Vicar’s plea to stop his own church bells from chiming infuriates town

Pray silence: Vicar’s plea to stop his own church bells from chiming all night infuriates town where they have sounded constantly for 180 years

  • Reverend David Parry wants the bells to be silent at night so he can sleep
  • The St Mary’s Church bells chime every 15 minutes in the town of Conwy, Wales
  • Of 400 questionnaires sent to residents on the issue, 200 have already returned
  • As many as 95 per cent of those 200 want the bells to keep chiming all night 
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For the gentle folk of Conwy, the chiming of the church bells has been a reassuring constant for the best part of 180 years.

But a row has erupted in the usually peaceful town in North Wales after the vicar of St Mary’s parish church suggested it was a nuisance.

Reverend David Parry says the repeated ‘bing-bonging’ of his church clock every 15 minutes is keeping him awake. He has written to Conwy council asking that the clock is silenced overnight.

Reverend David Parry wants to silence the bells, which chime every 15 minutes, during the night because they keep him awake

The council has hand-delivered questionnaires to 400 residents and are meeting to decide the bells’ fate next month.

However, most locals have been incensed by the vicar’s ‘ridiculous’ suggestion and say the bells are ‘part of the town’.

Mr Parry said: ‘If it was me in charge of the clock I would have switched the chimes off overnight, as they aren’t necessary and do cause a disturbance to my family as we live very close by. I’m also concerned as Conwy relies so much on tourism that if tourists can’t sleep at night, they will not come back.

‘The town is very busy with stag and hen parties and, once awake, it’s difficult to get back to sleep – the clock doesn’t help.’

But resident Audrey Barker said the questionnaire was ‘ridiculous’.

‘I don’t know anyone in the neighbourhood in favour of silencing the chimes during night-time hours,’ she added. ‘Also, I’m pretty sure that Big Ben chimes throughout the night.’

A questionnaire was sent to 400 residents asking if they agreed with the vicar’s request. So far 200 have been returned, but 95 per cent are in favour of keeping the bells chiming

Natasha Flint, clerk of Conwy town council, yesterday revealed 200 questionnaires had so far been returned, with 95 per in favour of keeping the bells. She also admitted some residents had complained that the council was wasting taxpayers’ money by distributing the questionnaires.

‘We’ve had around six or seven people against the chimes, but the vast majority are in favour,’ she said. ‘People love the bells, they say they are part of the town.

‘We’ve also had a few very rude responses saying we’ve wasted taxpayers’ money. I’d like to tell them it’s cost us around £10 to do as we hand-delivered the letters and used photocopies.’ St Mary’s Church dates from the 12th century, but the clock tower was gifted to the community in 1841.

A decision will be made on silencing the bells between 12.15am and 6.15am by councillors on April 8. They have the final say because the council is responsible for maintaining the tower and clock.

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