RESIDENTS of Beith are coming together in a bid to bring back a near 200-year-old tradition.

For the best part of two centuries the town's parish church clock has chimed out the hours, every hour, on the hour, throughout the full 24-hours of the day.

However, in the past few weeks a number of locals have noticed that this historic tradition has been halted - with the clock no longer sounding between 11pm and 7am each day.

It is a decision that was taken by the church following a complaint by a local resident earlier this year regarding the noise made by the clock chiming.

The change has left residents furious with a petition since launched to bring the chimes back into use every hour of the day.

This appeal has gathered more than 900 signatures since it was launched on November 13 as residents rally round to bring back the "cherished tradition".

The petition - which is available online at - explains exactly how much this means to many within the town.

It states: "The chiming of our parish church clock has always been a part of the character and charm that makes our town unique.

"Recently, due to complaints from a newcomer, this cherished tradition has been limited with the cessation from 11pm till 7am.

"This change has not only disrupted our sense of community but also altered an integral part of our town's identity.

"The chiming clock is more than just a timekeeper; it serves as an audible connection to our history and heritage and has been chiming for 200 years.

"Many townsfolk have shared stories about how they've relied on these chimes throughout their lives - from knowing when it was time to head home as children playing in the streets, to relying on them during power outages.

"We understand that everyone's comfort is important. However, we believe that one person's discomfort should not outweigh a tradition loved by many and ingrained in our community for generations."

The petition goes on to encourage North Ayrshire Council to work alongside the church to reconsider the decision to reduce the hours of chiming.

But the local authority have since confirmed that the decision to cease use of the church bells was taken by the church, rather than being imposed by the council.

A North Ayrshire Council spokesperson said: “There has been no formal action taken by North Ayrshire Council in relation to this matter.

“Beith Parish Church originally contacted us in August 2023 seeking advice regarding the operation of church bells during night hours. Following this a complaint was also received from a local resident.

“The church was advised that when assessing for nuisance, the council’s environmental health service would consider the fact that the noise generated was as a result of cultural or religious reasons and was also of long established practice.

“A decision was taken by the church to cease sounding the church bells during night hours (2300-0700 hours) as a matter of practice although they would consider altering this during festive periods or during events of local or national significance."

While a Church of Scotland spokesman has responded to explain why the church came to this decision.

They said: “Beith Parish Church is at the heart of the community it serves and strives to be a good neighbour.

“When a local resident informed the Kirk Session that the hourly chime of the clock tower bell was disturbing them during the wee small hours, they committed to try and find a compromise solution.

“The issue was discussed at two separate Kirk Session meetings and the Kirk Session sought advice from the Environmental Health department of North Ayrshire Council.

“After the local resident lodged an official complaint with Environmental Health, one of its officials wrote to the Kirk Session to ask it to consider 'not operating the church bells between 23:00 and 07:00 to be more considerate to nearby residential properties'.

“Church members are empathetic to the effects of insomnia on individuals and recognise that intermittent, low frequency noise can be disturbing for some.

“Embracing the Bible teaching ‘love thy neighbour as thyself’, the Kirk Session took Environmental Health's suggestion on board and the clock bell has not sounded between 11pm and 7am since October 11.

“The bell continues to chime on the hour between 8am and 10pm, seven days a week.”