In England King Edward I had memorial crosses, the so-called Eleanor Crosses, erected in memory of his wife Eleanor of Castile who died in November 1290. Three of the original twelve crosses have survived.
In Germany today, the custom has arisen of erecting crosses (Unfallkreuze or "accident crosses") as roadside memorials at the spot where someone has been killed. These are maintained for shorter or longer periods of time and decorated e.g. with flowers or candles. In South Germany, especially in Bavaria, memorial crosses exist for those who died several generations ago. Some of these crosses are at very remote places. These, too, usually commemorate a fatal accident.
These roadside memorial crosses should not be confused with wayside crosses, which are erected in the Bavarian region on the edge of paths and tracks, and are there simply to give walkers the opportunity to say a short prayer.
Other memorial crosses commemorate war dead and victims of terrorism.
The tallest memorial cross in the world at 152.4 metres is the Monumento Nacional de Santa Cruz del Valle de los Caidos near El Escorial in Spain.