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Charing Cross

Not from chère reine, in honour of Eleanor, the dear wife of Edward I., but la chère reine (the Blessed Virgin). Hence, in the Close Roll, Richard II, part I (1382), we read that the custody of the falcons at Charryng, near Westminster, was granted to Simon Burley, who was to receive 12d. a day from the Wardrobe. A correspondent in Notes and Queries, Dec. 28th, 1889, p. 507, suggests the Anglo-Saxon cérran (to turn), alluding to the bend of the Thames.

“Queen Eleanor died at Harby, Nottinghamshire, and was buried at Westminster. In every town where the corpse rested the king caused a cross `of cunning workmanship' to be erected in remembrance of her. There were fourteen, some say fifteen, altogether. The three which remain are in capitals: Lincoln, Newark, Grantham, Leicester, Stamford, GEDDINGTON, NORTHAMPTON, Stony-Stratford, Woburn, Dunstable, St. Albans, WALTHAM, West-Cheap (Cheapside), Charing, and (15th Herdly?)”

In front of the South Eastern Railway station (Strand) is a model, in the original dimensions, of the old cross, which was made of Caen stone, and was demolished in 1643.

Source: Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, E. Cobham Brewer, 1894
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