Thoughtful Thursday…. A Touching Tribute

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Ilam Cross, Derbyshire

At the crossroads in the middle of the tiny Derbyshire village of Ilam, is this rather fantastic memorial cross.  It is  intricate in design, built in the Gothic Renaissance style….  I am also told that when first constructed it also had a spring of fresh water for the benefit of travellers.

The connection of the cross, with the village is simple. The village lies within the shadow of Ilam Hall.  Owned by the Russell family and later, by marriage and name change, to the Watts-Russell family.

Mary Watts Russell was the wife of Jesse Watt-Russell and this is his tribute to his wife who died, at the age of 48, in 1840

The wording on a nearby plaque says it all

Memorial on Cross

Understandably it is often called an “Eleanor Cross”.  It is not, but the styling is so similar.

“Eleanor Crosses” of which there are 12, were built on the instruction of King Edward I.  Again it was a tribute to his wife, Queen Eleanor.  in 1290, the King and Queen were on their travels in the North East of England.  It was whilst on this ‘Procession’ that the Queen died. The body of Queen Eleanor had to be returned to London for burial in Westminster Abbey, a long journey.  Each night on the journey they paused.  King Edward decided to mark these special night halts where the coffin rested, by the erection of a series of memorial Crosses.  So between 1291 and 1295 this line of crosses were constructed, all intricately sculpture..  

Ilam Cross is very much in tune both with the style but also the poignant and lasting Memorial to a lost wife.

I am sure that there have been, and will continue to be, many personal tragedies in this strange times we live in.  

So Please Remember ….

Stay Safe …. Be Kind…. Look After Each Other

29th July

(C) David Oakes 2021

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