Bodicote church bells will ring out for Christmas Day

Bodicote Church tower. NNL-180412-144025009
Bodicote Church tower. NNL-180412-144025009

The bells will ring out loud and clear on Christmas Day in Bodicote, in spite of complaints from residents of some nearby homes.

But the church tower may have to be muffled to lower the tone of the peals in future.

News of complaints about the bells from St John the Baptist Church was met with a cacophony of angry comments from many past and present villagers who flocked to social media to tell ‘moaning minnies’ to silence their opinions.

Jennie Healy, on the Bodicote Church Facebook page, said: “The church has been part of the village since 13th century. Therefore all living in the vicinity have chosen to do so in the knowledge there is a fair sized church which, true to tradition, will at times ring bells.”

Gemma Woodfield said: “We were married at this church and having the beautiful bells was the highlight. To actually be at the stage where sound proofing is even being looked into is absolutely ridiculous.”

Anna Wallis said: “We shouldn’t have to ruin a tradition for the minority of people complaining.”

Many villagers pointed out that those who chose to live in homes near a village church should expect bell-ringing. The church administrators on the page said complaints could result in drastic curtailment of bell-ringing or even a complete halt.

They said the Diocesan bell ringing expert was investigating ‘sound control improvements’ for the tower to reduce noise levels, allowing the bells to be rung for practice and by visiting ringers without causing nuisance.

“We have no intention of silencing the bells as they are very much a part of village and church life, but we need to take steps, so in the event of further complaints we can show reasonable measures have been taken.”

Rev Sarah Sharp said: “We’re delighted we have a flourishing bell-ringing community of 20 to 26 members and that many of the villagers love to hear the bells. Any work on the tower will be a lengthy process and the community will have the right to comment.”

Christine Phillips, whose father was born in Bodicote and was a bell ringer, said: “Whenever I hear church bells now, it reminds me of a more gentle era when people lived happily together in the village. When I read there were complaints I thought it was a joke.”