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Stony Stratford Cross

The Stony Stratford Cross was one of twelve Eleanor Crosses.

Whilst a few other crosses have survived almost intact for over 700 years, the Stony Stratford Cross survived only half that time. It was destroyed during the 1642-1651 Civil War between Parliamentarians and Royalists.

Stony Stratford Cross

Artists impression of the Stony Stratford Cross
Artists impression of the Eleanor Cross at Stony Stratford
A painting by Peter Schneider

Queen Eleanor died at Harby near Lincoln in 1290 and King Edward I escorted the body of his wife to Westminster Cathedral in London. During the 13-day journey they rested each night at locations subsequently marked by the monuments in the Queen's honour and known as Eleanor Crosses.

Stony Stratford was around the middle of their journey and until the monument's destruction in the Civil War in the 17th century, the Stony Stratford Cross stood somewhere near the stony ford where Watling Street met the river Ouse.

Coincidentally, Edward IV, seven monarchs after Edward I, met his future wife at Stony Stratford. Elizabeth was a local lass and the marriage upset the Earl of Warwick who preferred Edward marry into France. The romance also upset his Yorkist supporters because Elizabeth was Lancastrian. But love prevailed and he married Elizabeth anyway.

(The Houses of York and Lancaster were at that time fighting the Wars of the Roses. Northern Englishmen don't think about the Wars of the Roses much these days. Unless cricket is involved, of course. 

But back to the Stony Stratford Cross. Whilst a few other crosses have survived almost intact (at Geddington, Hardingstone and Waltham) and stood for over 700 years, the Stony Stratford Cross survived only half that time. It was destroyed during the Civil War that took place between Parliamentarians and Royalists between 1642 and 1651.

We cannot be certain what the cross looked like; no drawings remain and each of the twelve Eleanor Crosses was designed by different artists. But there are some common features and our image above is a composite of the crosses which have survived.

And here's another little story of conflict arising from roses

In 1967, the village of Stony Stratford was annexed to the 'new town' of Milton Keynes

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