ELEANOR OF CASTILE (1241-1290) was the first wife of King Edward I. They married in 1254. The pair were devoted to each other. She even travelled to the Middle East with her husband, to the battlefields of the Crusade of 1271-1272. When she died of (possibly) a malarial disease, after having survived sixteen pregnancies, at Harby in Nottinghamshire (close to Lincoln), her husband was at her bedside for the last three days of her life.
Her body was embalmed in Lincoln, and then transported ceremoniously to Westminster Abbey – a journey that took several days. At each of the places where her corpse stopped overnight, Edward ordered memorial crosses to be erected. These became known as Eleanor Crosses. They were placed at: Lincoln, Grantham, Stamford, Geddington, Hardingstone near Northampton, Stony Stratford, Woburn, Dunstable, St Albans, Waltham, Westcheap, and Charing (now a part of central London, but originally a small hamlet close to the Thames). Of the original crosses, only significantly large remnants of three survive.
The cross at Stamford in Lincolnshire was demolished but a small fragment of it is in the local museum. Not much is certain about where the cross stood in Stamford. It is believed that it might have been destroyed between 1646 and 1660 by zealous Parliamentarians (http://stamfordlocalhistorysociety.org.uk/queen-eleanor%E2%80%99s-cross).
Currently, a tall tapering sculpture – a tall, sharp spike with a circular base – stands on the place that was most likely where the Eleanor Cross stood. It was designed by Wolfgang Buttress (born 1965) – a sculptor from Nottingham. His creation, completed in 2009 and made of local Ketton stone, incorporates the kinds of decorative motifs that might have been on the original cross. It is surrounded by a ring of benches. Both the seats and the spike are studded with circular bronze discs, each of which contains a word from a Japanese haiku, so I have read. Sadly, I did not examine the object closely enough to see them because we were close to the expiry time of our parking space.