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Re: Eleanor Crosses
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Posted by: John Padwick on December 5, 1999
In Reply to: Eleanor Crosses
Posted by Craig Lockley on October 19, 1998
Subject: Re: Eleanor Crosses
I live in Geddington, Northants, within sight of the Eleanor Cross. It was erected in 1294 by Edward I to mark one of the resting places of the body of his wife on its way from Harby, Nottinghamshire to London: Charing Cross
(Chere Reigne = Dear Queen. It continues to be the central feature of the village, standing over the village well, and young people still gather there in the evenings (sometimes to the annoyance of older residents of the village! I don't think things have changed that much in 700 years!)

The cross is triangular in shape, rising above seven restored steps, with its lower tiers decorated with a variety of patterns. The whole is surmounted by pinnacles to a height of nearly forty feet, below which are three recessed figures of Eleanor. Below again are coats of arms, two on each face.

An important royal palace was situated in Geddington, in Rockingham Forest, which was a royal hunting ground. Geddington became a popular summer resort for the Kings and Queens of England. Richard I and William, King of Scotland visited Geddington on Good Friday 1194; King John visited in 1201; and Ed ward I visited many times with Eleanor. There is no part of the palace now in existence, but it would have stood just to the north of the village church, with stables, a falconry and royal mews. A door in the north aisle of the church is known as Kings' Door

Geddington itself is a very active, thriving and beautiful village of about 1300 people, four miles north of Kettering on the A43. A Roman Road ran through the village, which stands on the River Ise and the bridge over the brook, across which the body of Eleanor would have travelled, is still in existence, having been built in 1250. A ford is an alternative way of crossing the brook, which rises in Naseby Field, the site of the battle of Naseby, the decisive battle of the English Civil War, 1645, where Parliament under Cromwell routed the King. The brook must have run red with blood.

It has been said that the Eleanor Crosses also served the purpose for Edward of marking in some way his territory, and the boundaries of his power, although I am not aware of any proof of this.

Hope this is useful - I'm conscious that I'm responding a year or so too late, but it's the best I can do! Please respond if there's anything else you want to know.


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