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Woburn - the Silent Cross

December 10, 2014

Woburn Cross is another of the “disappeared” crosses, and even less well documented than Stony Stratford. In fact it may win the prize for “least mentioned” Cross, because we hear absolutely nothing about it after its initial construction!

But we do know that it existed because it is referred to six times in the accounts of Eleanor’s executors, between 1292 and 1293, as one of the Crosses being constructed by John de Bello.

The cortege would have arrived there via Watling Street, and would have stayed at the Cistercian Abbey, which was in the process of rebuilding its fortunes following near bankruptcy in the early part of the thirteenth century.  On this occasion, while Eleanor had a number of properties on both sides of Watling Street, in Bedfordshire and in Buckinghamshire, none of them would have offered a convenient base for the cortege.

And of course while there is a Woburn Abbey still in existence, it is not the Abbey, but a stately home created after the dissolution of the monasteries.    It is thought that the Abbey church, where Eleanor’s boy would have lain on the night of 10 December 1290 was somewhere in the vicinity of the East wing of the mansion.

As for the site of the Cross, this remains unknown.  Woburn, alone of all the sites visited so far, has non memorial to Eleanor or the Cross which once graced the town.


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