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John Meads 2018
"Ring Out Wild Bells"
(Alfred Lord Tennyson)
(But Not Too Loud)
The bells and ringers
An earlier photograph of the Burton Latimer bells and
bell-ringers when the bells were re-hung in the 1920s


Northamptonshire Evening Telegraph 6 May 1939


Considerable interest attaches to the Parochial Church Council of Burton Latimer Parish Church this week to buy leather “dampers” to fit on the church bells to reduce the sound when they are rung. For some time inconvenience has been caused to residents living near the church by the ringing of the bells, not so much on Sunday but on days when the bell-ringers practise sustained peals. Burton Latimer has an exceptionally good peal of bells and ringers from other parishes also often visit the church to ring. Mrs. L. N. Loake, of the Manor House, Burton Latimer, whose house is immediately adjoining the church tower, (see below) told the “Evening Telegraph” that the bell ringing on a weekday, when a peal was being rung, was enough to “drive one mad.”

“Monday night,” she said “is the bell-ringers’ practice night and we always go out on that night to the’ pictures’ or to the house of a friend. When the bells are being rung even with the windows shut you cannot listen to the wireless.” Mrs. Loake added that the bell-ringers always notified her when there was to be ringing on any other night and she would then arrange to be out that night as well. Another resident in Church-street told the “Evening Telegraph” that the bells woke up her little boy. “He goes to bed early,” she said, “and sometimes if the wind is bringing the sound in our direction the bells wake him up. If they do he never goes to sleep again until they have finished ringing.”

Mr. C.E. Lansom, secretary of the Parochial Church Council, told the “Evening Telegraph” that the church authorities appreciated the difficulty and tried to help people by letting them know when the bells were to be rung. “on the other hand,” he said, “no-one wants to rob the bell-ringers of their pleasure.” Burton Latimer Church has a very fine set of bells, which is probably one of the best in the district and is, therefore, in considerable demand among local ringers. . Earlier this year, the belfry windows were bricked up, partly in response to the sound of the bells and partly to keep birds out of the tower, but this alteration does not seem to have had much effect so far on the volume of sound is concerned.


A similar difficulty regarding the ringing of church bells has arisen at Corby, where shift workers have complained that they could not sleep because of the sound. The new dampers which have been ordered for Burton Church are made of leather and fit over the clapper of the bell. They will be the first of their kind, it is thought, to be used in this district, and the result when they arrive will be awaited with interest.

The Manor House and church
This early 1970s aerial photograph shows the proximity of the
Manor House (bottom left) to the church tower

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