Curious London Memorials – 3. Charing Cross

January 19, 2011

Another royalty-related memorial, the Charing Cross – located outside Charing Cross railway station – is actually an embellished Victorian replica of one of a series of medieval memorials the apparently heartbroken King Edward I had erected in memory of his wife, Eleanor of Castile.

The original cross, which was originally located in the south of Trafalgar Square at Charing, was one of 12 built between 1291 and 1294 to mark the nightly resting places of the Queen’s funeral procession as it made it way from Lincoln to Westminster Abbey where she was buried.

The Queen had died at Harby near Lincoln in 1290 while on her way to meet her husband in Scotland. The original monument was demolished in 1647 by Parliamentary order. A plaque on the site indicates it is the point from where all distances on road signs to London were measured.

Only three of the original 12 crosses still stand – at Waltham Cross, Northampton and Geddington – although some remnants of others can be seen. Another London cross – in Cheapside – was demolished in the mid 1600s.

The Victorian era replica outside Charing Cross station dates from 1865. It was unveiled last year following a five year restoration project.

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