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Waltham Cross

Waltham Cross

Artist: Batty, R. M.

Medium: Aquatint, coloured

Date: 1790

Shelfmark: K top Vol 15

Item number: 88.e

Length: 15.5

Width: 22.9

Scale: Centimetres

Genre: Topographical Print

View of the Eleanor Cross at Waltham Cross in Hertfordshire. The Eleanor cross was erected here in 1291 on the orders of King Edward I. He had twelve crosses built in towns across the country to commemorate one of the overnight stopping places of the funeral cortège carrying Queen Eleanor’s body on its journey from Harby in Lincolnshire to Westminster Abbey. It is often thought that the town’s name derives from this cross however it actually comes from a stone cross brought here by Tovi, a Danish Thane in the 12th century. The cross was neglected during the 16th and 17th centuries and had to be restored, the stone figures which can be seen in the print were replaced with replicas and the originals re now housed in the Victoria and Albert Museum.

The original 12 'Eleanor' crosses were placed at Lincoln, Grantham, Stamford, Geddington, Northampton (at Hardingstone), Stony Stratford, Woburn, Dunstable, St Albans, Waltham, West Cheap in the City of London, and finally at the royal mews at Charing (Charing Cross). Only three survive today, at Waltham, Hardingstone and Geddington, but fragments of the Cheapside cross are in the collection of the Museum of London, and both Cheapside and Charing can be reconstructed from existing drawings.

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