Substantive work starts at Eleanor Cross
Conservators are hands-on at Northampton’s Eleanor Cross this week to carry out light touch maintenance work.
This follows a full laser scan already completed by Cliveden Conservation, which Northampton Borough Council commissioned earlier this year.
The latest phase of work will be carried out from the basket of a cherry picker and will involve the careful removal of plants wherever possible.
Cliveden Conservation’s senior conservator will also carry out some essential repair work intended to help safeguard the monument through the winter months.
A surveyor will also be on-site to complete technical drawings of the monument and will be able to map onto a computer model built from the scans all areas in need of repair and also those for later attention.
This laser scan will enable conservators and surveyors to analyse the monument from a remote location, enabling more accurate and in-depth study of the condition.
Cllr 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.”
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.”
A Historic England spokesperson said: “We are very pleased to see this project moving forward on schedule before the winter months.
“We will be providing advice on site regarding the extent of essential repairs to be carried out at this stage under the Scheduled Monument Consent granted by the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport.
“The results of the condition survey together with the laser scan and detailed technical drawings will provide a robust basis from which we will all be able to identify the conservation works necessary to safeguard this nationally important monument for our own and future generations.”