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Saturday, 22 November 2014

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Repair work forces Barrow abbey arch to close

REPAIR work on a historic archway has forced a street closure.

Abbey Approach in Barrow – the access road to Furness Abbey from Abbey Road – has been blocked off for a number of days but is now physically closed by scaffolding beneath the archway.

The road will remain closed until early next week.

Work started yesterday on the sandstone arch of the gateway following consultation with English Heritage.

It is believed the Grade II listed building was damaged after being hit by a vehicle.

A spokesman for Cumbria County Council said: “The council closed Abbey Approach at the junction with Abbey Road after we became aware that a stone in the archway had been dislodged.

“ It is believed this was caused by a vehicle clipping the structure last month. An engineer visited the site to assess the damage and we decided to close the road to protect the safety of the public, because the archway had been structurally weakened.

We have liaised closely with English Heritage over details of the archway repairs.

“It is hoped the road will reopen early next week, once the work is completed.”

A similar incident in 2011 resulted in Abbey Approach being blocked off to traffic.

Furness Abbey Fellowship is relieved to hear the repair work will not impact on the opening of a new exhibition to display treasures found in Furness Abbey.

A medieval crozier and jewelled ring were discovered in an abbot’s grave during stabilisation work of the abbey walls and will go on permanent display following a £6,000 campaign to return them to Furness.

Chairwoman of Furness Abbey Fellowship, Gill Jepson said: “We’re glad they’re taking things seriously and they’re looking towards keeping the perimeter wall safe.”

The display will open in the abbey visitor centre on April 1.

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