Eleanor's final journey commences


Following her trip to her Peak District properties, Eleanor had remained at King's Clipstone for the rest of October and early November. Parliament was summoned there, with people being crammed in to every bit of accomodation in the small town and all the neighbouring villages. And Eleanor, by now aware that it was next to impossible that she would ever complete the journey back south, sent for those she loved to her bedside.

Against the advice of Eleanor of Provence (who suggested a journey north could imperil the health of the children) young Edward and Elizabeth were brought to say farewell to their mother. Joan, Countess of Gloucester, brought her growing pregancy bump. And Marie of Brittany, Edward's niece who had grown very close to Eleanor also came to say goodbye. Despite her failing health, Eleanor bought "zones" (ornate belts) for Marie's waiting women as farewell gifts.

In early November the decision was made to try to move Eleanor to Lincoln, some 30 miles off. This was one of her dower properties, and also home to her friends the Earl and Countess of Lincoln, as well as being a town where medicnes and comforts could be found. But 30 miles was now a long way.

So for a couple of days after 10 November Edward rode out to scope possible stops along the way - fixing on Rufford. just five miles down the road, and Laxton, very slightly further on. Rufford was home to a Cistercian monastery, and thus as good a stopping place on the road as could reasonably be hoped.

So on 15 November 1290 the royal party set off. Laxton at ten miles distance was now too far for Eleanor, who had once thought nothing of thirty mile daily journeys. The night of 15 November was spent at Rufford, and the next day the four miles to Laxton consituted the day's journey.


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