SIXPENNY HANDLEY . DORSET . ST MARY – Scratch Dial(s)

St Mary . Sixpenny Handley . Dorset

ST MARY . SIXPENNY HANDLEY . DORSET

GRADE II* † Chancel & porch early C14; some C15 & C18 work; remainder of church rebuilt 1877 (Crickmay). For more details (my visit having been curtailed) see St Mary Sixpenny Handley BHO. The village is halfway between Salisbury and Blandford. 50.9552 /  -2.0077 / ST995173

St Mary . Sixpenny Handley . Dorset – Scratch Dial

DIALS

There are two dials recorded for St Mary. I visited just after a funeral service had begun, and I paused for a circumspect and respectful moment at the chancel end of the church, where the dial featured here is situated. I took a couple of photos of the dial before stealing away. The other dial (not noted by GLP) is on the W side of the porch, and I will have to check it another time. Hence the header image is an archive postcard showing the church and its handsome lych gate instead of a photo of the church; and there is a diagram only of the porch dial.

DIAL 1

This large C14 dial looks out of place and seems clearly to have been relocated. The hamstone on which it is cut doesn’t match any others in the vicinity, and the dial is awkwardly angled with the presumed extended noon line some 15º from the vertical. An upper segment appears to be missing from the visible semicircle. There isn’t a definite gnomon hole and the 9 lines seem to radiate from a higher point than the edge of the stone, further suggesting a re-siting. 4 lines extend beyond the circumference. There is a trace of a cross at the end on the apparent ‘noon’ line and GLP notes that it may in fact be a Mass line rather a noon line. Overall he found the dial to be accurately cut.

DIAL 2

Dial 2 is on the W side of the S porch, and the BSS record suggests it is not easy to make out. There is an arc of 7 pocks RHS, from noon on. Not having seen the dial, I am not sure how much else is now visible. I’ll have to time my next visit to the area with more care, and expand this article accordingly.

GSS Category: Scratch Dial

All photos Keith Salvesen; Diagrams BSS & GLP

ROCKBOURNE . HANTS . ST ANDREW – Scratch Dial

St Andrew . Rockbourne . Hants

ST ANDREW . ROCKBOURNE . HANTS

GRADE I † C12 cruciform church enlarged C13 and thereafter. Small timber bell turret added C17. Victorian restoration 1893 (CE Ponting), with addition of porch. Set into an alarmingly steep hillside, with a considerable drop for the unwary. Approached by a now-rare permissive path through private property. Currently (2022) there are building works, with the W end under wraps. 10 miles S of Salisbury. 50.9642 / -1.8368 / SU115183

DIAL

St Andrew has one dial, prominently situated on the buttress of the S chapel and best seen from quite high up the slope. ARG visited in 1923, describing it as very distinct. C15.

St Andrew . Rockbourne . Hants – scratch dial

ARG recorded 13 lines in a semicircle, each ending in a pock, with the angles (almost) equidistant. He noted that the lines are all in the lower half, but does not mention the interesting tilt of the dial, the purpose of which is unclear. Perhaps an adjustment of angle to allow for the slope (as it was in C15 when the dial was cut) and achieve greater accuracy? The large gnomon hole is blocked with a cement plug.

Looked at closely there is a 14th line also with a dot, fainter than the rest, on the upper right side, squeezed in between the clearer top two lines. There are 2 or 3 additional dots that form part of the circumference and possibly were at the end of fainter lines now eroded. Overall, a medieval dial that is less straightforward than it appears at first.

GSS Category: Scratch Dial

All photos: Keith Salvesen

HAMMOON . DORSET . ST PAUL – Scratch Dial (inside porch)

St Paul . Hammoon . Dorset

ST PAUL . HAMMOON . DORSET

GRADE I † Late C12 or early C13; porch added C15, C19 general restoration. A pretty and rewarding small church to visit, close to the R Stour. A simple building, comprising a nave, chancel and porch, topped with a small bell cote. Useful photos HE. Seems off the beaten track but only 3 miles E of Sturminster Newton.  50.9304 / -2.2606 / ST817145

DIAL

The dial is on S side, inside the C15 porch. It is cut into the R end of the original doorway arch (as you look at it; other sources say at the top of the L jamb). It clearly precedes the new porch by at least a century; GLP dates it C13.

