Have you ever heard of Eleanor Crosses? I ask because Jack had no idea what I was talking about when I noticed on a map that we were close to an Eleanor Cross, when we were away on our recent road trip to England.
Queen Eleanor of Castile was married to King Edward I better known as The Hammer of the Scots to a lot of people and Logshanks to others, and a ghastly horror if you’re Scottish. He was the Edward who had William Wallace executed and stole the Stone of Destiny from Scone Palace in Perthshire and took it down to Westminster.
He seems to have been genuinely close to his wife though and when she died near Lincoln in 1290 he had her body moved to London, making 12 resting stops on the way. At each stop he had a huge stone cross erected in her memory. Only three are still surviving, luckily we were near two of them.
The one above is just outside Northampton, on the edge of what is a very busy road now. As you can see someone has left a wreath there.
The one below is even bigger and is now a sort of traffic island in a very historic village called Geddington, which is lovely and peaceful.
This ancient church – St Mary Magdalene is just a few steps away from the cross so presumably the funeral procession stopped overnight here as there was a religious community there. I love old graveyards and I noticed that the two war memorials in the grounds of the church had a lot of the same names as the ancient tombstones, it seems that people didn’t move away from the area – unless they had to.
I can’t resist taking a photo of thatched cottages.
The old bridge and ford below seems so English to me, there had been a lot of rain so a few cars turned back rather than chance the ford while we were there, so the bridge is still in constant use, cyclists were happy to go through the water though.
Geddington is a lovely wee place to visit.