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Last Updated: Sunday, 6 February, 2005, 01:20 GMT
Poet's church bells 'fall silent'
A set of Victorian church bells adored by poet Sir John Betjeman could be silenced after a pub landlord said they were disrupting his sleep.

Graham Taylor, from the Swan pub in Wantage, wants St Peter and St Paul Church bells switched off at night.

He said: "If you are having a restless night it drives you nuts."

The chimes have marked every 15 minutes since 1898. Vale of the White Horse District Council said it had received a complaint and is monitoring the sound.

I think there would be a sadness if it were stopped because of its long history. If it's what's required, then I will ensure that it is turned off
Parish priest Father John Salter

Mr Taylor said: "I don't want the bells turned off, and there aren't 5,000 other churches at risk, I just want them switched off at night.

"I have got a petition that 50 other people have signed.

"What is the point of ringing them all night to tell it is a quarter past three?

"I get to bed very late, particularly at the weekend when we close at one in the morning, every 15 minutes you are just about to nod off and then 'dong'."

Historical loss

Mr Taylor's comments follow an incident where he walked into the church during a Sunday service and in front of a 150-strong congregation shouted: "What about love thy neighbour?"

He later apologised to parish priest Father John Salter for his behaviour.

Father Salter said the cost of switching the bells off at night could mean they would have to be turned off altogether.

Sir John Betjeman, who was a Wantage resident, attended the parish church for 21 years.

Father Salter said: "I think there would be a sadness if it were stopped because of its long history. If it's what's required, then I will ensure that it is turned off."




SEE ALSO:
Joy as villagers win bell battle
08 Dec 04 |  South Yorkshire
Bell chimes as 'clock unlocked'
06 Dec 04 |  Cumbria
Bells break silence of a village
28 Nov 04 |  Tyne/Wear


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