Outrage as village church bells silenced for first time in 110 years
‘Go and live in a city if you don’t like it’: Outrage as village church bells are silenced for the first time in 110 years after ONE local complained chiming clock was ‘detrimental to their mental health’
- A noise complaint could see bells at All Saints Church in Kenton, Devon, silenced
- The complaint to Teignbridge District Council means church must take action
- The clock was put in the church in 1910 and it is thought this is the first complaint
The bells in a village church have been silenced for the first time in 110 years after its chiming clock was ruled a ‘noise nuisance’ by the council – after a complaint from one local.
All Saints Church in Kenton, Devon, has housed its clock since 1910 but a resident recently made the first official complaint over its sound.
The complaint to Teignbridge District Council has meant the parish has had to silence the clock and its regular chimes from the church bells.
Outraged residents of the village have called for whoever made the complaint to ‘go and live in a city’ and are now threatening to take their fight to save the bells to court.
Councillors confirmed that the bells had been deemed a noise nuisance following the complaint – and could be served a noise abatement notice.
Mike Adams, a bellringer at the church in Kenton where he has lived for 78 years, said it could mean the bells permanently silenced.
All Saints Church in Kenton, Devon, has housed its clock since 1910 but a resident recently made the first official complaint over its sound
Outraged residents of the village have called for whoever made the complaint to ‘go and live in a city’ and are now threatening to take their fight to save the bells to court. Pictured: Bellringers at All Saints
He posted it ‘will be another nail in the coffin of what appears to be a failing village’.
Mike wrote: ‘The more observant among you will have noticed that the clock is more muted than of late.
‘This is due to a complaint being made to Environmental Heath at Teignbridge District Council.
‘Apparently, someone has does not like the clock striking and Environmental Health have threated the church with an abatement order and possible Court action.
‘The clock was put in the church in 1910 and to my knowledge this is the only complaint in all that time.
‘I have lived in the village for 78 years and been involved with the clock and bellringing for a long time as was my father and grandfather.
‘If we lose the clock, it will be another nail in the coffin of what appears to be a failing village.
The church of All Saints’, a 14th century parish at the centre of the Devon village of Kenton, has provided a service to families for over six centuries
‘The shop has closed, the pub is in limbo and slowly the character of the village is changing. In this instance because of ONE complaint!
‘Remember the complainant has moved to be near the church, the church hasn’t moved to them!’
‘This is of course about the clock and not bellringing which has been suspended due to COVID.
‘We hope to start again soon and will have regular practice on Mondays 19.00-21.00 and Alternate Sunday mornings 09.00-10.00).
‘We will be advertising for new people who would like to come an learn, I will keep you posted.’
Teignbridge District Councillor Alan Connett commented on Mike’s post: ‘Much as I am disappointed by the complaint and the result, Teignbridge Council has a legal duty to investigate the complaint.
The church was built in around 1450 and is reportedly one of the largest village churches in the country
‘Having done so, it confirmed there is a noise nuisance. The council has contacted the church to find a solution that would avoid the need for a Noise Abatement Notice.’
Natasha Windsor-Horne commented: ‘Go and live in a city if you don’t like the church bells. We live right behind the church and love the sound, doesn’t bother us at all, in fact I can’t sleep when they don’t chime. Absolutely ridiculous.’
Sally May added: ‘That is ridiculous.
‘The clock has been chiming, except when broken, for as long as I have lived in the village and decades before that as well.
A spokesperson for Teignbridge District Council said: ‘We have a duty to investigate noise complaints and we are working with the church to find a satisfactory solution’
‘And no one has complained, yet one complaint and TDC are playing the big brother hand. As already said, it isn’t as if people wouldn’t know there is a church with a clock in the village!’
Mike Adams, captain of the bell ringers, said he has looked after the clock at the church and kept it ticking over in good order for decades without any complaints until now.
The history of Kenton’s All Saints Church
The church of All Saints’, a 14th century parish at the centre of the Devon village of Kenton, has provided a service to families for over six centuries.
The church was built in around 1450 with the clock added into the church in around 1910.
It is believed to be one of the largest village churches in the country.
Inside the church are plaques dedicated to Reverend Harry Drew and his wife, the daughter of Prime Minister William Gladstone.
He said: ‘I don’t know where the complaint has come from as it was anonymous. But they have complained that the clock striking at the quarter and the hour is detrimental to their mental health.
‘They have gone to the environmental health officer at Teignbridge District Council who have put a monitor in and said we are above the level they find acceptable.
‘What I have now done is slightly muted the quarter striking part of the clock and asked the environmental health officer to come back and measure again.
‘On my post I have 87 people commenting and not one has said to stop the clock. There has been outcry in the village as just one person has complained and threatened to stop it.
‘Where is the democracy in that? We are supposed to live in one. As far as I know this was only complaint in that 78 years.
‘It is crazy. The church was built in around 1450 and it is a massive building. It is one of the largest village churches in the country. If you buy a house in the village it is fairly obvious the church is there – and it came before all of us.
‘Whoever complained has moved to the church – the church has not moved to them.
‘I am extremely angry and if they want to take the church to court I am happy to go to court and let both sides of the case be heard.
‘I believe we have got the rights, tradition and village character on our side. Just one person has a different view but they can have such an impact.’
A spokesperson for Teignbridge District Council said: ‘We have a duty to investigate noise complaints and we are working with the church to find a satisfactory solution. No notice has been issued.’
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