The Eleanor Cross

E. M. Barry

Restored 1865

Charing Cross Road, London

Source Illustrated London News

The long article that surrounds the engraving has interest for at least half a dozen reasons, not least of which is its history of Queen Eleanor’s memorials, their relation to royal finances, and the legendary and authentic sources of the name “Charing.” It provides a good dose of medieval history, including a summary biography of Eleanor, and tells us the names of the Victorian architect, sculptor, and builders as well as what is known of the medieval ones, explaining the monument’s relation to the Charing Cross railway hotel. It also reports a somewhat bizarre argument with the Hungerford family, who wanted the refurbished (or re-created) monument named after them and who criticized the paper for providing the public with their family history “‘darkened with tragic mysteries and wild eccentricities,’ such as the stories of the wife of the house executed at Tyburn, for, as our correspondent terms it, the ‘aristocratic crime’ of poisoning her husband, and of the extravagant knight who paid five hundred guineas for a Court wig.” The Hungerfords should have known it's unwise to argue with mass media.

Make sure you compare the engraving at left to modern photographs of the Eleanor Cross. Which makes it seem larger? —  George P. Landow

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You may use this image without prior permission for any scholarly or educational purpose as long as you (1) credit the Hathi Digital Library Trust and the University of Michigan and (2) link your document to this URL in a web document or cite the Victorian Web in a print one. — George P. Landow]