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FRANCIS LANCELOTT, ESQ. Queens of England. Vol.1.


Sir John Froissart's Chronicles of England, France, Spain and the Ajoining Countries from the latter part of the reign of Edward II to the coronation of Henry IV in 12 volumes 

Chronicles of Enguerrand De Monstrelet (Sir John Froissart's Chronicles continuation) in 13 volumes 

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Queens of England. Vol.1.
page 156

beloved consort, whilst travelling through Lincolnshire, had been attacked with a severe autumnal fever, and was now lying on the verge of death, at the house of one William Weston, in the little village of Hirdeby, near Grantham. Relinquishing at once his expedition into Scotland, Edward, with an anxious beating heart, flew to the couch of his adored Eleanora, swift as hard horseriding through a wild country would permit. But in those days good roads, not to mention railway trains, scarcely existed; when horses became exhausted, others could not be obtained on the instant. Inns were neither many nor commodious, and indeed speedy travelling, in the sense of the present day, was not dreamed of ; so that at last, when the King, half mad with excitement, and worn out with fatigue, reached Hirdeby, and rushed into the house of the loyal William Weston, it was only to weep over the clay-eold remains of his adored Queen, who had expired on the twentyninth of November, three days previous to the arrival of her sorrowing lord. The dejection of Edward at the unexpected loss of Eleanora of Castile, was for a period alarmingly intense. He wept like a child for hours together, passed much of his time in gloomy meditation, and would neither attend to the affairs of Scotland, nor any other business, public or private, until after he had performed the last sad office to her breathless clay. The sorrow of her family at the sudden loss of so good a mother, was most acute ; whilst, by the whole people, her death was viewed as α national calamity. Nor is this sur irising, as, according to the writings of ficr contemporaries, " Her virtues were too numerous to mention : to the nation she was a loving mother, and, as it were, the column and pillar of the realm. She neither permitted the subject to be oppressed by regal extraction, nor weighed down by the domineering influence of foreigners, and therefore it was that there was great sorrowing, because she was the greatest comforter of the distressed, and the sweetest healer of discord in the land." It may be well to mention that the slanders in the popular ancient ballad, entitled " A Warning against Pride, being the fall of Queen Eleanora, consort to Edward the First, King of England," are quite untrue. The writer has evidently possessed little or no knowledge of history, and confounding Eleanora of Provence with the subject of the present memoir, has enlarged upon that Queen's extortion upon the city of London, attributed the same to Eleanora of Castile, and thus disiicd up an absurd heap of falsehoods, the accuracy of which too many of the common people have never once doubted. In the bitterest grief Edward followed the remains of her who, for thirty-six years, had been his inseparable companion, throughout the whole distance from Hirdoby to Grantham, and thence along the ancient high north road by thirteen stages to London, bestowing gifts with a liberal hand on the various religious houses along the line of progress. At the end of each stage the "noble corse" rested, generally in the heart of a town, till a bier was prepared, when being met by the neighbouring ecclesiastics, and accompanied by the chancellor and attendant nobles, it was conveyed with religious gravity and stateliness before the high altar of the principal church, where, through the whole night, it was watched by the holy fathers, who ceaselessly chaunted the imposing service. At each of these resting-places the royal mourner, to induce the passers-by to pause and offer up their prayers for the soul of las departed Eleanora, vowed to build up a cross to her memory, a vow which he religiously fulfilled. On approaching London, the solemn procession was met by the principal members of the city corporation, who, clad in deep mourning, escorted the royal corpse to its final resting-place, Westminster Abbey, where it was entombed at the foot of Henry the Third, in St. Edward's Chapel, on the seventeenth of December, with imposing obsequies. The body of Eleanora of Castile was doubtless embalmed, as her heart and bowels were taken out, the former being sent to the church of her favourite order the Dominicans, whilst the latter were buried in the cathedral at Lincoln, where

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