Eleanor Cross contract out to tender

Published: Friday, 11 January 2019

Northampton Borough Council’s consultants are out to tender for a contract to carry out repair and conservation work on the town’s Eleanor Cross.

Potential bidders for the contract have until Wednesday 23 January to submit their applications and a winner will be selected before the end of January

Last autumn, experts brought in to assess the monument advised that there are iron cramps in some locations. These are thought to be corroding and causing damage to the masonry.

It is possible that, among other work, these may need to be removed and replaced with stainless steel equivalents which would withstand the elements more effectively.

Once the works have started in the spring, further investigations will be undertaken to identify the position of the iron cramps and ensure that the current proposals are perfectly tailored to the needs of the monument.

The proposals include the careful reinstatement of loose stonework removed during the initial 2017 survey by Cliveden Conservation, conservation repairs to the fragile 13th century stonework, and carefully selected shelter coatings to some more vulnerable areas. In several limited areas new pieces of stone might be required.

Cllr Tim Hadland, Cabinet member for regeneration and enterprise, said: “We’re looking forward to appointing a contractor for this work, which will start in the spring.

“Our specialists have advised that temperatures from April onwards should be sufficient for lime mortar to cure properly.

“Our approach, agreed to standards set by Historic England, should offer the best chance of ensuring the monument is protected for future generations to enjoy.”

Cost of the work will be met by the Council with match-funding from Historic England, which has been fully involved in the process.

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

The four 13th century statues of Queen Eleanor were carved by William of Ireland and are a rare survival from this period.

Although twelve such monuments were built only three, including the Northampton Cross, 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.