St Paul . Hammoon . Dorset – scratch dial inside S porch

This is more or less a 1/4 ‘afternoon’ dial, quite roughly cut. Of the 5 lines (GLP suggests 7 but I could not make them all out). Only one line is before noon, and gives the impression of being an afterthought. 4 have slight curves. None of them (now) is connected to the style hole. The noon line is emphasised in both depth and length. GLP suggests some lines recut. There are 5 pocks rather randomly placed.

NOTE: the pleasing name for the village seems to derive from its historical manor, the ‘hame’ of William de Mohun

GSS Category: Scratch Dial (inside porch)

All photos: Keith Salvesen

TATENHILL . STAFFS . ST MICHAEL & ALL ANGELS – 2 Scratch Dials

St Michael . Tatenhill . Staffs

ST MICHAEL & ALL ANGELS . TATENHILL . STAFFS

GRADE II* † C13 core, much enlarged C15 inc addition of tower. Restoration late C19 (Bodley). An attractive mixed sandstone church typical of the region. 5m SW of Burton-on-Trent. 52.7959 / -1.6967 / SK205220

DIALS

There are 2 dials on the S side of the church, both close to nave windows. Dial 1 is already recorded; I can find no reference to dial 2.

DIAL 1

A simple circle dial with a style hole that has been enlarged at some time (quite recently by the look of it). There is a noon line, with lines for 11, 1, and 2 either side. The dial has a pleasing greenish coloration.

Tatenhall . Scratch Dial . BSS

DIAL 2

Dial 2 has 3 distinct lines radiating directly from the style hole. 2 terminate in dots. There’s no doubt that this is a scratch dial. There are other dots, apparently deliberately made, that may roughly mark a circumference but it’s hard to tell.

Because of the configuration of the dots I wondered – if the stone was relocated at some time – how the dial would look if rotated 90º. There’d be an emphatic noon pock below smaller pocks that might form a rough boundary. The 3 lines might then be markers for afternoon service(s). Maybe.

St Michael . Tatenhill . Staffs – Scratch Dial 2 rotated

GSS Category: Scratch Dial

All photos: Erika Clarkson, with thanks again for her researches in Staffs

PEMBRIDGE . HEREFS . ST MARY – 6 Scratch Dials

St Mary . Pembridge . Herefs

ST MARY . PEMBRIDGE . HEREFS

GRADE I † C12 and C13 origins on Norman site; nave, transepts and chancel arch rebuilt during early C14; N porch added late C14. Restorations 1871 and 1903-1909. Large and impressive (PEV). Fine interior, monuments, glass. Of equal note, the wonderful detached belfry with its hint of nordic influence – not to be missed. I have included a few images and notes at the end of this article. 52.2173 /  -2.8929 / SO390580

DIALS

St Mary merits a collective noun for its dials. A confusion? There are obvious dials, plausible dials, doubtful dials, and 1 or 2 not previously noted as far as I can make out. On my visit I wasn’t equipped with details of dials I might expect to see, and I simply recorded the ones I found. All are on the S wall, starting from the W end. There are some differences from the BSS records.

DIAL 1

St Mary . Pembridge . Herefs – Scratch Dial 1

Dial 1 is a straightforward design among an attractive arrangement of stones. 7 lines, a couple emphasised, some faintly extended, hole in the mortar line.

DIALS 2 & 3

St Mary . Pembridge . Herefs – Scratch Dials 2 & 3

Dial 2 is the most interesting of them all, with its double square surround. There are 13 lines, spaced approximately evenly. Some of extend into or beyond the boxes, a couple are above the horizontal. BSS describes the dial as unique and suggests that it appears to be an attempt to follow the pattern for a sundial, but no evidence of sloping gnomon. The conclusion: a very mysterious dial.

