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
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.
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]
GSS Category: Scratch Dial
All photos – Keith Salvesen