A GOLDEN cock crowing proudly above South Molton has come home to roost on its 250-year-old perch. The gleaming weather vane towering 128 feet above the ground at St Mary Magdalene Church, has been fully restored to its former glory thanks to Friends of S

A GOLDEN cock crowing proudly above South Molton has come home to roost on its 250-year-old perch.The gleaming weather vane towering 128 feet above the ground at St Mary Magdalene Church, has been fully restored to its former glory thanks to Friends of South Molton Parish Church and the Parochial Church Council.The £1,000 repairs have been carried out by specialists Western Steeplejacks, of Exeter. The weathervane has been completely regilded, while the associated ironwork spire has been repainted.Robert Sherlock, of Friends of South Molton Parish Church, said that the weather cock dated back to 1754, two years after the old church spire was taken down in what was equivalent to a breach of planning control by the South Molton authorities.The cock was put up following orders by the chancellor of the diocese, who said that, although it wasn't necessary to replace the spire, the church needed to put back something that gave the same effect."The church maintained the impression of a spire using pyramid-shaped ironwork," he told the Gazette."It has been regilded a number of times over the years, although at one time it was actually painted rather than gilded."It has now been returned to its original condition and looks quite spectacular. "As the sun shines on it as it turns, it will catch your eye and will go very nicely with the church clock dial that was regilded by the Friends of South Molton Parish Church Committee in June, 2006."Checking the time and checking the wind direction should now both be dazzling experiences for the citizens of South Molton."After the town's tallest and oldest building had been without its crowning feature for almost a month, the dangerous job of repositioning the weathercock, weighing 25-kilogrammes, was left to steeplejack Adrian Wright on Monday. In favourable wind conditions, Mr Wright climbed the internal staircase to the top of the tower - and up an external ladder - to attach the piece to the top of its central post.The solid copper cock, despite being restored using 23-and-a-half carat hand-beaten gold leaf, still bears a mysterious bullet mark. Steeplejack Mr Wright guessed that it was probably used for target practice by the Home Guard during the World War Two!