The village of Kenton in South Devon sits on the doorstep of the impressive Powderham Castle, on the banks of the River Exe south of the City of Exeter. Its an attractive area where house prices have risen approximately 22% over the last year, to an average £413,045.
The village of just over a thousand residents is home to the beautiful Parish Church of All Saints, which dates back to around 1450 and is a Grade 1 listed building. Sir John Betjeman described the church as ‘the full-aisled Devon plan at its best’, and it has been numbered in the book by Simon Jenkins as one of ‘England’s Thousand Best Churches’, due to its impressive woodcarving.
During an archaeological dig in 2006, the remains of a mediaeval bell-foundry was discovered and it is the six bells that now reside in the 120 ft tower that have recently become the subject of a noise abatement order.
Having chimed since 1910, you’d think the bells would have upset someone before today, but the local council has just received what is thought to be its first complaint about the noise. The environmental health officer at Teignbridge District Council has threatened to send an abatement order to the church and said it may follow with court action.
The move has been described as “another nail in the coffin of a failing village” by bellringer, Mike Adams. He has lived in the village for nearly 80 years and his father and grandfather were also involved in bellringing. As with so many small communities around the country, Kenton has already suffered from the loss of other local facilities. The local shop has closed and the pub is, as Mr Adams puts it, “in limbo”. His despair is exacerbated by the fact that the complainant has actively chosen to move to a home within earshot of the church and its long-established noise – not the other way around.
If you’re considering the purchase of a new property, make sure you check that the location is suitable for you and members of your family. The complainant in this case secured the sympathy of the local council, but this isn’t always the case. Do your homework and, if you’re new to the area, make sure you visit the property and surrounding area several times, choosing different days and times, before committing to a property purchase.