Support the Night Chimes at St Mary's Church Overton
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St Mary's Church has been asked by the Basingstoke & Deane Environment Department to silence the church bells during the night, this is due to a complaint from a local resident. This petition is for local residents who would like to express their support for the bells to continue chiming through the night.
The Implications of Silencing the Chimes
As things stand at present, it is not a matter of silencing the chimes only at night. The mechanism has to be manually switched every time the chimes are turned off and on again, by someone who knows how to do it. There are three people who can do it, and it is not practical for them to commit to a late evening and early morning duty day-in and day-out. There are dangers (both to the people and to the building) in un-tutored people having access to a bell tower, so it would not be feasible to extend a rota with additional volunteers. So, if the chimes go off at night they will have to stay off during the day as well.
History of the Clock and Chimes
The clock and the chimes date from the late 1850s. A public subscription was raised to install a public clock in the church tower after there was a problem with the grand dinner after the Sheep Fair when diners without pocket watches did not know when they were supposed to come to eat! The clock was installed at much the same time as the "Big Ben" clock and has a similar "double three-legged" escapement, which was state-of-the-art at that time. The tower was rebuilt between 1905 and 1908, so the clock, with the chiming apparatus, must have been re-installed in the new tower.
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