A church which has rung out its bells since the 16th century is facing a fine after neighbours complained about the noise.
St Mary the Virgin church in Leigh, Greater Manchester, has already been subjected to a noise abatement order.
And now it faces calls from its local council to install costly sound proofing material.
Revd Kevin Crinks, who is Priest in charge at the church, is urging supportive locals to speak up: “If you keep silent, so will the bells, and who knows what the next erosion to our freedom might be?”
Some neighbours nearby, in flats which were only built in 2006, have complained to the Council about the bell ringing practice which happens on Monday evenings.
The angry residents organised a petition which forced an investigation by Wigan Council, and led them to issue the noise order in 2008.
But residents are still not happy and the Council has asked the church to install material which would quieten the sound of the bells.
The church cannot afford the sound proofing and Revd Crinks said: “The council has asked us to reduce the time of the ringing, which we have done, but that is still not good enough.”
If the church fails to comply with the order the Council could issue a fine.
At present the bells are silent as refurbishment work is taking place. But they are set to be back in place next month.
Wigan Council’s Head of Regulatory and Community Services, Alan Blundell said: “The residents are particularly concerned that the bells ring at times when they are trying to get young children to sleep.
“Council officers have met with representatives from the church, the residents and from the diocese in the hope of finding a resolution”, he said.
Last year Immanuel International Christian Centre in London was given noise restrictions by the local council following a complaint from a Muslim neighbour.
Baha Uddin claimed that noise from the church prevented him from using his garden at weekends and disturbed his one-year-old daughter.
And a matter of days later another London church was told to cut down its ‘noisy’ songs.
Leaders at All Nations Centre in Kennington, South London were baffled at the decision.
“The complaint against us has nothing to do with noise and everything to do with our faith,” said 43-year-old Victor Jibuike, a pastor at All Nations.
At the beginning of this year Lambeth Council did drop its complaint against All Nations Centre.