By placing a plaque at the Guildhall commemorating Queen Eleanor of Castile, the Grantham Civic Society are continuing a medieval love story which dates back to the 13th and 14th centuries.
A Spanish princess born around 1241, Eleanor married Prince Edward of England in 1254. He became King in 1272, and is regarded as one of England’s greatest and most successful kings. He died in 1307.
As Courtney Finn of Grantham Civic Society explains: “Eleanor was never far from his side, even going on crusade with her husband and bearing him as many as 15 children.
“Their long marriage of 35 years was a love match, but on November 28, 1290 she died at Harby in Nottinghamshire.
“The cortege carrying the Queen’s body came to Grantham on December 4 and at each of the 12 resting places on the journey to London the King ordered a cross to be erected in memory of Eleanor.
“This included a Grantham cross on St Peter’s Hill. It lasted until the Civil War, but now only three remain altogether, with a magnificent original at Geddington in Northamptonshire.
“The famous church of St Martin in the Fields in Trafalgar Square has, for some years, been involved in a Queen Eleanor charity cycle ride from Harby to London, which takes place over the August Bank Holiday weekend and follows the cortege route.
“Ruby Stuckey MBE, a much respected Granthamian, had the idea to commemorate Queen Eleanor, the lost cross and the work for the underprivileged of St Martin’s by erecting a plaque overlooking St Peter’s Hill.”
The civic society project has been supported by South Kesteven District Council, with the plaque designed by Graham Cook, St Wulfram’s Church architect, and made by local firm Skillingtons. It has been carved by their head stonemason Derren Rose.
The £6,000 cost of the plaque has been covered by donations locally, from St Martin’s cyclists and from Grantham Civic Society.
The cyclists will be in Grantham at 9am on Saturday, August 29, to see the plaque unveiled on the wall of the Guildhall by Mrs Stuckey. The society is encouraging the public to join members at the unveiling.
For more details on the cycle ride, go to www.queeneleanorcycleride.org.uk