'Essential repairs' to protect Northampton's Eleanor Cross against winter cold begins

Surveyors examine the 13th-Century Eleanor Cross, in London Road.
Surveyors examine the 13th-Century Eleanor Cross, in London Road.

Restorers are hands-on at Northampton’s Eleanor Cross this week to carry out maintenance work on the historic monument.

The work will involve removing plants from the 13th-Century stone column using a cherry picker, while essential repair work will be carried out to "safeguard the monument through the winter months."

It follows a laser scan of the monument by the Cliveden Conservation group, which Northampton Borough Council commissioned earlier this year.

It comes after history groups warned the Eleanor Cross was "one cold-snap away from falling apart" in April.

Councillor Tim Hadland, Northampton Borough Council cabinet member for regeneration, enterprise and planning, said: “Of the original twelve, Northampton’s Eleanor Cross is one of just three still in existence.

“Even though there remains a question over ownership and responsibility, we’ve taken the view that urgent conservation work is needed to protect this nationally significant monument.

“Cliveden Conservation will also be assessing where longer-term work might be beneficial and we can consider this at a later date.”

A surveyor will also be on-site to complete technical drawings of the monument and will be able to map all areas in need of repair and also those for later attention

The Cross, situated at the southern end of London Road close to Delapré Wood, was commissioned by Edward I between 1291 and 1294.

Each of the original twelve monuments marks one of the nightly resting places of his wife, Queen Eleanor of Castile’s, funeral procession between Harby, near Lincoln, to London.

Alexandra Miller, of Cliveden Conservation, said: “It is a very exciting project to be a part of.

“The monument itself is in need of attention from our expert stone conservators and surveyors to make sure the integrity of the structure remains as robust and healthy as it has been for the last 700 years.

“We will be reporting back to the borough council daily on our findings and how we intend to preserve the structure for another 700 years to come.”