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Parishioners struggle to repair random chimes

27 September 2013

CLARISSA CRIDLAND

Wayward: the clock at Holy Trinity, Coleford 

Wayward: the clock at Holy Trinity, Coleford 

PLANS to repair a wayward church clock, which has chimed whenever it felt like it for the past five years - and not always correctly - have received a setback.

The clock on the tower of Grade II listed Holy Trinity, Coleford, Somerset, which was built in 1831, can suddenly produce a dozen strikes at an odd number of minutes past the hour, or chime only once when it should be hitting double figures.

Two years ago, parishioners set about raising the amount - almost £8000 - that was originally estimated for the repairs, which include an automatic winder so that a parishioner (of "retirement age") no longer has to make a weekly ascent up a series of vertical wooden ladders to do the job manually. But new rules mean that they must now find almost £2000 more.

The NSM at Holy Trinity, the Revd Clarissa Cridland, said: "We thought we were there, and we were ready to obtain the faculty, but we have been caught by the VAT. New regulations affecting listed buildings came into effect in March this year. But I am checking to see if we can find an exemption.

"The clock's erratic; you just can't tell what it's going to chime or when. It can be very off-putting when you are in the middle of a sermon and it suddenly starts chiming. I heard it on Sunday morning, and it struck way past what it was supposed to be. I gave up counting. Sometimes it's accurate, but that's a rarity.

"We are doing all this because the clock is a much-loved feature of the village. People these days don't rely on the church clock to tell them the time, but they like to hear it chiming."

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