CHESELBOURNE . DORSET . ST MARTIN – Scratch Dial, Old Dial (1631)

St Martin . Cheselbourne . Dorset

DEDICATION † ST MARTIN . Late C13 / early C14; tower C15. S. porch (dial location) C1500 HE, BLB



St Martin . Cheselbourne . Dorset . Scratch Dial

LOCATION † Seven miles NE. of Dorchester. Hidden in a dip in the remote folds of Dorset’s undulating downs, Cheselbourne (Ceseburne DB) is accessible only by narrow lanes. It is well worthwhile if you can understand the signposts well enough to reach the village. 50.7954 / -2.3388 / SY762995

St Martin . Cheselbourne . Dorset . Scratch Dial

DIAL † A remarkable dial, ‘the most carefully cut and complete specimen of a medieval dial in Dorset’ EEC.

On S. wall, scratch dial.’ BLB – a scant note and considerable understatement. The 1631 sundial on the porch (see below) is better served

GLP dates this complex dial as late C15 / early C16, with 25 lines & 26 holes. ‘Each line ends in a hole, the vertical line being marked by 2 holes. The lines alternate in length, a long line running to the gnomon hole with a short line fitting in the angle between 2 of the long lines. The long lines accurately measure the hours; the short lines the half hours’.

Chancellor (ECC) noted crosses halfway along 2 lines, shown in his drawing of 1939. GLP could not trace these in 1996.

St Martin . Cheselbourne . Dial Drawing . Chancellor
St Martin . Cheselbourne . Dorset . Scratch Dial – S. Porch and obligatory drainpipe

NOTES † Above south porch arch, rectangular stone slab with Roman numerals, inscribed HC 1631 WM, with wrought iron gnomon (HE, BHO) LINK ; also a fine C15 churchyard cross with limestone 3-step plinth and Ham stone treads RCHM

The dial is flush with the wall above the South porch. There is a flat strip gnomon with ‘S’ supporter. The gnomon angle is 56 degrees to wall. Face very weathered. Shows 6am to 6pm in half hours. Noon numeral or mark worn away as are many hour lines, IIII for 4pm. Few half hour marks visible. Inscription: “HC 1631 WM” (initials of the Church Wardens)

GSS Category: Scratch Dial

All photos – Keith Salvesen

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