St James the Great . Longdon . Staffs – Neil Brittain / BLB


GRADE II* † C13 with C12 origins – Norman S doorway; early C16 tower & chapel; C19 additions, restoration. 5m NE of Litchfield. 52.7251 /  -1.8798 / SK082141


St James has 4 dials, one of which is previously unrecorded. 2 are marked with roman numerals – perhaps unusually for a single church – and 1 dial has an interesting concentric circle design, possibly unique.


Dial 1 is located on the buttress at the E end of the chapel. There is only 1 line – the noon line – which terminates with a pock. There are 8 other pocks around the dial, and the numerals are unconnected to the style hole. These are attractively and crudely cut, as if by someone in a hurry, and are more or less accurately placed.


Dial 2 is high up on a S side parapet stone. It has roman numerals within a faint eroded semicircle at the end of 9 lines radiating from a filled style hole in the mortar line. IIII stands for IV. Unusually, the midday XII / the end of the noon line has been emphasised by dropping the numeral XII below the semicircle.

St James the Great . Longdon . Staffs – Scratch Dial 2 BSS


Dial 3 is on the central buttress of the S chapel, with the hours marked within a double circle (the top half very eroded). BSS suggests that this design may be unique. In addition to the hour marks, there are 4 clear radials: the horizontals, and 2 lines that correspond with Sext and Nones. The original style hole is in the centre of the circle, but the larger circle above it – joined by the filler – may have been a second one for reasons unguessable. BSS notes that nearby KINGS BROMLEY is similar.

St James the Great . Longdon . Staffs – Scratch Dial 3 BSS


Dial 4 is on the S wall. This is a recent find by Erika Clarkson, who lives in the area (see ALREWAS). She saw through the moss and lichen. A simple dial with ± 6 lines and an interestingly downward angled style hole. Note the radials in the R quadrant with a distinct curve. I can’t find a reference to this dial anywhere, so this one can be added to the record for the church.

GSS Category: Scratch Dial

Photos: Erika Clarkson (dials 1 & 4); BSS (dials 2 & 3); Neil Brittain / BLP (header image)

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