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Saturday, 19 October, 2002, 08:21 GMT 09:21 UK
Silent church clock chimes again
St Mary's Church in Totnes
People in Totnes complained bells kept them awake
A church clock which was silenced after local people complained they were being kept awake at night, has started chiming again.

The Victorian timepiece in the Grade One listed 15th Century St Mary's Church in Totnes, south Devon, was stopped after the rector received two letters of complaint.

It had been chiming the quarter hour for 115 years before the complaints were made.

But after noise level testing around the area, the rector, Reverend Nicholas Martin, decided it was right for the chimes to be restored.

Noise legislation

Reverend Martin said: "I can say that the chimes are now chiming again."

The clock was stopped after an ecclesiastical lawyer advised him the sound of the chimes could be in breach of noise legislation.

Before that, the chimes had been ringing out since 1887.

Reverend Martin said: "I had been advised by a lawyer friend of mine that, yes, we might have been breaking the law.

"But I was also concerned about people who's sleep was being disrupted.

Decibel levels

"I took this action so we could get the information together.

"You suspend everything until you can amass the information and then make a decision."

The rector received one letter of complaint directly. Another was forwarded by Totnes Town Council.

But the chimes are ringing out again following a meeting with local environmental health officers.

Reverend Martin said: "I'd taken some decibel levels from a wide variety of areas, and, in light of that, I've turned the chimes back on."


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20 Mar 02 | England
09 Nov 01 | England
09 Oct 01 | England
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