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Abbeystead
Abbeystead (Lancashire)
Abbeystead

Abbeystead shown within Lancashire
OS grid reference SD562543
Parish Over Wyresdale
District Lancaster
Shire county Lancashire
Region North West
Constituent country England
Sovereign state United Kingdom
Post town LANCASTER
Postcode district LA2
Dialling code 01524
Police Lancashire
Fire Lancashire
Ambulance North West
European Parliament North West England
UK Parliament Lancaster & Wyre
List of places: UKEnglandLancashire

Coordinates: 53°58'59?N 2°40'01?W? / ?53.983, -2.667

Abbeystead is a small, picturesque village located in West Bowland, in Lancashire, England.

Contents

[edit] History

Little is known of the history of Abbeystead before the Norman Conquest, except that it was occupied from at least the middle of the prehistoric period.

[edit] Name

The name is derived from "The site of the Abbey" and relates to the short-lived presence of a house of Cistercian monks in the reign of Henry II. The traditional site of the monk's house is just below the junction of the Marshaw Wyre and the Tarnbrook Wyre, on the north side of the Reservoir.

[edit] Structures

There are a number of notable buildings in the Abbeystead area: the Cawthorne Endowed School, rebuilt in the 19th century; Holme Farm opposite, also 19th century; and Abbeystead House, built in 1886 for the 4th Earl of Sefton. Records trace the chapel to the west of Abbeystead back to the 14th century. The church was rebuilt in 1733, with a spire and new chancel added during restoration in 1894.

The Abbeystead reservoir was built in 1855 by the Corporation of Lancaster to supply mills lower down the River Wyre in the dry season. Although the reservoir is no longer in service it still features an attractive curved overflow weir visible from the footpath.

[edit] Abbeystead disaster

On 23 May 1984, 44 people were attending a presentation at a valve house at the outfall end of the Lune/Wyre Transfer Scheme in Abbeystead intended to explain the effects of the scheme on winter flooding in the lower Wyre Valley. During the presentation, water was pumped over the weir designed to regulate the flow of water into the Wyre. When the pumping commenced, however, there was a bright flash followed by an explosion that killed 16 visitors, injured 22 more and severely damaged the valve house.

Compensation claims totalling up to 4 million GBP (by those involved and North-West Water) have resulted against the firm of consulting engineers who designed and supervised the construction of the pumping station into which naturally occurring methane gas had migrated.

The gas had built up in the valve house, seeping in from the Wyresdale tunnel. An unidentified source ignited the gas and caused the explosion. The source of ignition could have been an electrical fault, but it was suggested that a visitor may have tried to light a cigarette, since smoking was permitted in the valve house.

[edit] References

There is an account of the explosion, the medical response, and a report on interviews with survivors at http://www.medbc.com/annals/review/vol_10/num_3/text/vol10n3p171.htm


(Source: Wikipedia)
 
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