Eleanor Crosses

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.

Eleanor Cross

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.

Eleanor Cross Inscription
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.

Eleanor Cross

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.

Church in Geddington

I can’t resist taking a photo of thatched cottages.

Thatched cottage

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.

Bridge + Ford

Geddington is a lovely wee place to visit.

Back Home

We went on another British road trip last week and I managed to be organised enough to schedule some posts to be published while I was away, just in case I didn’t have access to the internet. It turned out that I didn’t feel much like being online anyway, I was too tired as usual, what with running around during the day.

We visited mainly places which we hadn’t visited before. It’s sad but true that I enjoy visiting places in the UK which I’ve heard about, mainly on the TV or radio – often just on road traffic reports, and I wonder what they’re like if I’ve not visited them.

So now I can envisage Wigan, Haydock, Biddulph Gardens, Buxton, Alcester, Blenheim Palace (Woodstock and Bladon) Geddington, Market Harborough, Geoff Hamilton’s Garden at Barnsdale (Rutland), Uppingham, Oakham, Wetherby, Northallerton, Mount Grace Priory, Sedgefield, Washington Village, Morpeth, Rothbury, Cragside and Wooler. The only places we had visited before were Alcester, Blenheim/Woodstock, Morpeth, Cragside and Wooler.

This time we started off driving down south via Moffat in the Scottish Borders. The bookshop was open and I bought two books –
1. Murder Among Friends by Elizabeth Ferrars
2. Crazy Pavements by Beverley Nichols

It was a bookish beginning to our break, we were heading for Wigan, an unlikely place to visit but as I had just read George Orwell’s Road to Wigan Pier I was intrigued to find out what it was like now. It has a newish shopping mall but you can tell from the older buildings that Wigan was indeed down at heel in the 1930s. Unlike many places, mainly down south, there was virtually nothing in the way of art deco/1930s buildings. From which I assume that nobody was doing any building at that time, it was a very depressed area. It’s not exactly vibrant at the moment but it’s still an awful lot better than Kirkcaldy, my nearest large town, which seems to have yet another empty shop each time I visit it.

We stopped off at Buxton, mainly because it was a Georgian spa town and has associations with Jane Austen.

Sedgefield was chosen as an overnight visit mainly because it was Tony Blair’s constituency when he was an MP and I wanted to compare it with Kirkcaldy. In the end I didn’t even take any photos there as it was such a wee place with just a few shops, a village really. I feel quite unreasonably aggrieved with the inhabitants of Sedgefield for voting in Tony Blair as their MP and allowing Blair to set off on his egomaniacal merry power binge which has put us in the horrendous position we are in now.

Anyway, that’s what I’ve been up to over the last week or so and I plan to show you some photos of the various places which I hope you might be quite interested to see.

What did I buy when I was away? Not a lot really, apart from some more books, but that’s another blogpost.