WOLFETON HOUSE . DORCHESTER . DORSET – Multiple Sundial

WOLFETON HOUSE . DORCHESTER

Wolfeton House (sometimes Wolveton) is a fine Grade 1 Elizabethan manor house with medieval origins. It stands amidst the the water meadows of the River Frome near Charminster, just N of Dorchester. Admired by Hardy. For more about the house, its history, and how to stay in the Gatehouse (dated 1534) see:

DORSETLIFE HISTORIC HOUSES LANDMARK TRUST

SUNDIAL

Some time ago we went to Wolfeton in connection with the the Pevsner Buildings of England series. I was able to photograph this most interesting sundial, though with a rather rustic camera and in low light. I have put images taken from various angles into a Gallery format so that they can be scrolled through in a approximate sequence. The dial is not in the optimum place for its primary purpose, but with its pleasing symmetrical design it suits where it stands.

INSCRIPTION

The inscription is an intriguing mystery. At the time I was less engaged with dials, or I might have made more effort to record the details and to take a decent photo. As it is, I cannot make much sense of it. The initial letter U… could perhaps be the start of Umbra? But that assumes the words are in Latin. I have checked the main motto resources, including Gatty (original, and revised & expanded); Geoffrey & Henslow; and various less comprehensive sources in books and online. I plan to revisit Wolfeton (we live quite close) to check the details, which I will add if I can make any more sense of the text. Meanwhile, any ideas would be welcome. Actual knowledge, the more so.

DATE

The inscription might give a clue to the dial’s date. My amateur guess is that it is somewhere between mid-C18 and early C19.

GSS Category: Multiple Dial; Old Dial; Garden Dial

All photos: Keith Salvesen

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