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Church clock chimes row is settled at last

By Western Morning News  |  Posted: December 03, 2012

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A church clock that has chimed through two world wars will continue to ring out after the threat of legal action was lifted.

The clock at All Saints Church in Wrington, near Weston-super-mare in Somerset, was silenced after a complaint by newcomers Jonathan Apps and Tina Hallett to North Somerset Council that the chimes every quarter of an hour kept them awake.

A century of marking time came to an end when council officials issued the vicar with an abatement notice banning the bell from ringing out between 11pm and 7am.

The switching off of the bells caused fury among villagers, many of whom said they relied on them to know the time as the 15th century church does not have a clock face.

The clock had to be silenced completely because the automated mechanism did not allow it to be turned on and off. But the chimes started sounding again in the summer after the church’s steeplejack discovered a computer program that allowed him to stop them from sounding between 11pm and 7am.

The couple, who live opposite the church, withdrew their complaint and said they no longer wished to pursue the abatement notice. But as the notice had already been issued, the only option was for the church to comply with it or appeal against it through the courts.

North Somerset Council has now revealed that an agreement had been reached with the Parochial Church Council to limit the clock to chiming hourly overnight. “The process of resolution was conducted carefully and diplomatically by both sides.”

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