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UK News

Church bell that kept time for over 200 years put under curfew after noise complaint

by Ros Mayfield

The bell at Beith Parish Church in Ayrshire will fall silent for part of the day, after sounding every hour of the day for more than 200 years. 

It was stopped after one resident told the council it was affecting their sleep. 

Organisers said the tradition is part of the Beith's "history and heritage", but the Church of Scotland has agreed to stop it between the hours of 11pm and 7am.

A spokesperson said: “Beith Parish Church is at the heart of the community it serves and strives to be a good neighbour.

“When a local resident informed the Kirk Session that the hourly chime of the clock tower bell was disturbing them during the wee small hours, they committed to try and find a compromise solution.

“Church members are empathetic to the effects of insomnia on individuals and recognise that intermittent, low frequency noise can be disturbing for some.

The Church said it embraced the Bible teaching ‘love thy neighbour as thyself’, and the clock bell has not sounded between overnight since 11th October.

But the decision has met some resistance.  900 people are reported to have signed a petition to restore the 24-hour chime, saying it's part of the town's identity, and townsfolk have told stories of heeding the bell as children, so they knew when it was time to come home.

According to the church's website the bell was gifted in 1823 by Robert Shedden of London and a native of Beith. As well as striking the hours and ringing in church services, it also chimes for the last 5 minutes of the year.

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