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Delapre Abbey
London Road, Northampton, NN4 8AW

Performance in the Abbey

Sunday 3rd December 2017

Be transported back to medieval world of Queen Eleanor and Edward 1st and the court of King Arthur as we weave together the real history of Queen Eleanor, and a legend of Camelot. In 1290 Eleanor died near Lincoln, and her body was taken back to Westminster in a splendid cortège, a heartbroken Edward following behind his Queen, accompanied by hundreds of members of the royal household. The Cortège passed through the lands she owned allowing her tenants and stewards to pay their respects. In the years following her death Edward ordered the best craftsmen in the land to build 12 stone crosses in the places Eleanor’s body had rested overnight stretching from Lincoln to Westminster. ​


The cross at Northampton stands on a hill close to Hardingstone village on the outskirts of the town. The site was chosen due to its proximity to the Abbey of De la Prie of St Mary’s de Pratis where Eleanor’s bier rested in the chapel overnight on Friday December 8th 1290, while Edward stayed nearby at Northampton Castle.  The cross here lost its top as early as 1490 and has fallen into some disrepair. It was begun in 1291 by John of Battle and he worked with William of Ireland to carve the statues. William was paid £3 6s. 8d. per figure. It has an octagonal base and the bottom tier features open books, and these may well have included painted inscriptions of Eleanor's biography and prayers for her soul to be said by those looking at the cross. ​Through the ancient art of storytelling you will enter Edward and Eleanor’s world, seeing the contradictory and glorious powerhouse she was: property magnate, mother, lover, bookworm, huntress, crusader and chess champion. This dramatic, tender and captivating performance is touring the monument locations – come and be part of the story!

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