Church bells complainer received violent threats after villagers mistook him for 'London incomer unfamiliar with countryside'

Church bells complainer received violent threats after villagers mistook him for 'London incomer unfamiliar with countryside'

‘This is the state of modern Britain!’ GB News panel OUTRAGED at St John the Baptist announcement

GB News
George Bunn

By George Bunn

Published: 21/03/2024

- 10:28

The resident said he tried to put up with it for six months before taking action

A resident of a Devon village said he has received violent threats after making a complaint about church bells ringing.

The bells of St John the Baptist, Witheridge, a village approximately 10 miles west of Tiverton, were stopped following a noise abatement order.

Last week, it was announced that they were allowed to begin chiming again last week only after the installation of a mechanism to keep them silent between 11pm and 7am.

The resident who made the claim has now told The Times that not only is he someone who has lived in the village for years, but a former bell ringer.

Outside the church

The Devonshire church has been the centre of media speculation


The abattoir worker, who asked not to be named, said: "I have done bellringing, not very far from here...I’ve been doing it for eight years."

He also dismissed the idea that he was a city man who had arrived in the village in December, when the complaint arose saying: "I’ve been within a five-mile radius of Witheridge all my life."

"When we moved here, we didn’t know they rang every 15 minutes. I tried to put up with it for six months. Come December, I couldn’t take it any more. I phoned the vicar.

"If he had been slightly different, my actions would have been slightly different. His exact words were: 'You’ll get used to it.' That meant: f*** you."


St John the Baptist's Church in WitheridgeResidents who started the petition said the church clock "is more than just a timekeeper" and is "an audible symbol of our shared heritage and community spirit"Google

The man, who said he had faced threats of violence on the local Facebook group, said that reports wrongly claimed that he was the sole complainant when there had been a second complaint from one of his neighbours.

He had tried to seek help from the parish council, saying that he did not mind the hourly chime continuing through the night if they could stop the quarter-hour chimes.

The man added: "I said, 'I’m prepared to put money in. What can we do about it?' They said, 'It’s not deemed a nuisance, so we won’t do anything.' So I thought, I’m going to make it a nuisance. I phoned environmental [health at North Devon district council] the next morning."

GB News has approached Witheridge Parish Council for a comment.

Storm over a church

A storm brews over the village of Witheridge


The complainant said that he was furious to discover that his offer to pay for a mechanism that would stop the night-time chiming was not recorded in the minutes for the December meeting.

He said that he had been told the cost of changing the mechanism would be about £3,000, which he was prepared to pay in full.

The parish council had to pay £2,000 for a mechanism to restrict the chimes to daylight hours but may face a claim for thousands of pounds for damages.

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