The Chaplain's Thoughts
Recently it has been reported that there are problems at Ashwell, Hertfordshire, because the clock continues to sound during the night. Clock chimes do not concern ringers so long as we have taken the precaution to make sure that hammers are off while we ring.
Problems for ringers begin when people complain about the noise of the bells on practice nights and maybe when quarter peals and peals are attempted. I think it is important for ringers to listen very carefully to any complaints about the noise of the bells. We all know of towers where the bells are really much too noisy just outside the tower. We should be prepared to try to alleviate what may be considered excessive noise and, if possible, reach a compromise with the complainants. New people buy houses near the Church in towns and villages. People who have lived near the Church for years do not seem to have a problem with bell noise.
It often does not cost a great sum to partially block one or more louvres. New rings of bells do frequently have provision for sound control. One of my Churches did not have a ring of bells - just 3 for many years. They became a ring of 5 and some barns on the south side of the Church had been converted into two dwellings. We bricked up the louvres on the south side and all was well.
Bells are the external voice of the Church and they are valuable assets of the Church in more ways that one. The ringing of the bells must not be stopped because of one or two complaints!
Rev Dr Peter Newing