WEST CAMEL . SOM . ALL SAINTS – Scratch Dials

All Saints. West Camel . Som.

DEDICATION † ALL SAINTS. Late C14 with much earlier Saxon fragments; C15 features and alterations; C19 restoration; recent internal renovation. A pretty country church and path approach. Battlement and stubby spire on the tower.

LISTING † Grade 1

LOCATION † Just W of RNAS Yeovilton and S of the A303. 51.0195 /  -2.5998 /  ST580246

DIALS † DEH visited All Saints in May 1915, and recorded 2 dials, one which he found inside the porch. An uncommon find, and shared with other churches in the area. There are 5 dials in all.

DIALS 1 – 3

All Saints. West Camel . Som – scratch dials 1 – 3

Dials 1 – 3 are on separate quoin stones of the tower E of the S porch. The eye-catcher is unmissable at the top, with a large style hole that has been considerably enlarged over the centuries. On the stones below are 2 more rustic dials that a very similar.

All Saints. West Camel . Som – scratch dial 1
All Saints. West Camel . Som – scratch dial 1 (π Erika Clarkson)

Dial 1 is a good example of a small line and pock dial. There are 13 lines with pocks (2 are eroded) and there is a double pock in the upper R quadrant on the bottom edge with (possibly) the stub of a line. There are hints of other lines and just possibly a faint shadow of near-erased circle. The deeper cut lines and pocks may indicate the most significant time of day for Mass, in this case between 9 (Terce) and noon (Sext). DEH describes it as a compact and rather curious little dial.

DEH 191. (2) This dial is on the s.w. corner of the tower. It is 5 feet 7 inches above the ground, the noonline is 2 1/2 inches in length, the stylehole is 1 1/4 inches deep, and the aspect is due s. Type 11, combining 3.

All Saints. West Camel . Som – scratch dial 2

Dial 2 is on the stone below. The style was presumably in the mortar line. There are 4 lines (Terce to Sext) ending in pocks. There are further pocks in the lower L quadrant, the top one corresponding with None. A true – if sketchy – Mass dial. The large hole beneath does not seem dial-related.

All Saints. West Camel . Som – scratch dial 3

Dial 3 has a very similar form, with 5 lines (2 very faint) emerging from the mortar line. It seems strange to have 2 dials so alike and so close. From the look of them, the upper dial would have been an improvements on the lower one.

It is hard to know what to make of the 4 pocks in a neat row on the R side. Possibly they belong with the hole above them. Conceivably the configuration could have worked as a crude or experimental dial but it can’t be rated higher than ‘doubtful’.

DIALS 4 & 5

Both dials are inside the porch on L side the original doorway. The present porch was added in 1866, replacing an earlier porch of unknown date. Such ‘inside’ dials are not unusual, but this particular area has several quite close together, eg BLACKFORD, LIMINGTON, WESTON BAMPFYLDE Note the traces of whitewash on and around both dials.

All Saints. West Camel . Som – scratch dial 4

Dial 4 has 4 distinct lines and traces in lower R quadrant. 3 of the clear radials extend to the mortar line below. It looks as though all the lines were originally roughly the same length, with 3 later crudely elongated (2 have bends).

DEH: 190. (1) This dial is on the w. side of the inner door of the s. porch. It is 4 feet 10 inches above the floor, the noonline is 4 inches in length, the stylehole is 1 1/2 inches deep by 3/4 of an inch in diameter, and the aspect is s. by 10° e. Type 3.

All Saints. West Camel . Som – scratch dial 5

Dial 5 is above Dial 4, and much simpler. 4 lines descend from the mortar line, one extended. The upper R one ends in a pock. The 2 pocks on the bottom edge probably emphasise noon. The large hole doesn’t seem to be part of the design.

Dials 4 & 5 close-up

NOTE: fragment of a C9 Saxon cross-shaft with cable-roll interlaced decoration on 2 faces, discovered above nave East wall foundations in 1866. 

GSS Category: Scratch Dial, Mass Dial

CREDITS: many thanks to Erika Clarkson who sent me the excellent close-up photo of Dial 1 and prompted my visit to All Saints and several other churches churches in the neighbourhood; All other photos Keith Salvesen

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