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Bristol church silences hour-chimes for the sleepless parishioners of Hotwells

30 October 2020

DEREK HARPER/GEOGRAPH/COMMONS

Holy Trinity, Hotwells

Holy Trinity, Hotwells

THE temporary silencing of the clock bell of Holy Trinity, Hotwells, in Bristol, owing to noise complaints, has “saddened” most people in the community, the incumbent and churchwardens have reported.

‘It’s the No Bell Peace Prize’

In a statement released on Tuesday of last week, they write: “The majority of people who expressed a view appreciated hearing the bell and have been saddened by its temporary silencing. Most of those are in favour of the bell ringing on a 24 hour-basis, while others recognise that some limitation of the hours of ringing may be reasonable out of consideration for neighbours who hold different views.

“Several people (including but not limited to those who had previously made complaints) confirmed they were disturbed by the bell at night and have expressed appreciation for not hearing it through the night in recent weeks. These include people who have been members of the Hotwells community for several years.”

The bell was silenced in August because of complaints from residents about the bell chiming every hour, including through the night. The mechanism used to operate the bell means that it must be rung for 24 hours or not at all.

The incumbent, the Revd Lee Barnes, and the churchwardens decided to stop it temporarily while they further explored the issue. They received messages directly from individuals, sought responses from the community via social media, and contacted experts. They have said that when the bell rings again, it will only be during the day.

The last time the bell was stopped was in the 1990s so that repairs could be carried out.

“We have sought and obtained advice and quotes from specialist church clock contractors and carefully assessed the different potential options available. Subject to approval of the diocese we intend shortly to install a mechanism that will enable the bell to ring through the day but be silenced at night between the hours of midnight and 6am.

“We believe this will represent the solution that most sensitively addresses and balances the variety of views expressed by members of the local community. We are very grateful to all those who have offered to help the church pay for this work and will provide another update with details of how anyone who wishes to contribute in this way may do so once the work is scheduled and we can advise when the new bell-ringing pattern will commence,” they statement concludes.

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