TOLLER PORCORUM . DORSET . ST ANDREW & ST PETER – TWO SCRATCH DIALS

St Andrew and St Peter . Toller Porcorum . Dorset

ST ANDREW and ST PETER † TOLLER PORCORUM . DORSET

GRADE II*. C14 chancel & nave; C15 W. tower, N. porch. Much of interest in the church of the village of swine (or possibly wild boar). Font, bells, gargoyles, ‘dropped’ chancel, and a fine stained glass millennial sundial. Midway between Dorchester (S.E.) and Crewkerne (N.W.) 50.7799 / -2.6224 / SY562979

St Andrew and St Peter . Toller Porcorum . Dorset – Scratch Dial(s)

DIALS

Two adjacent dials – one doubtful – high up on a quoin stone on the N. aisle. Dial 1 is definitely a dial, though hard to see for erosion, lichen and height. Dial 2 is a possible dial with a style hole, but no longer other visible dial attributes if there ever were any. The stone has plainly been relocated.

Toller Porcorum Drawing BSS
St Andrew and St Peter . Toller Porcorum . Dorset – Scratch Dial(s)

Besides being relocated, the orientation of the dial suggests it is inverted or possibly – as GLP suggests – rotated by 90º. He detected 4 pock marks in or close to the upper-left quadrant (see BSS diagram above). I did not notice them and they are only faintly visible in my photos (taken with my camera held above my head), highlighted in image 1 below. I did detect 4 faint lines / partial lines. The overall configuration (image 2) would make better sense if the stone were rotated 90º anticlockwise.

Dial with pocks highlighted; dial with lines added

As for possible Dial 2, GLP suggests it might have been a practice style hole or an earlier discontinued attempt at a dial. It’s hard to see why a such a very slightly different location was thought better, though. My amateur theory is that the stone was originally on the S. side, set at 90º anticlockwise, with the time-telling part of the true dial being (as often) in the lower left quadrant. The (then) upper hole might have been an earlier very basic time of day indicator – just a stick in a hole to cast a shadow without the need for refinements.

LINKS for information about the church, the village and its history:

BLB TOLLER PORCORUM

BRITAIN EXPRESS TOLLER PORCORUM

The charming stained glass millennial sundial is a striking addition to an already attractive building. It features on GSS in a different dial category, but it merits inclusion here. [Secretly, this is the dial I prefer]

St Andrew and St Peter . Toller Porcorum . Dorset – Stained Glass Millennial Sundial

GSS Category: Scratch Dial

All photos – Keith Salvesen

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