Ancient monument regularly hit by lorries and locals are furious

A beloved ancient monument in Somerset is being regularly hit by passing vehicles, leaving locals furious. The Hanging Chapel in Langport is described as “the jewel in the crown” of the town by residents, but it has been smashed and damaged a number of times by lorries in the past few years. The unique and historic structure, more formally known as the Chantry Chapel of the Blessed Virgin Mary, forms a low archway over a street called The Hill next to the River Parrett in Langport.

The unusual building is Grade-I listed and thought to date back to the 13th century. However, locals say its “an absolute travesty” that the well-loved building is being continually damaged. An online petition has been set up in an effort to protect the monument.

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A lorry wedged in The Hanging Chapel, Langport, in 2020A lorry wedged in The Hanging Chapel, Langport, in 2020

On the change.org petition, organiser David Sims wrote: “On April 12 2022, The Hanging Chapel was hit by a shipping container on a lorry. Similar incidents occur yearly, but this recent damage has produced cracks clearly visible over its facade. “The Hanging Chapel is a 13th century archway, well over over 800 years old, bearing a perpendicular building known as the hanging chapel.

It has been designated as a Grade-I listed building and a Scheduled Ancient Monument. “The access road under the chapel has been closed since the incident due to damage to its arch and falling debris and awaits surveyor’s reports. Should the Hanging Chapel now be protected from further damage?

Sign this petition to show support to protect the jewel in Langport’s Crown and this historic area of Langport for future generations.”

Damage from past collisions at The Hanging Chapel, LangportDamage from past collisions at The Hanging Chapel, Langport

Responding to the petition, Miranda Andrews wrote: “The damage being regularly done to this unique and historic building by totally inappropriate vehicle traffic is an absolute travesty.” While Stephen Tate asked: “Where else in Britain would drivers be allowed to use an ancient monument as a rat run?” Ginny Smith wrote: “It is imperative that this ancient monument is protected for future generations. It is a vital part of Langport’s historical past.”

Tom Addison added: “Yes of course it should be protected.

We as a nation should not sacrifice our heritage and culture just to allow more trucks, a width and height restriction bar would cost very little compared to the likely cost of repairing the damage.”

You can view the petition here.

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