Longshanks was six foot two, but I do not know how tall his wife Eleanor was.
Had her husband reached his full lanky extent by the time they married, in his fifteenth year?
Edward Longshanks – or Edward I of England, to you – married the daughter of Ferdinand and Joan, rulers of Castille, in 1254. She was 14, and the marriage was a typical dynastic alliance; yet, against all the odds, Eleanor and Longshanks fell in love.
She stayed alongside him during England’s unrest, and Simon De Montfort ordered her removed from Windsor Castle after she tried to import troops in from Castille to help Henry III and Edward. She accompanied her husband on the eighth crusade, and later on progresses to internal strife in England.
And all the evidence points to the fact that Longshanks loved his Eleanor dearly.
After bearing him 16 children, the available records begin to speak of medication being brought in to help Eleanor with a fever. It never really left her. On a journey up to Lincoln, at a place called Harby, she died, and Edward brought her body back to Westminster Abbey.
Everywhere they stopped for a night on that long dark journey of the soul, Edward had a cross erected. The crosses were unusual: not your average village cross, but intricately carved limestone spires with likenesses of Eleanor gazing outwards. The crosses are now thought to have been to encourage prayers from the common people for dead Eleanor, to vouchsafe her way into Heaven.
Three of these crosses remain to this day. you can still see them, at Geddington, Northamptonshire; Hardington near Northampton; and Waltham Cross, Hertfordshire. The most spectacular, and least meddled with, is Geddington.
And once upon a time, Charing Cross was one of them too.
It was the most expensive: built of marble by the senior royal mason and an Abingdon sculptor. And folklore has it that Charing is a bastardisation of Cher Reine: dear queen.Though the more prosaic point out to the fact that cerring means a bend. The cross survived, standing outside Whitehall, until 1647 when the Reformation got it; though EM Barry”s replacement was put up just outside Charing Cross Station.