Agreement reached to silence Ashwell church chimes

18:12 14 May 2014

The chimes are due to be silenced between 11pm and 7am once a timing mechanism is installed

The chimes are due to be silenced between 11pm and 7am once a timing mechanism is installed


An agreement has been reached to temporarily silence a village church’s quarter-hour chimes at night despite them being rung uninterrupted for more than a century.

At an Ashwell Parish Council meeting last week, it was agreed to silence the quarter-hour chimes at St Mary’s Church in the village for eight hours between 11pm and 7am for a trial period of no more than six months – after which a long-term solution will be decided. The hourly chimes will still ring.

The meeting featured a presentation from the Ashwell Advocates group – who want the chimes off during the night – and Save the Church Chimes of Ashwell, who are trying to keep them chiming as they have done for the past 117 years.

District councils can issue Noise Abatement Orders (NBOs) when a noise is deemed a nuisance – something based on World Health Organisation guidelines and its own discretion.

Maria Brown, who spoke on behalf of Save the Church Chimes of Ashwell at the meeting, said: “We understand that the chimes must be turned off until our alternative solution is implemented as the council has no choice.

“We are not happy about it but we have accepted that a Noise Abatement Order (NBO) can be issued at any time, and if one was then the chimes would not come back on at all.

“Turning them off gives everyone some breathing space and allows us to raise the funds we need to pay for the new mechanism [which would make them quieter]. Permission has been granted to put a timing mechanism on the chimes and we would have to seek new permission to put a new device on.

“We will also have to prove that the device works. We have contacted a mechanical engineer who says that he can make a device to reduce the noise to within safe levels, but before it can be installed we will have to prove this to the parish council.

“I have looked but can’t find any other parish church in the country that has this type of device fitted, so the council is understandably cautious about giving it the go-ahead without proof.

“The solution we have put forward is an ideal alternative if it all goes to plan. It will save the chimes and allow the people who have been affected to sleep.”

In a statement, the Ashwell Advocates said: “We think we are at that very welcome moment when a way forward agreed by all parties can potentially be announced.

In particular we thank the Save the Church Chimes of Ashwell campaign for recognising that compromise is required.

“We are also pleased to confirm that those affected by the bells and chimes at night would welcome any long-term robust solution which solves the noise problem.”

Outgoing Ashwell Parish Council chairman Peter Long said: “We welcome the decision and will be able to move forward with the proposals now.”

Related articles


Welcome , please leave your message below.

Optional - JPG files only
Optional - MP3 files only
Optional - 3GP, AVI, MOV, MPG or WMV files

Please log in to leave a comment and share your views with other Royston Crow visitors.

We enable people to post comments with the aim of encouraging open debate.

Only people who register and sign up to our terms and conditions can post comments. These terms and conditions explain our house rules and legal guidelines.

Comments are not edited by Royston Crow staff prior to publication but may be automatically filtered.

If you have a complaint about a comment please contact us by clicking on the Report This Comment button next to the comment.

Not a member yet?

Register to create your own unique Royston Crow account for free.

Signing up is free, quick and easy and offers you the chance to add comments, personalise the site with local information picked just for you, and more.

Sign up now

More news stories

Royston Town Council office

The project to create a cemetery at Wicker Hall should end – that’s the view of Royston Town Council’s Cemetery Working Party, which made recommendations to full council on Monday.

Laura Bluer of Jack and Jills baby and toddler group at Reed Flower Festival

In a picturesque scene of rural England, a flower festival was held in the village of Reed at the weekend.

Yesterday, 17:24
From left to right: Sophie Pedder, first junior female in the race, Miles Blackwell, first junior male, Ian Driscoll, winner of the adult entrants, with Thomas Kelly, head of Margaret House, Barley, who sponsored the event. PICTURE: Clive Porter

A snaking trail of runners dressed in blue lit up the Heath on Sunday.

Yesterday, 12:20
Veteran Ben Chapple with son-in-law Ken Nelson.

A Royston veteran who was stationed in Burma during the Second World War has spoken of the importance of remembering the war effort, after a ceremony marked the handing over of the Standard to Duxford Imperial War Museum.


Most read stories


Show Job Lists

Digital Edition

Read the Royston Crow e-edition E-edition

Newsletter Sign Up