Charing Cross Railway Station's Cross

Since Charing Cross Railway Station was not specifically built for Christian worship, why does 'Cross' feature in the name? Can a cross be found there?

Charing Cross Station - London

Charing Cross
70ft high 1863 replica of Eleanor's Cross outside Charing Cross Station

The cross at Charing Cross Station in London is the reproduction of an Eleanor Cross. Other Eleanor Crosses include Waltham Cross, Geddington Cross and Hardingstone Cross.

Just 1.5 miles south of King's Cross is Charing Cross Station (map), opened in 1864.

The name Charing is derived from the Anglo-Saxon cearring, which means a bend in the river. There is another, more romantic theory of the name, which refers to the death of Queen Eleanor in 1290. King Edward I erected the cross in her memory and at that time, French was the language of the Court. 'My dear queen' in French is Chère Reine, which might have become Charing over time.

On 1 November 1254, the future King Edward I married Eleanor of Castile, Spain, and they were devoted to one another. She accompanied her husband on military campaigns and two years before their coronation, while fighting in the Crusades in Palestine, he was stabbed by a poisoned dagger in his arm. There is a legend that she saved his life by sucking the poison from that wound.

Eleanor died on 28th November 1290 at the manor house of Richard de Weston near Lincoln, about 130 miles north of London, and her body was taken to Westminster Abbey in London for a state funeral service. It took many days for the cortege to complete its journey from Lincoln and a memorial cross was placed at each of the twelve overnight resting places, the final stop being made about ½ mile from the Abbey, just south of Trafalgar Square.

That memorial cross was destroyed in 1647 and later replaced by a statue of King Charles I which still stands today. (Behind that statue a plaque reads: "On the site now occupied by the statue of King Charles was erected the original Queen Eleanor's Cross a replica of which, stands in front of Charing Cross Station. Mileages from London are measured from the site of the original cross.")

Outside Charing Cross Station, two hundred yards from Trafalgar Square, stands an ornate replica of the original Eleanor cross, which was erected when the station was built, to advertise the railway hotel.

See also Waltham Cross

Charing Cross Station - Glasgow

The Charing Cross Station in Glasgow (map) was opened on 15th March 1886 on the first underground line in Scotland. It connects the east and west parts of the city centre. In 1960 the line, just two and quarter miles long, became the first main line railway to be electrified in Scotland.

The station facilities currently include a payphone, a cashpoint, a newsagent (WH Smiths), loos, and a bicycle storage rack...

...but no cross.

Other railway stations with 'Cross' in the name


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