THAME: Church bells are back – but for how long?

St Mary The Virgin, Thame
St Mary The Virgin, Thame

Residents were left scratching their heads after the characteristic chime of the clock at St Mary the Virgin fell silent.

After a few weeks the hourly knell sprang back into action on Sunday at the quaint place of worship in Church Road, Thame, but no one seems to know what caused it to go quiet for so long.

Chris and Lesley Mott, who – somewhat ironically – live in Bell Lane, Thame, have been residents in the town for 35 years and said the clock’s striking had become part of the soundtrack to their lives.

Chris, in his 60s, said: “We’d become so used to the noise that it took us a few days to realise that we hadn’t been hearing it. It was like that for about two or three weeks.”

The Motts had heard on the grapevine that a newcomer had complained about the noise, but this had not been verified by the church.

Chris, who is retired, said: “We have heard of people 
moving into villages, complaining about farming sounds and getting the cockerel shut up, so it incensed us a little bit.”

Lesley wrote a letter to 
vicar Alan Garratt asking what had happened to the chime, but before she received a reply she and Chris were delighted to hear the sound back once again on Sunday evening.

Chris said: “Of course, it could have just been broken and they had to wait this long for the new part to fix it.”

The Thame Gazette 
approached St Mary the Virgin in an attempt to clear up the mystery, but the church was unable to provide a comment in time before going to press.