"Warrington takes on her very small plate of fact and serves up a full feast, filling in history’s faint outline, deploying every scrap of antiquarian and contemporary scholarship and providing a well-researched insight into Eleanor’s life, Edward’s heartfelt vision, and the different fates of each individual cross since erection."
--Times Literary Supplement

The Eleanor Crosses

The Story of King Edward I's Lost Queen and her Architectural Legacy

Decca Warrington

The Eleanor Crosses begins in November 1290 with the untimely death in a Lincolnshire village of Queen Eleanor of Castile, beloved consort of King Edward I of England. A sombre journey of more than 200 miles must follow, to transport the queen’s body to Westminster for burial – the devastated king leading the way, walking beside the coffin of his all but constant companion during 36 years of marriage.
With seasonal conditions adding even more miles to the cortège’s route, the king determines that this journey will never be forgotten. He envisages a building project of unprecedented scale and imagination: the construction of an elaborate stone cross at the journey’s start and at all eleven nightly stopping places, ending at the Thames-side village of Charing, in what is now the centre of London… 

Duly built, these crosses served as focal points for prayers for the queen’s departed soul. They were also artistic masterpieces, the fruit of the skills of the finest craftsmen of the age. Today only three of the original twelve survive, but each cross has had its own story. Together they reveal much about major changes at key periods in British history, religious conflict, civil war and world war, as well as shifts in attitudes to the past. In The Eleanor Crosses, Decca Warrington tells this tale of survival and continuity over seven centuries, and also offers a new perspective on the remarkable life and death of the nowadays little-known queen whose legacy they are – Eleanor of Castile, the woman who won the heart of one of England’s most forceful and charismatic kings. 

Decca Warrington is a philosophy graduate of Manchester and Sussex Universities, and in a varied career has worked in a number of roles ranging from practising archaeologist to NHS manager. The constant throughout her life has been a passion for the history of art, and her particular fascination with the Eleanor Crosses grew into an overwhelming urge to learn more about their history and then to write this book. She lives in Kirtlington, Oxfordshire, with her partner.

£14.99 paperback

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196 pages
ISBN: 9781909930650
June 2018