‘Scandalous’ neglect of historic building

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An amateur historian with a passion for old buildings has claimed it would be an “appalling crime” to let the last remains of Spalding Priory crumble to dust.

Thornholme Grange in Mallard Road, Low Fulney, could date back to the 13th century and possibly shows early European work of French Trappist monks.

It is possible it was built by King Edward I for Lady Godiva’s brother – or handed to him as a grace and favour mansion.

But Wolfgang Bartzsch, a former Merchant Navy seaman who, since he retired, has indulged his lifelong passion for visiting and researching old boats and old buildings, said The Vetchery as it was known, looks like it is waiting to be pulled down or fall down by its own accord.

He said: “This is a scandalous situation which merits investigation in view of what appears to be local disrespect for its antiquity.

“A view through an open window reveals brick vaulting the likes of which I have not seen for a very long time.

“The time for intervention is now and an investigation of this appalling crime is very overdue.”

Mr Bartzsch, who lives in Ramsay in Huntingdonshire, said one of the most pressing dangers to the old building is heavy goods traffic passing close by, which he says can be felt vibrating through the ground when you stand inside the building.

He claims such movements could cause the frail structure to fall down.

He said: “Walls are arching outwards and it is only a question of time before they all fall out.

“It is baffling as to where the conservation authorities are in this respect and close observation shows the building is twisting in on itself and within a fairly short period of time the movement of traffic will bring it down.”

Mr Bartzsch believes the dangerous state of the building could be an accident waiting to happen as there is nothing to stop anyone from climbing inside and becoming trapped.