St Andrew . Alfriston . Sussex

GRADE 1 † C14 flint-faced cruciform church of considerable interest, in an attractive setting between Lewes and Polegate. Oddly, the usual reliable research resources (BLB, BHO, HE) have minimal or no entry for St Andrew. Luckily the CUCKMERE CHURCHES website gives helpful details.  50.8066 /  0.1581 / TQ521030

St Andrew . Alfriston . Sussex – Scratch Dial


The neat compact dial is located on the S porch, on a W side quoin stone. It is encircled, with 12 radials of which the noon line – though the faintest – extends some way beyond the circumference. The style used in the original style hole, now blocked, was evidently superseded by an iron gnomon set in the oblong hole above the cement; probably not earlier than C17. This adaptation is also found at St Michael Litlington, situated opposite Alfriston on the E side of the Cuckmere valley. The dials there are famous and I will post about them separately.

St Andrew . Alfriston . Sussex – Scratch Dial

The radials are contained within the lower half of the dial (below the 6 – 6 horizontal) and are rather randomly spaced at (roughly) the 15º intervals usual in this design. In a later dial, the lines would be graduated. This form is a Canonical dial designed to mark the times of Mass. The significant lines were Terce, Sext and None – the 3rd, 6th (noon) and 9th hours. These are not emphasised here (eg by being cut wider, deeper or longer) although on many dials they are . There is a suggestion (BSS) that at some time the dial was recut / rescratched.

St Andrew . Alfriston . Sussex – Scratch Dial

GSS Category: Scratch Dial

Photos: John Renner (dial); Camilla Pennant (church view across the village green known as the Tye)

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