Waltham Cross

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Waltham Cross
Waltham Cross.JPG
The Eleanor Cross
Grid reference: TL360003
Location: 51°41’10"N, 0°1’59"W
Population: 10,000  (est.)
Post town: Waltham Cross
Postcode: EN8, EN7
Dialling code: 01992
Local Government
Council: Broxbourne

Waltham Cross is the most south-easterly town in Hertfordshire, standing in the corner of the county beside the borders of Middlesex to the south and Essex to the east. It stands immediately north of the M25 motorway (which lies on top of the county border here) and running against the metropolitan conurbation separated only by the motorway, which is here sunk into a tunnel for some way. The town takes its name from the Eleanor Cross which stands in the town centre.

The Middlesex suburb of Freezy Water is immediately to the south. Waltham Abbey in Essex is across the River Lea to the east. So close to the motorway and served by a busy station, Waltham Cross is part of the London commuter belt.

This is a heavily urbanised and industrialised landscape.

Lie of the land

Waltham Cross is in the urbanised south-eastern corner of Hertfordshire, separated from Essex and Middlesex by river and mortorway but otherwise contiguous with their adjoining towns. It is south of Cheshunt, west of Waltham Abbey (Essex) and immediately north of Freezywater and its adjoining Lea Valley towns all running north from Enfield.


Anthony Trollope, the Victorian novelist, lived at Waltham House, Waltham Cross for 12 years between 1859 and 1871, where he wrote twenty-six novels and entertained his illustrious London friends. His home was demolished in 1936 and on the general site now stands the Moon and Cross, a J D Wetherspoon public house, decorated with a literary theme.[1]

The Eleanor Cross

At the centre of the town is one of the three surviving mediæval Eleanor crosses, each a memorial to Queen Eleanor (Eleanor of Castile), the wife of King Edward I. Each commemorates the over-night resting place of Queen Eleanor’s coffin on its processional journey from Lincoln to Westminster Abbey in 1290. The cross at Waltham Cross is hexagonal in plan, in three stages. The main stage has three statues of the Queen each standing in a niche under a canopy, while the other three faces have a niche bisected by a buttress. The original sculptures were by Alexander of Abingdon. These have been replaced in the course of restoration, but one of the originals can be seen on display at the Victoria and Albert Museum.[2][3]

The monument was surveyed by the Society of Antiquaries of London who, advocating its conservation, printed and illustrated the results in the pages of Vetusta Monumenta.[4] in 1721. However, restoration did not take place until 1832, when extensive rebuilding was carried out under WB Clarke. A further major restoration was carried out in 1885-92, and yet another in 1950-53.[5]

Four Swannes sign

The High Street is spanned by a gantry sign supporting four sculpted swans. It was originally the sign of the since- demolished Four Swans (or "Swannes") public house. The present sign is a replica erected in 2007.[6]


The town centre includes the pedestrianised High Street with a mix of chain stores, independent shops and banks; a covered shopping mall and the Fishpools department store which has been in the town since 1899. A general market is held on Wednesdays and Fridays; there are occasional French and farmers' markets.

The Borough of Broxbourne at Park Plaza is home to the world's largest printing plant, which produces publications for News International including The Sun, The Times and formerly the News of the World. Employing 200 people on a 23-acre site to produce 86,000 newspapers an hour on each of its twelve printing presses (a total capacity of over 1,000,000 newspapers per hour),[7] the plant cost £187 million (part of a £650m initiative including plants in Knowsley in Lancashire and Motherwell in Lanarkshire and replaced the News International press in Wapping.[8]


The Showground site which adjoins Waltham Town Lock hosted the Lee Valley White Water Centre used for the 2012 Olympics.[9]

Outside links

("Wikimedia Commons" has material
about Waltham Cross)