Charing Cross

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Coordinates: 51°30′26″N 0°07′39″W / 51.5073°N 0.12755°W / 51.5073; -0.12755

Charing Cross denotes the junction of the Strand, Whitehall and Cockspur Street, just south of Trafalgar Square in Westminster within Central London, England. It is named after the site of a long demolished Eleanor cross (now occupied by a statue of King Charles I mounted on a horse) located at the former hamlet of Charing, at this point. Since the second half of the eighteenth century Charing Cross has been seen as the centre of London. It is the primary of the central datum points for measuring distances from London along with the London Stone, Hicks Hall and the doors of St Mary-le-Bow church.

Contents

History

Location and etymology

"Erect a rich and stately carved cross, Whereon her statue shall with glory shine; And henceforth see you call it Charing Cross." George Peele The Famous Chronicle of King Edward the First (1593)

The name originates from the Eleanor cross erected in 1291-4 by King Edward I as a memorial to his wife, Eleanor of Castile, and placed between the former hamlet of Charing and the entrance to the Royal Mews of the Palace of Whitehall. The cross was the work of the medieval sculptor, Alexander of Abingdon.[1] Originally built in wood, it was replaced with a stone and marble monument.[2] The name of the hamlet of Charing is derived from the old English word "cierring", referring to the nearby bend in the River Thames.[3][4]

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