Stamford Arts Centre
27 St Mary's St, Stamford PE9 2DL
Performance in the Arts Centre
Thursday 30th November 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 the 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. Eleanor's cortège would have rested overnight in Stamford on Tuesday December 5th 1290. 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 Stamford cross is believed to have stood on Casterton Road and survived 350 years. It was destroyed during the civil war in 1646 - the description below was recorded by Captain Richard Symonds of the Royalist army as a diary entry in 1665:
‘In the hill before ye into the towne stands a lofty large cross, built by Edward I in memory of Eleanor whose corps rested there coming from the north. Upon the top of this cross these three shields are often carved: England; three bends sinister; a bordure (Ponthieu); Quarterly Castile and Leon.’
Only a small marble fragment of the cross survives, a carved section excavated by the 18th century historian William Stukeley, this is currently found in Stamford Library. Stukeley's sketch, seen in his diaries in the Bodleian Library, suggest that the top portion of the Stamford Cross, was similar to the Geddington Cross. Today a modern sculpture representing the cross can be been seen in the Sheep Market. 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!