News

No closure to row over Church gate

September 19th, 2019 10:10 PM

By Jackie Keogh

A researcher claims a new gate prevents access to the old Rathbary Church.

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A LONDON-based historical researcher has complained about the lack of access to the old Rathbarry Church.

Tom Byrne said two recent articles in The Southern Star relating to matters of private property and rights of access had served to ‘highlight ongoing issues at Castlefreke and its public surrounds.’

However, he said his original concern was in relation to what he described as ‘a newly erected gate,’ that he said had been put up without any warning or communication, and which he claimed prevents people entering the old Rathbarry Church ruin.

Mr Byrne said: ‘The ruin sits within the enclosed stone walls of the public graveyard and was previously accessible.

‘This substantial gate has the effect of impeding all access by any visitors, tourists etc and indeed hampering my own and others historical and architectural research into the church. The gate impedes monitoring of the famous altar mosaics, which have survived reasonably well for over 170 years.’

Speaking on behalf of his family, who own the property, Yorick Evans-Freke told The Southern Star: ‘We are intending to do some repairs on the interior because the structure – particularly the decorative windows – is not sound. Our engineers recommended, as a liability issue, that we erect the gate. It is our intention to effect the repairs and once the building has been declared sound, we will re-open it.’

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