Dial 3 is similar to dial 1, with 6 lines radiating from quite a deep hole where the stone meets the mortar line.

DIAL 4

St Mary . Pembridge . Herefs – Scratch Dial 4

Dial 4 is small and unobtrusive, just L of the doorway. The style hole is (slightly oddly?) in the top L corner rather than more prominently nearer the centre of the stone. There are 2 slender but clear lines, and 3 (4?) faint lines L of them.

DIAL 5

St Mary . Pembridge . Herefs – Scratch Dial 5

Dial 5 is below and to the left of dial 4. It is the most insect-like pattern I have come across – a line drawing might resemble a daddy-longlegs / cranefly. No line is straight, but within the wide variations in dial design and accuracy it would probably have served its purpose marking the passing hours. Unless it really is a carving of a cranefly…

St Mary . Pembridge . Herefs – Scratch Dial 5

DIAL 6

St Mary . Pembridge . Herefs – Scratch Dial 6

On darker stone and in shadow on a buttress, it would be easy to miss this dial. If it is one. At the time, I thought it was; and looking weeks later at the photos I still think so, just a noon line and what could be a Mass line.

DIAL CANDIDATES

BSS has a record of 2 dials that I didn’t notice

Here is a candidate for consideration. Two almost parallel lines that look deliberately scratched drop vertically down from an arguable style hole. I have come across a couple of similar dials – though each had some lines – where the vertical (noon line) was emphasised by being the space between two lines.

ST MARY PEMBRIDGE: C13 BELFRY

PEV (Herefs p 542) considers this bell tower remarkable, and points out its structural relationship with Norway’s Stave Churches and Sweden’s Bell Houses. He dates it early C13, with later reconstructed in C17.

GSS Category: Scratch Dial; Belfry; Bell House

All photo, Keith Salvesen; diagrams BSS

STOUR PROVOST . DORSET . ST MICHAEL & ALL ANGELS – 3 Scratch Dials

St Michael . Stour Provost . Dorset

GRADE I † C13 origins, gradual expansion to C16 – nave, tower, north aisle, chancel, south porch. General restoration first half of C19, further restoration later C19. A fine Dorset church in a lovely setting. 6m W of Shaftsbury. 50.9932 / -2.2948 / ST794215

DIALS

St Michael has 3 dials, all different in style and complexity. With the lengthy development of the church over 3 centuries, and subsequently 2 significant C19 restorations, not all may be in their original positions (for example dial 3 is nearly 3m from ground level). If moved, at least they remained the right way up.

DIAL 1

Dial 1 is on W side of the S porch. The squared-off stone looks relocated – especially as the porch was a late (C16?) addition. There are 9 lines of varying length, with bad erosion in lower R quadrant.

St Michael . Stour Provost . Dorset – scratch dial 1

The dial is / was encircled but little of the circumference line remains. GLP notes that the noon line is marked with a pock where is meets the circle and that the dial is rather inaccurately laid out and the lines do not converge on a point.

Stour Provost . Dial 1 . BSS

DIAL 2

Dial 2 is on a quoin stone on the SW corner of the tower. 6 long lines radiate from the blocked gnomon hole to the lower L quadrant, in effect forming a ‘morning dial’. It is not accurate.

St Michael . Stour Provost . Dorset – scratch dial 2

The dial stone seems to match the others round it. Possibly it is in its original position, but it could have been moved as a block with similar stones either during the medieval period or (more probably) in C19.

Stour Provost . Dial 2 . BSS

DIAL 3

Dial 3 is quite high up on the S wall of the tower and difficult to examine closely. Luckily the lines, though lightly incised, are legible and the overall design is clear.

