The arrival in London: 14 December 1290

One might fondly imagine that with the entry to London the story of the crosses would become clear. But this is far from being the case. We know that Eleanor entered London on 14 December, and that her main burial was on Sunday 17 December. Otherwise, however matters are a pretty bad jumble.

What follows therefore is the best reconstruction I have been able to pin down – based largely on the account in the Flores Historiarum.

As the cortege approached from Waltham, the natural route into the city would have been via Bishopsgate in the north eastern corner of the walls surrounding the city. However there seems reason to suppose that in fact the procession entered by Aldgate in the East. This is because the chronicler records Eleanor’s body as spending the night in the church of Holy Trinity, a priory founded by Henry I’s wife Edith/Matilda on land owned by Waltham Abbey just inside Aldgate. This may well have been done to place the cortege well to do a full procession through the city – parallel to that done from the Tower before the coronation.

A whole section of wall complete with archway remains inside the ‘Towergate’ building on the corner of Mitre Street and Leadenhall Street. It is not generally open to the public, but someone took pity on me trying to photograph it through a tinted window!


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