The iconic Victorian clock at St Michael and All Angels Church in the Bronte village of Haworth, West Yorkshire has stopped ticking for the first time since 1871 due to a new health and safety ban.
The Daily Mail reports that a recent insurance inspection ruled that it's no longer safe for volunteers, including retired policeman, Jens Hislop, to climb the stepladder to the winding platform - as he has done several times a week for the last 23 years.
He is not allowed to wind the clock until £1,000 of safety work has been completed, so the clock has been stuck at 5:20 since February.
The Bradford Telegraph and Argus reports that the Haworth vicar, the Reverend Peter Mayo-Smith, explained that volunteer clock winders had to climb a step ladder to reach a narrow landing to wind the clock.
John Huxley, of the parochial church council, said that the church was considering installing an automatic system, but this could cost £6,000.
Mr Hislop told the Daily Mail: "I have been looking after the clock for 23 years and it has gone like clockwork. Then we had an insurance assessment and now health and safety has kicked in.
"They say the platform, which has been there for decades, and the ladder, which was there when I started 23 years ago and was there before, are unsafe."
He added: "I personally don't think it's unsafe... The platform is only 10ft off the floor."
Following the insurance assessment, the ladder needs to be replaced, bannisters need to be replaced and built up to the right height and a new rail needs to be installed.
The Reverent Peter Mayo-Smith says: "The quicker we can get it running, the happier I will be. It has just taken a lot longer than we thought."
Click on the image below to see some of the best new country houses in the UK...
Best new country houses in the UK
Silence in Bronte village and health as safety rules prevent clock being wound up
Looking for the ideal retreat for a romantic weekend away? The Bothy is a luxury, secluded cottage in an organic farm in Dorset, where you can leave the car behind and explore the stunning countryside by foot or bike. Cosy up in front of the fire, eat homemade food from the farm and take a night-time soak in the outdoor tub that's big enough for two! There's also a traditional pub nearby and if you feel like discovering some local beauty spots, the Jurassic Coast, Sandbanks and Lulworth Cove are just 45 minutes away. Prices start from £210 for three nights. Visit launcestonfarm.co.uk
Set in over 25 acres of private ground in the beautiful Northamptonshire countryside, Brampton Grange dates back to the 18th century and is perfect for a family reunion. It has eight en-suite bedrooms in the main house and three separate cottages, sleeping up to 21 people. The bedrooms are furnished in a classic English country style and there's an outdoor heated swimming pool and an all-weather tennis court to keep you entertained. From £5,250 per week, property 850567. Visit homeaway.co.uk
If you're planning a huge celebration and need a stunning property to entertain guests, Archerfield House is a sumptuous Scottish retreat that won't disappoint. The grand 17th century mansion nestled in 600 acres of land on Scotland's East Coast is luxury at its best and has been a rural retreat for royalty in the past. Inside you'll find elaborate ceilings, impressive chandeliers and lavish upholstery. It has 15 bedrooms sleeping up to 30 people, a dining room, drawing room, snooker room and sitting room. There's also a golf course and helicopter access. The house comes fully-catered and staffed too, so all meals (breakfast, afternoon tea, three-course dinner) and drinks are included, as well as a raid-the-larder snack area for guests who get hungry in the night! Prices start at £15,600 for a weekend. Visit exclusiveuse.com
This stylish Cornish coastal pad in St Mawes boasts a fabulous location overlooking the ocean and countryside. Moonrakers has extensive gardens and is close to golden beaches and quaint harbourside towns. Inside the house you'll find contemporary interiors and splashes of colour throughout the minimalist decor. The bedrooms sleep up to 12 people and the bathrooms have tubs for relaxing while you take in the views of the estuary. If you're travelling with kids, there's a trampoline and table tennis in the garden and a games room that has a Wii console with games, plus a pool table. From £2,190 per week. Visit uniquehomestays.com
Fancy having a castle all to yourself for a few nights? This peel tower is part of a 16th century castle and is a great place to rent for its amazing atmosphere. Its stone clad walls, steep stone turnpike stairs and inglenook fireplace retain its authenticity and the abode offers four floors with five bedrooms that sleep up to 11 guests, a vaulted kitchen and the Great Hall, which has a roaring fire. There's also a snug study room - perfect for escaping for some peace and quiet. The surrounding area consists of valleys for walking and mountain biking, rivers for fishing and historic sites, like Melrose Abbey and Abbottsford to discover. From £2,250 per week, ID: 172054. Visit holidaylettings.co.uk
Set around a courtyard with a pretty canal and gorgeous rural views, Deerkeepers Lodge in York is the epitome of countryside luxury. The Grade II listed house has a large kitchen with an Aga, freestanding baths, open fires - all the traditional features you'd expect in a country pad with some hi-tech touches thrown in, like under floor heating, LCD plasma screens in the bedrooms and Bose music system on the ground floor. There are five bedrooms for up to 10 guests and the house exudes rural charm, with its exposed beams and stone walls creating the perfect settting for a sophisticated weekend away. From £1,161 for three nights. Visit ruralretreats.co.uk
Head to the Isle of Wight and enjoy staying in a secluded thatched cottage surrounded by lush gardens and National Trust land. Dunnose Magna has immaculate lawns, running streams and a pond - great for pets and the kids to explore. Inside there are four comfortable bedrooms with LCD TVs and three have en-suite bathrooms. The light and airy home is full of character, with fine artwork in the large reception hall, a carved natural stone fireplace and a panelled oak staircase. Save 10 per cent on a seven-night stay in 2012 with April rent dropping to £836 per week and August stays at £2,036. Visit bluechipholidays.co.uk
One of three newly converted cottages at historic Combermere Abbey, Malbanc Cottage is reached when you enter an original cobbled courtyard under an archway. It has beautiful gothic features, a wood burning fireplace, four cosy bedrooms that sleep up to eight people and a large kitchen. Outside, there's a private garden with outdoor furniture - ideal for enjoying lunch in the pretty countryside setting. From £720 for three nights. Visit combermereabbey.co.uk
This Grade II listed Victorian gothic mansion overlooks the magnificent mountains of Snowdonia and Cardigan Bay in North West Wales. It sleeps up to 10 people in the private rear wing and is also home to the Art Gallery, which is open to the public throughout the year. There are four bedrooms, a fitted kitchen leading to a large dining room and mezzanine, and a comfortable sitting room. Llanbedrog beach with its colourful beach huts is just a short walk away. From £1,000 per week. Visit myfavouriteholidaycottages.co.uk
Nestled in Blencowe Hall estate, Riverain is the ultimate countryside retreat with its open wood burning cast iron fire, a pretty stream outside and amazing views over the Cumbrian hills. The cottage has room for up to six guests and dogs are welcome. Nearby there's the Crown Inn pub where you can buy local ales and great food when you don't fancy cooking. Cycling, pony trekking and brown trout fishing are just some of the outdoor activities you can experience while staying here and under floor heating, WiFi and a 42-inch TV are a few of the comforts you'll enjoy when you fancy staying in. Seven nights from £895. Visit ruralretreats.co.uk