first name was Lancelot
His father in law was garden designer and architect William Kent
This Day in British History
02 April, 1441
Building of King's College, Cambridge begins
Henry VI laid the foundation stone himself.