RIMPTON – ST MARY (1) † Dom Horne Dials 1 & 2

St Mary . Rimpton . Som.

DEDICATION † ST MARY – early C13, alterations c.1500, N transept added C19.

LISTING † Grade 1

LOCATION † Between Sherborne & Marston Magna, on the Som. / Dorset boundary. Secluded, approached by narrow roads. Historical significance. A small village with plenty of listed buildings to enjoy. Church opposite Manor House at the end of a lane (a good walk starts from there) 50.9948 / -2.5565 / ST610218


DH (1852 – 1952) was a Benedictine monk at Downside Abbey. The Archives state that he was “a noted archaeologist, antiquary and folklorist… and published works on subjects as diverse as holy wells, mistletoe, scratch dials and St Aldhelm”. Between 1913 – 15 he made several tours around Somerset in search of scratch dials. In 1917, he published his delightfully written book ‘Primitive Sun Dials or Scratch Dials’ containing several chapters about dials, their construction and their purpose. These were followed by a detailed analysis, by district, of 224 dials that he located. He divided these into 12 main types, for each of which there are photographs. The Rimpton dials are numbers 212 – 215 in Yeovil District.


DIALS † Part 1 concerns two of the four dials recorded in detail by Dom Ethelbert Horne (DH) during his dial tour of Som. in May 1915. He devised a method of categorising dials by appearance, and ascribed a ‘Type’ to each, as shown in the entries below. Part 2 covers DH dials 3 & 4. Having visited the church twice recently I have found 3 or 4 more dials and a couple of less convincing candidates. These will be written up separately in Part 3.


St Mary . Rimpton . Som. Scratch Dial DH1 . West end

212. (1) This dial is at the w. end of the church on s. quoin of the window under the tower. It is 4 feet 6 1/2 inches above the ground, the noon-line is about 2 inches in length, the style-hole, which is very shallow, is 3/4 of an inch in diameter, and the aspect is due w. Type 3. [DH further notes: Dial No. 1 has been moved from its original place and used as a quoin for the w. window. The mortar round the stone is of different date from that of the adjoining stones.


St Mary . Rimpton . Som. Scratch Dial DH2 . W. of S. Porch

213. (2) This dial is on the e. side of the first window from the w.end. It is 3 feet 8 1/4 inches above the ground, the noon- line is 6 1/2 inches in length, the style hole is 1 inch deep by 3/4 of an inch in diameter, and the aspect is s. by 15° e. Type 8.

St Mary . Rimpton . Som. Dial DH2 . Illustration from Dom Horne’s book 1917

NOTES † Strangely, no dials – let alone a collection of them – are referenced in BLB BHO or HE. There is however an interesting and informative Parish website LINK.

St Mary . Rimpton . Som. Locations of Scratch Dial DH2 and (see next post) DH4


GSS Category: Scratch Dial

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