S MARY MAGDALENE, GEDDINGTON, NORTHANTS
Spires define Northamptonshire, much as they do parts of Lincolnshire, and Geddington’s got a fine example from the 14th-15th c, with octagonal spire. The body of the church attached to it is pretty fine, too, with Comper glass in the south chapel, a 13th c. S arcade and 12th c. N arcade. Although it was not improved by the Victorian predilection for scraping off plaster, here at least that does enable us to see the Anglo-Saxon arch built into the N arcade from the earlier building on the site. On your way out you should note the table in the S. porch, for a dole of a loaf of bread each Saturday to 24 Geddington pensioners, provided by ‘Sir Robert Dallington’s charity’ in 1636.
You are not finished there, as inevitably next to the church you visit the finest surviving Eleanor Cross, one of a dozen provided by King Edward I in 1294 to mark the overnight stops for the funeral cortege to London of Queen Eleanor of Castile, who died at Harby, near Lincoln, on November 28th 1290. The Geddington stop happened on 7th December 1290.
Edward did not just want a memorial, but wanted the viewer to commend her to God. That macho monarch Edward I adored his intelligent Spanish wife, writing in January 1291 to the Abbot of Cluny, requesting prayers for his wife’s soul, ‘whom living we dearly cherished, and whom dead we cannot cease to love.’ O si sic omnes!
Map Reference: SP895830