FRANCIS LANCELOTT, ESQ.
Queens of England. Vol.1.
Edward erected a cenotaph for her, on which ia placed her figure, whilst the sides are adorned with the arms of Castile.
Over her grave in Westminster her sorrowing lord erected an elegant altarshaped tomb of grey Petworth marble, having on the north side the arms of England, of Castile, of Leon, and Ponthieu, and surmounted with her reclining effigy cast in bronze, by Pietro Cavallini. This effigy is a beautiful specimen of art, and if, as it doubtless is, a true likeness, the kind-hearted Queen must have been a surpassing model of feminine beauty. Her form is elegant, her features regular, soft, and delicate, and the expression of her countenance a tender, languishing smile. No wonder the masculine monarch deeply deplored the loss of one so lovely in person, so amiable in temper, so virtuous in mind.
Previous to the Reformation, a tablet by the side of the tomb bore a Latin inscription, with the following translation, supposed to have been made by Skelton, poet laureate to Henry the Eighth :—
"Queen Eleanora is here interred,
A worthy noble dame,
Sister unto the Spanish King,
Of royal hlood and fame,
King Edward's wife, first of that name,
And Prince of Wales by right,
Whose father, Henry III.,
Was sure an English wight,
He craved her wife unto his son.
The Prince himself did go
On that embassage luckily
As chief with many moe.
This knot of linked marriage
Her brother Alphonso liked,
And so 'tween sister and this Prince
Tho marriage up was striked.
The dowry rich and royal was.
For such a Prince most meet,
For Ponthieu was the marriage gift,
A dowry rich and great ;
A woman both in council wise,
Religious, fruitful, meek,
Who did increase her husband's friends,
And 'larged his honour eke.
Learn to die."
In accordance with the custom of the times, Edward bestowed on the abbey of Westminster the manors of Hendon, in Middlesex, Birdbrook in Kent, Westerham in Essex, together with Langdon, Eaton Bridge, and lands in Warwickshire, Buckinghamshire, and other places, for dirges, masses, alma, and other holy and charitable services, for the soul of Fleanora. Up to within a short period of the Reformation, thirty wax tapers perpetually burnt around her tomb. Eabian, who wrote in the early period of the sixteenth century, says, "Two waxe tapers are brennynge upon her tombe both daye and nighte, whiche so hath contvnued syne the daye of her burynge to this present day."
The crosses erected to her memory were all beautiful specimens of art ; but. singular to relate, history has nowhere recorded even the name of the artist whose genius so ably recorded the conjugal affection of the King. Thirteen of these memorial monuments once graced the land. According to Peck, they were situate at Hirdeby, Lincoln, Grantham, Stamford, Geddington, Northampton, Stoney-Stratford, Dunstable, St. Alban's, Waltham, Westcheap, and Charing Cross. Now, however, only three remain—those of Geddington, Northampton, and Waltham.
Of all the ornamental gotbic crosses erected to conjugal affection by Edward the First, that of Charing, which occupied the site where the statue of King Charles now stands, and which commanded an imposing view of the abbey and royal palace at Westminster, was perhaps the finest. It was the one Eleanora's royal widower most frequently gazed upon with sad but fond emotion, and as French was his familiar tongue, ho named it the Cross of his chere Heine—• dear Queen—which was speedily corrupted into Charing, so that every time Charing Cross is mentioned, a tribute, unintentionally, is paid to the memory of Eleanora of Castile.
Like many other noble structures, this
cross was demolished by the over-wrought
zeal of the early Protestants. Regard
less of its ornamental situation, the
beauty of its structure, and the noble
design of its erection, the House of Com
mons voted it down as popish and super
stitious; and in August, 1647, it was
levelled with the dust. This ruthless
demolition occasioned the following not
unhumorous sarcasm, occasionally met
with amongst the popular sonnets of
those times :—