Eleanor Crosses at Geddington and Hardingstone in Northants (1290s)
Queen Eleanor Cross Geddington
Queen Eleanor’s Crosses When Eleanor, the Infante de Castile and wife of King Edward, died at Harby in November of 1290, shortly after giving birth to her 17th child, her body was first taken to the nearby St Catherine’s Priory at Lincoln. Her viscera were buried at Lincoln Cathedral and her embalmed body taken by road to London for burial at Westminster Abbey. The route was unusually well recorded. A large stone cross was erected at each of the twelve places that the cortege made an overnight stop. Puritan sentiment of Cromwell’s soldiers in the 1660s saw the destruction of all but three of them, only those at Geddington, Hardingstone and Waltham Cross, still remaining. A small piece of the first cross from St. Catherine’s Priory can be seen within the grounds of Lincoln Castle. Her final journey took Queen Eleanor’s body down the Great North Road but the crosses once erected at Grantham and at Stamford are lost. Here it seems the pilgrimage took a westerly turn for the next cross stands in Geddington, in Northamptonshire. The next cross, at Hardingstone, also remains but those at Stoney Stratford, Woburn, Dunstable and St. Albans are lost. The Great North Road is regained at Waltham Cross where stands the third remaining cross. There were other crosses at Cheapside and, made more famous for its railway station, Charing Cross.