825.—Waltham Crossdetails

[Picture: 825.—Waltham Cross]
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825.—Waltham Cross

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On the death of Eleanor, wife of King Edward I:

“A long and melancholy journey the mourning king made with [her remains] to the chapel of King Edward the Confessor; and the nation, to whom Eleanor had been a “loving mother,” sincerely sympathized in his grief. The mournful procession rested in its progress at Lincoln, Stamford, Dunstable, St. Albans, and Charing, then a village, and some other places, about fifteeen in all, at every one of which, when the beloved and noble-hearted woman had passed from mortal view, Edward, to perpetuate the memory of her virtues and his love, erected a beautiful Gothic building in the form denominated a cross. (A view of the Charing Cross is given in Fig. 826.) Of these, three only now remain; namely at Geddington, Northampton, and Waltham—of which the last and most beautiful would probably by this time also have been lost, but for the good taste and liverality of the neighbouring gentry and others, who caused it to be restored. Its graceful form and elegant style may be best understood from the engraving (Fig. 825). No one can look upon it without lamenting the loss of so many of its fellows, not only for their beauty, but for the sake of the events they so beautifully record. If, however, pinnacles and battlements and fret-work fail, there is no danger that the heroic self-sacrifice, the holy love and sorrow which these crosses commemorate, will ever be forgotten.” (p. 226)

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