A special plaque to commemorate England’s 13th century Queen Eleanor was unveiled this morning.
The stone plaque was unveiled by Ruby Stuckey MBE who first proposed the idea of a memorial several years ago. Grantham was one of the places where a stone cross was built to mark one of 12 resting places where the funeral cortege stopped on its way to London following Eleanor’s death in Harby in Nottinghamshire in 1290.
Ruby led a blessing before unveiling the plaque on the front of the Guildhall overlooking St Peter’s Hill where the original cross was placed. It was destroyed during the Civil War. She said: “I am really delighted and thank you for the support of the people of Grantham and especially the Civic Society which is a wonderful organisation that continues to bring heritage to this town.”
Courtney Finn, chairman of Grantham Civic Society, introduced the unveiling, talking about Queen Eleanor, a Spanish princess who married Prince Edward in 1254. They were married for 35 years.
A group of cyclists from the Queen Eleanor Cycle Ride were also at the unveiling. The group cycles along the Eleanor cross route from Lincoln to London raising money for the Connection at St-Martin-in-the-Fields, a charity which raises money to help the homeless in central London.
Mr Finn said: “Ruby, 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. This Civic Society project has been supported by SKDC and the plaque has been 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.”
Queen Eleanor was never far from her husband’s side, even going to the Crusade’s with him. She bore him as many as 15 children. Their long marriage came to an end when Eleanor died on November 28, 1290. The cortege carrying her body came to Grantham on December 4 and at each of the resting places, the king ordered a cross to be erected in memory of his Queen. Only three of the original 12 crosses remain. One of these is at Geddington in Northamptonshire, the next stop for the Queen Eleanor Cycle Ride this evening.