Plans to repair Northampton's Queen Eleanor Cross monument move forward

Local history groups last year said the Eleanor Cross monument in Hardingstone had 'fallen into disrepair'.
Local history groups last year said the Eleanor Cross monument in Hardingstone had 'fallen into disrepair'.

Northampton Borough Council and Historic England are discussing adding the town’s Queen Eleanor Cross to the Historic England ‘Heritage at Risk’ Register, which would enable funding applications to be made for restoration work.

The news comes after a meeting with Historic England, which proposed a way forward regarding potential repairs and reinstatement.

Following this process, plus identification of an appropriate conservation contractor and approval from the council, work could be able to start later this year.

In April last year, residents feared the monument was in danger of 'falling to pieces' if action was not taken by a local authority.

They said their appeals to save the Hardingstone Eleanor Cross, in London Road, were 'ignored' as no one claimed responsibility for its upkeep.

Councillor Tim Hadland, cabinet member for regeneration, enterprise and planning, said: “Now we know the full extent of the work required, we need to identify appropriate funding.

“We envisage this being a partnership project between the Borough Council and Historic England, which will ensure the work is carried out to the required standards."

Cliveden Conservation undertook an extensive review of the monument last autumn and recently provided the borough council with a full report.

He added: “We understand the wider interest that exists both amongst the general public and the heritage community and we hope that everyone will welcome the news that the much valued Eleanor Cross is to be repaired”.

While this work was taking place, an investigation was carried out to identify where responsibility for the ancient monument lay.

A complex collection of historical documents exist which made this process difficult and the final conclusion was that it is owned by the borough council.

The cross, situated at the southern end of London Road close to Delapré Wood, was commissioned by Edward I between 1291 and 1294. Only three of twelve original monuments remain.

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