ALL SAINTS . ALREWAS . STAFFS
GRADE l † C12 origins, from C13 gradually expanded, reworked, and restored. Recent additional work. Large coursed and squared sandstone blocks BLB. OE Alorwæsse. Situated by R Trent, between Lichfield (NE) and Burton-on-Trent (SW). 2°44’05.3″N / 1°45’11.1″W / SK 16769 15267
Located on E side of S porch. A conspicuous dial with a large blocked style hole, eroded and damaged through the ages. Some general local repair. The porch was rebuilt in 1866 and the dial was evidently considered worth preserving as a feature. The B&W archive photo below shows the dial’s state in 1991. The deterioration since then is significant, with the fan of clear lines reduced to vestiges.
BSS dates the dial to C14 and notes Eroded, damaged. Important, possibly unique
Located on S wall of the nave, R of 2nd Buttress E of door. This dial is also dated by BSS to C14. A simple early dial with lines marking the midday period, roughly 11 – 2 in clock terms. 4 clear lines and 3 very faint, with the noon line slightly longer. The slant-wise photo (as often) reveals more useful detail. I think the pocks are not related to the dial, but are the result of pitting of the sandstone over the centuries. BSS notes Various pocks, but scattered
Traces of a plausibly original medieval gnomon are extremely rare, but original style holes have sometimes been reused / enlarged / adapted for a contemporary gnomon during the life of a church. These were often metal rods. This dial must at some stage have had one and – to judge from the coloured residue – until relatively modern times.
There is a 3rd and significant dial on the BSS Register for All Saints, also on S wall of the nave and W of easternmost buttress. This strange little dial is described as Unique: multiple pocks covering sector 135°-180°.
At some time the stone must have been rotated 90º, otherwise it makes little sense as a marker for the time of day. Corrected, it covers the period of roughly Terce to Sext in Mass terms. A morning dial.
Erika Clarkson collected dials 1 an 2 and took very good photos (dial 3 is from the BSS record). She also photographed the dial at neighbouring WYCHNOR and you may like to use the link to see them and compare. The dial there, on different stone, is similar to dial 2 above in design.
GSS Category: Scratch Dials
All photos: Erika Clarkson, except header image – Peter Ralley; B&W image ‘Staffordshire Past Track’; Dial 3 BSS