St Michael . Stour Provost . Dorset – scratch dial 3

The are 12 in all, with the noon line extending upwards from the style hole to the mortar line above. Unlike the other dials, GLP notes that this one is accurately laid out, suggesting that it may have been the last dial to be cut.

Stour Provost . Dial 3 . BSS

ACTUAL / PLAUSIBLE / DOUBTFUL / NOT

2 other stones caught my eye during my visit. Both are dial-ish and in appropriate locations. Which category do these fall into?

GSS Category: Scratch Dial; Multi-dials

All photos: Keith Salvesen

TOLPUDDLE . DORSET . ST JOHN the EVANGELIST – 2 Scratch Dials

St John the Evangelist . Tolpuddle . Dorset

ST JOHN’S CHURCH . TOLPUDDLE . DORSET

GRADE I † A fine church with C12 origins, gradually enlarged C13 & C14. C19 restoration by T H Wyatt. BLB link. A village irrevocably associated with the 6 Martyrs, at least one of whom (James Hammett) lies in the churchyard. The tree where the Martyr’s met stands just outside the churchyard of St John the Baptist, on the main road through the village BE. 10m E of Dorchester. 50.7497 /  -2.298 /  SY790945

DIALS

Both dials are on the S transept wall, dial 1 being on a quoin stone and dial 2 being below a window. They are easily visible. GLP has some doubts about dial 2, explained below.

DIAL 1

St John the Evangelist . Tolpuddle . Dorset – scratch dial 1

Dial 1 is located on a quoin stone of the S transept, with the gnomon hole in the lower half. There are 6 detectible lines, 2 of which point upwards. In addition there are about 11 pocks, though it is hard to be sure of the exact number. The BSS recorded configuration shows 3 holes marking the horizontal, with the main cluster either side of the noon line, which is emphasised with 2 holes (as are 2 other lines). GLP notes the dial is very accurately laid out and no line is more than 1″ from its ideal position

Tolpuddle – BSS diagram

DIAL 2

This design cut just below a window on S wall looks decidedly dial-ish as a very simple way to record the passage of the day. There are no detectable lines or pocks, but a stick in the now-cemented style hole would have served some purpose. The circle was perhaps to attract attention and / or highlight the shadow cast. This minimalist approach is not especially rare: for example there’s a similarly-sized slightly more elaborate dial at HAZELBURY BRYAN.

GLP calls it a dubious dial, and suggests that it would work if hour lines were marked in some other way, possibly with paint. It is not included in the BSS record for Tolpuddle

GSS Category: Scratch Dial

All photos: Keith Salvesen

BERESFORD . STAFFS . CHARLES COTTON’S FISHING HOUSE – Cube Dial

Charles Cotton’s Fishing House . Beresford . Staffs – Cube Dial

CHARLES COTTON’S FISHING HOUSE . BERESFORD . STAFFS

CUBE DIAL

GRADE II* The most famous and piscatorially significant fishing ‘hut’ in the world, in a clearing beside the River Dove, near Hartington. By a quirk of a bend in the river, the hut is in Staffs rather than Derbyshire. Single cell square plan in an Artisan Mannerist style BLB SK127592

The inscription Piscatoribus Sacrum – a sacred place for anglers – gave rise to the hut’s reverential name among fishermen, The Temple. I can’t improve on this description from HE:

Charles Cotton’s fishing house is a unique building designed specifically for the sport of angling. It was an elaborate building in relation to its simple function, an expression of Cotton’s dedication to angling and to his entertainment of fellow anglers. Izaak Walton and Cotton’s The Compleat Angler was significant in the development and diversification of the sport from the 17th century. The fishing house is a fine preservation of Charles Cotton’s angling endeavours and its association with the popular work The Compleat Angler makes it of national significance.

