Church bell silenced for first time in a century by one complaint will continue to chime after threat of legal action lifted
Bell which survived two world wars was chiming every quarter of an hourNewcomers complained that the chimes kept them awake at nightCouncil served church with 'noise abatement notice' but then complaint withdrawn by church goers Jonathan Apps and Tina Hallett Chimes now limited to sounding just hourly throughout the night
00:44 GMT, 3 December 2012
A church bell which was silenced for the first time in a century following a complaint by village newcomers will continue to chime after a threat of legal action was lifted.
The old bell, which survived two world wars, had been marking the passing of each quarter of an hour in the quaint 15th Century All Saints Church since being installed 100 years ago.
But stunned clergy were served with a council 'noise abatement notice' – prohibiting the bell chiming between 11pm and 7am after a complaint from new residents.
All Saints Church, in Wrington, Somerset, where the bell was silenced following a complaint but will now continue to ring after the threat of legal action has been lifted
The bells that have chimed through two world wars will continue to ring out
This was issued after village newcomers Jonathan Apps and Tina Hallett complained to North Somerset Council that the chimes kept them awake at night.
All Saints Church in Wrington, north Somerset, was forced to silence the clock chimes completely, as the mechanism could not be turned off just at night.
Residents in the picturesque village were left furious at the decision, saying they relied on the chimes to tell the time as the church does not have a clock face.
The chimes began sounding again in the summer when the church's steeplejack discovered a computer program which allowed him to stop them sounding at night.
Mr Apps and Ms Hallett – who live opposite the church – withdrew their complaint and stated that they did not wish to pursue the abatement notice.
But the notice had already been issued – meaning that the church was forced to comply with it or appeal against it through the courts.
Today, a spokesman for North Somerset Council said an agreement had been reached with the Parochial Church Council to limit the church to chiming hourly overnight.
He said: 'North Somerset Council and Wrington PCC are very pleased to announce that the case relating to the chiming of the church clock at night at All Saints Church in Wrington, which originated with a noise nuisance complaint, has now been amicably resolved.'
North Somerset Council issued the notice following a complaint from Mr Apps and Ms Hallett, who live in 587,000 Priory House opposite the church.
Mr Apps, an operations director at Young Masters Golf, claimed the couple – who moved in last October – had never intended for the church bells to be completely silenced.
North Somerset Council issued a 'noise abatement notice' following a complaint from Mr Apps and Ms Hallett, who live in 587,000 Priory House opposite the church, pictured
The church was forced to silence the clock chimes completely, as the mechanism could not be turned off just at night
The church sounds in two ways – with bells which are manually operated and chimes that are automated and run by electricity.
He said: 'We love the church bells. I am a church goer myself.
'There is a difference between the bells and the chimes. We need to make that clear. We only said something about the chimes.'
Circled is Priory House, where the newcomers live and the church is pictured in the background
Village newcomers Jonathan Apps and Tina Hallett,who live in the house circled, complained that the chimes of the clock every quarter of an hour kept them awake at night
Speaking at the time of the row, church warden John Ledbury, whose house backs on to the church, said villagers missed the sound of the chimes.
He said: 'People accept the chimes as part of village life and, as there is no actual clock face on the church – a lot of villagers rely on them to know what the time is.'
The All Saints' tower was influenced by the design of the Victoria Tower at the Houses of Parliament, which stands opposite the most famous chiming clock in the world – Big Ben.