United Kingdom

Statues - Hither & Thither

Site Search:
Waltham Cross
Hertfordshire

East of England

High Street / Eleanor Cross Road

Eleanor Cross

Alexander of Abingdon
1294 (copy)

Waltham Cross /  Eleanor Cross   Waltham Cross /  Eleanor Cross

Description

The Eleanor crosses were a series of twelve tall and lavishly decorated stone monuments topped with crosses, of which three survive nearly intact, in a line down part of the east of England. King Edward I had the crosses erected between 1291 and 1294 in memory of his wife Eleanor of Castile, marking the nightly resting-places along the route taken when her body was transported to London.

The only three crosses still standing are those at Geddington, Hardingstone, just outside Northampton, and Waltham Cross, although remnants of the lost ones can also be seen at other sites. Charing Cross (see here) is a new cross based on the Eleanor crosses.

The Waltham Cross monument in Hertfordshire was constructed in co-operation between an architect and a sculptor: Roger of Crundale, who was the senior royal mason, and Master Alexander of Abingdon, respectively. It is still standing, although it has been restored on several occasions, and the original statues of Eleanor (all three statues represent the queen) were replaced by replicas during the last major restoration in the 1950s. The original statues were kept for some years at Cheshunt Public Library; but they were removed, possibly in the 1980s, to the Victoria & Albert Museum.

Waltham Cross- Eleanor Cross Waltham Cross- Eleanor Cross Waltham Cross- Eleanor Cross

The coat of arms on the faces of the hexagonal base have relation to Eleanor: England paired with Castile and Leon, and with Ponthieu (Eleanor was countess of Ponthieu). Each pair is depicted three times

Waltham Cross- Eleanor Cross
England and Castile & Leon
Waltham Cross- Eleanor Cross
England and Ponthieu

Inscription(s)

THIS CROSS WAS ERECTED BY
KING EDWARD THE FIRST
IN 1294 A.D.
IN MEMORY OF HIS FIRST QUEEN
ELEANOR OF CASTILE
WHO DIED IN 1290 A.D.
it was one of the resting
places of the hearse on its
progress from harby in
nottinghamshire to westminster.
the cross was the work of
roger de grundale
and dymenge de leger,
and the original statues, made by
alexander de abyndone,
are in the
cheshunt central library.
the shields bear the ancient
arms of england
ponthieu, and castile
quartering leon.

Sculptor

Sources & Information

Tags

Location (N 51°41'8" - W 0°1'58")

Item Code: gbee123; Photograph: 17 March 2019
Of each statue we made photos from various angles and also detail photos of the various texts.
If you want to use photos, please contact us via the contact form (in Dutch, English or German).
© Website and photos: René & Peter van der Krogt