TINTINHULL . SOMERSET . ST MARGARET OF ANTIOCH – Triple Polar Scaphe Dial

St Margaret of Antioch . Tintinhull . Somerset

GRADE I † C13 et seq, on early C12 site. Gradual development but (unusually) with little obvious C19 work BHO. Good C16 bench ends. S porch built c1440, originally thatched, with the cube sundial added later. The scratch dials of St Margaret will be written up separately from this unusual dial that, in fact, is not strictly cubic. 5m NW of Yeovil; just S of dread A303. 50.9746 / -2.7156 / ST498197

St Margaret of Antioch . Tintinhull . Somerset – Scaphe Sundial

ADDENDUM 4.11.22

I wrote this piece without access to the BSS dial records, temporarily unavailable online. I had originally described this dial rather broadly as a cube, aware that it wasn’t quite right. Having now got back into the archive, I am better informed (if not wiser). Some of the points I raise below are clarified. Here is the official entry:

There are 3 polar scaphe dials on the porch gable. Possibly C17 or C18. The dial probably showed all hours of sunlight when correctly installed. Now the orientation is incorrect, the polar axis points East and the dial is shaded by a yew tree. The stone is heavily lichened.

DIAL

The large block of stone cut as a sundial is balanced (as it seems) on the end of the S porch roof. Its usefulness as a dial nowadays is reduced by it being partly obscured by the shadows of nearby trees. I have not seen similar dials in England but I believe there are a few in Scotland. I need to do some more research on this.

I confess that I have no idea how this dial might have worked in practice, nor can I comment on the design, nor suggest how many dials (3?) or even ‘shadow casting edges’ there are. Possibly it is unique? I can’t find any helpful information online at the moment. In practice, I suspect that one would need a ladder to examine the dial closely and work out how it functions. Any information would be welcome.

St Margaret of Antioch . Tintinhull . Somerset – Scaphe Sundial

GSS Category: Scaphe Dial; Scaphe Sundial; Multiple Dial

All photos: Keith Salvesen

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