Nearest Tube: Charing Cross
The Charing Cross is best known nowadays for the road that is named after it - Charing Cross Road, and so the origins of the name are often overlooked. But in fact the Charing Cross was an actual cross, that was once well known all over England.
The first part of the name is derived from a hamlet called Charing that once stood on the site. The second part dates from the 13th century when Edward I's (1272-1307) wife, Eleanor of Castile, died. She died in Nottingham and so Edward erected memorial crosses, known as Eleanor Crosses, at every place where the funeral party rested on its way to Westminster Abbey.
There were 12 crosses in all, the last one being here, on the spot where the statue of Charles I (1625-49) now stands. It was known as the Charing Cross, hence the name of the road that is now built on the site.
Today there is a replica cross, dating from 1863, situated outside Charing Cross Station. It was designed by A. S. Barry and is based on drawings of the original cross.
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