Dated inscription, and intertwined initials of Charles Cotton & Izaak Walton on the keystone

CHARLES COTTON’S CUBE DIAL

A while back I spent a couple of days fishing on the Beresford beat of the Dove (to little effect). Just seeing the hut close to – let alone actually using it for its intended purpose – was an amazing experience. The weather was quite poor; the photos (taken on a basic pocket Canon) poorer still. I’ve had to do some work on the images, which I hope are now clear enough to be informative. 3 faces are featured; images of the 4th, away from the sun, were useless.

Charles Cotton’s Fishing House . Beresford . Staffs – Cube Dial

The dial is fixed to the apex of the hut’s roof. It is surmounted by a round finial, then a weather vane, and – a final flourish – a trout.

Charles Cotton’s Fishing House . Beresford . Staffs – Cube Dial

Charles Cotton’s Fishing House . Beresford . Staffs – Cube Dial

Charles Cotton’s Fishing House . Beresford . Staffs – Cube Dial

GSS Category: Cube Dial

All photos: Keith Salvesen

ST RÉMY DU VAL . SARTHE . NORMANDY . FRANCE – St Rémy et St Rigomer

St Rémy et St Rigomer . St Rémy du Val . Normandy

St Rémy du Val is about 12m SE of Alençon, in a countryside of fields and forests. The church of St Rémy et St Rigomer stands high above the river Bienne, beside a now-ruined small castle. It has early origins but dates mainly from C15. The strong tower also had a defensive purpose. At some stage a small and attractive renaissance double doorway was added, a pleasing architectural contrast.

DIAL

St Rémy et St Rigomer . St Rémy du Val . Normandy – scratch dial

The dial is located on the SW face of the buttress shown in the foreground of the header image. There is a definite tilt to this part of the church supported by the buttress, and to the adjacent buildings (the photo exaggerates it considerably).

I wasn’t expecting to find a dial (or even looking for one), and I was lucky to see such an unobtrusive example as we walked past. I later discovered that there is one other mention of it, and of a possible small dial close to it.

The dial is considerably eroded and quite badly damaged in the lower R quadrant. Close-to, its relative sophistication is evident. The radials are within a double circle and as far as one can tell do not overlap the inner circumference. Almost certainly the lines were incised all the way round the gnomon hole. There is a hint that in the lower half – or perhaps just the lower L quadrant – there are half-hour marks as well. Perhaps these details suggest a C16 dial.

St Rémy et St Rigomer . St Rémy du Val . Normandy – scratch dial (detail)

SMALL DIAL?

Michael Lalos, who runs a very good site for French sundials of all types, also found this small design. At first sight it doesn’t look very promising as a dial, and might perhaps be an apotropaic symbol. However in the last year I have found 2 or 3 very similar designs that in their context were most likely intended as dials.

GSS Category: Scratch Dial

All photos Keith Salvesen except the last pair, Michael Lalos

PUDDLETOWN . DORSET . ST MARY THE VIRGIN – ‘Ammonite’ Scratch Dial

St Mary . Puddletown . Dorset

ST MARY . PUDDLETOWN . DORSET

GRADE 1 † C12 Norman origins, mostly enlarged and rebuilt C13 -C15 with relatively little remaining of the earlier church. One of several ‘Puddle’ villages in the Piddle valley, each of considerable merit. St Mary is of exceptional interest for its furnishings and monuments (RCHM Dorset Vol III), including a C12 font. Atmospheric interior; like a Dickensian law court (SJ 1000 *** p.159). 50.7483 / -2.3433 / SY758943

DIAL

St Mary . Puddletown . Dorset – scratch dial

From a distance the dial of St Mary might easily be taken for an ammonite, especially as the church is only 20 miles from the famed Jurassic Coast. It is located on the E buttress W of the S chapel, on the L side of a large quoin stone. This is a very crudely cut dial (GLP) with 13 rather randomly cut lines extending from a now-filled gnomon hole. Its position and condition suggest that it was relocated during rebuilding or restoration. The left side is badly damaged: it would be interesting to know how it originally looked when intact.

GSS Category: Scratch Dial

All photos: Keith salvesen