Campaign group appeals for help to keep Hertfordshire church’s clock chiming

09:50 12 March 2014

St Mary

St Mary's Church, Ashwell


A group campaigning to keep a village church clock chiming are appealing for help raising funds to pay for legal advice to aid their fight.

The Save the Church Chimes of Ashwell group wants to ensure the chimes at St Mary’s Church in Ashwell continue to ring throughout the night, as they have for the last 117 years.

The campaign is holding a coffee morning this Saturday, March 15, for people to get an insight into their work.

All money raised during the morning will go towards paying for a solicitor to advise the group.

Last summer residents living near the church complained about the noise of the clock disturbing their sleep.

An investigation by North Herts District Council determined that the chimes exceed the World Health Organisation’s noise limit of 35 decibels, and as a result, Ashwell Parish Council agreed to switch the quarter-hour chimes off between 11.05pm and 5.55am – with the clock still ringing on the hour – for a trial period.

Though the district council has yet to take any formal action regarding the noise levels of the chimes, Chris Pack, from Save the Church Chimes of Ashwell, said: “We want to engage a solicitor so we know where we stand legally.

“We went to see the parish council at its last meeting to ask if they would appoint one for us, and they have agreed to look into how much it would cost. But we have decided to take it upon ourselves to find the money, because we don’t want the chimes turned off, and we know a lot of other people in the village feel the same.”

As reported in the Crow last month, the group is set to attend the annual parish meeting on March 26 to call for a parish poll on the issue.

The coffee morning will run from 10am-midday on Saturday at the Ashwell United Reformed Church Hall.


  • How come the moderates(people who understand other peoples feelings) seem to think that the people who want the chimes off are right? Since when did one person have the right to look after other peoples health,stop smoking, surely its up to the individual. Do not drink,Dont take sleeping pills and drive, Don't load yourself up with any drug when looking after children.Dont leave your child locked in your vehicle ,unattended . Surely the people with extra sensitive hearing should take their own health into account ie. double glazing, secondary double glazing, some form of sound proofing in this modern day and age ,they should look after themselves,and should not be attension seekers,or a burden or stoop to vandalism to bully their way and cry wolf when it doesn't work. They are their own problem and should keep it to themselves and seek phychatric or medical help for their problems,years ago there was the 3 counties hospital which the locals called the looney bin

    Report this comment

    Martin McBeal

    Wednesday, March 12, 2014

  • Whilst I can appreciate the historical significance of the church chimes, surely we have a responsibility to ensure people’s wellbeing is a factor in determining when is appropriate for them to chime? Just because something has existed for a long time, doesn’t mean it is right, it just means people may have learned to accept the consequences e.g. sleep disturbance. I fear this argument is in fact nothing to do with the chimes, but a class war of the haves and have-nots and the fear of change from “outsiders”. Change will always happen, people can’t live in a bubble or utopia world and the law protects against mob-rule where the real arguments are lost by those with entrenched views.

    Report this comment


    Wednesday, March 12, 2014

  • I’m very sorry to rain on your parade Mr Robert, but I find it sad that your lack of knowledge forces you to automatically surmise that those Ashwell families and residents who wish for the chimes of their church clock to continue and ring out are all so poor. Maybe one day someone wiser will take the time to explain to you that driving a nice big expensive car and having a huge mortgage just to own that fashion statement post code by no means says you’re rich. Perhaps it is indeed those huge mortgage payments and the hire purchase payments for the car that cause the lack of sleep that you mention, but then who am I to know such things being the mere peasant I am?

    Report this comment


    Wednesday, March 12, 2014

  • "Robert" You say "Class war of have & have-nots" I wonder what your definitioncriteria is for both of these. I suspect you are referring to materialmonetary means. If so this is very subjective - I for one could be judged poor by some standards & rich by others. However if you talk of something far more important like integrity, compassion, loyalty, honesty - true values - then I am a "have" - hence my solidarity with others & their just cause to retain the chimes as they are. I agree with you that we do "have a responsibility to ensure peoples well being as a factor to determine when they chime" which is why you find 99% of the village wanting them left as they are. As for "change" - it is an integral & necessary part of life. But I fear this has nothing to do with change for the right reasons. Interesting you judge people standing up for their village as "mob rule" most of which were at some point what you also term as "outsiders"!

    Report this comment


    Wednesday, March 12, 2014

  • Thank you Robert for your words of wisdom. To put the record straight I have lived in the village for 38 years,bought a property in the village and done fairly well for myself. By addressing the group as Mob Rule is an insult to all concerned.These are all people who I grew up with and have respect for irrespective of their class or creed. I need say no more !!

    Report this comment

    Chris Pack

    Wednesday, March 12, 2014

  • I am afraid that Robert's view is misguided; not to mention offensive to those of us working tirelessly to preserve one of Ashwell's most beloved characteristics. Yes Robert, change will always happen and one of the biggest changes of modern times is sound-proof double glazing, something that seems to have not occurred to any of the complainants who want the chimes switched off at night for their own reasons. I have asked these complainants why people living much closer to the church have no issue with the chimes when they themselves are so affected, and they are unable to answer. I'll also make it clear that more than one complainant is a long term resident, they are not all newcomers. One complainant has moved from elsewhere in the village to opposite the church and only now has decided to make a fuss. It is not unreasonable to expect that a magnificent church will have a chiming clock. It is part of our history and culture and a great comfort to many of those who live within earshot of the melodic heartbeat of the village. Perhaps Robert would care to clarify what he means by "haves and have-nots". What we have is a very small group of people trying to use force and bullying to silence the 118 year old chimes. Is it a class issue then, to fight for something that is dear to you? It seems that money has much to do with it as all the complainants own expensive property but spent so much on their houses there was no cash left over for double glazing. They want the elite postcode but not the traditions that come with it. So maybe not a class thing - after all, that's the only thing that money cannot buy. All are welcome at our coffee morning on 15th March, 10am-12pm at URC Hall, Hight St, Ashwell. All proceeds to Save the Church Chimes of Ashwell Legal Representation Fund.

    Report this comment

    Maria Brown

    Wednesday, March 12, 2014

The views expressed in the above comments do not necessarily reflect the views of this site

More news stories

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.

Yesterday, 10:16
Leon Clark, Company Accountant and Jenni Matthews, Marketing Manager

The owners of a Royston company have expressed their frustration that they were signed into a five-year contract with BT without their consent.

Mon, 15:33
Kavan Hanks.

An 18-year-old from Royston suffered lower back and coccyx pain after a car ploughed into him while he was skateboarding, causing him to go straight over the bonnet and land in the middle of the road.


Most read stories


Show Job Lists

Digital Edition

Read the Royston Crow e-edition E-edition

Newsletter Sign Up