Waltham Cross

Pages 49-51

The Environs of London: Volume 4, Counties of Herts, Essex and Kent. Originally published by T Cadell and W Davies, London, 1796.

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Situation of the hamlet.

This hamlet is situated on the road to Ware, eleven miles from London. It is one of the wards of the parish of Cheshunt, and contains 100 houses.

Ancient cross.

The hamlet takes its name from an ancient cross, erected, as is supposed, by Edward the First, in memory of his beloved consort Eleanor. This cross, which is almost the only thing worthy of notice in the place, adjoins to the Falcon Inn. The following description of its present state is taken from the third volume of the Monumenta Vetusta, published by the Society of Antiquaries, who have twice interested themselves in preserving this curious remnant of antiquity from farther decay (fn. 1).

"The cross is hexagon; each side of the lower story divided into two compartments, charged with the arms of England, Castile and Leon, and Ponthieu, in shields pendant each from different foliage. Over these compartments is a quatrefoil; and over that, in the point of the whole, a trefoil. The pediment of each compartment is richly frosted with leaves. The spandrils of each pediment are carved with eight-leaved flowers in lozenges, and the pannels are parted by pursled finials divided by two niches. The cornice over the first story is composed of various foliage and lions' heads, surmounted by a battlement pierced with quatrefoils. The second story is formed of twelve open tabernacles, in pairs, but so divided, that the dividing pillar intersects the middle of the statue behind it. These tabernacles terminate in ornamented pediments, with a bouquet on the top; and the pillars that supported them are also pursled in two stories. This story also finishes with a cornice and battlement like the first, and supports a third story of solid masonry, ornamented with single compartments in relief, somewhat resembling those below, and supporting the broken shaft of a plain cross. The statues of the Queen are crowned; her left hand holding a cordon, and her right a sceptre or globe." An engraving of this cross was made by Vertue, at the expence of the Society of Antiquaries, in 1721; and another, in 1792, by Basire, from a drawing of Schnebbelie's. There are several other engravings of it.

Manor of Dacies, alias Crossbrooks.

At Waltham Cross is the site of a manor (fn. 2), called Dacies, alias Crossbrooks, which, as far back as I have been able to trace it, has belonged to the fame persons as that of Theobalds. It is nevertheless a separate manor, as may be seen by referring to the surveys (in the Augmentation-office) made of each, in 1650. The manerial rights were then valued at 7l. 17s. 4½d. per annum, the land at 20l.; but stated to be very improveable. The manor is described as being intermingled with that of Cheshunt in all parts of the parish. A court baron is still held for it.

Ancient spital.

The survey of Theobalds manor, before mentioned, describes an ancient spital at Waltham Cross, consisting of four rooms below and three above, by prescription and time out of mind, appropriated for poor lame impotent people. It is still used for the same purpose, (being occupied by four poor widows,) and is held under the manor of Theobalds, to which it pays a small quit-rent.

The workhouse for the parish of Cheshunt is situated at Waltham Cross.


  • 1. In 1721, posts were put round it, at the expence of the Society, to protect it from injury by carriages. In 1757, at the request of the Society, signified by Dr. Stukeley, Lord Monson, lord of the manor of Cheshunt, surrounded the base with brickwork.
  • 2. The manor-house is described as situated at Waltham Cross, built with timber and Flemish wall, and in good repair.