GRADE 1 † C12 origins; mainly C14; much rebuilt C15/C16; further rebuilding late C18; restoration C19. One of only two churches with this Dedication (Fulbourne Cambs is the other). A pleasing and unpretentious church. Very close to Downside Abbey/. 51.2552 / -2.4896 / ST659507
Downside Abbey was home to Dom Ethelbert Horne, the pioneer dial collector and analyst who covered Somerset with skill and determination, using a motorcycle to get around. He began the project in 1913, and recorded the dials at St Vigor on Nov 3 – perhaps they were his first finds. His book with its careful explanations is a vade mecum for any dial enthusiast (even one with no connection with the County).
Dial 1 is located at SW corner of the nave, high up (7′) on a quoin stone. DEH noted The Mass line in this dial is sharp and distinct, and made at a different time from the other lines. He makes no comment on the design. There are 6 lines each with a terminal pock, with hints of a couple more. DEH makes no mention of a gnomon, but with his usual thoroughness measured the depth of the hole. It is certain, therefore, that the existing (copper?) rod was inserted relatively recently.
Dial 2 is on the buttress between S porch and E end of the nave. DEH commented: Encircled. No hour lines can be seen on this ancient and badly worn dial. the remains of 2 circles close apart. Were it not for the noticeable gnomon hole, it would be easy to pass this one by.
To be found on the W side of the entrance to S porch, 3′ 3″ high. Or so noted DEH very specifically. He mentions a style hole and a noon line 3½” long, but I spent some time examining this area and indeed the corresponding position on E side of the doorway (because field notes are occasionally confused), with no convincing dial identifiable. Here are photographs of the location, for what they are worth…
In C6 there was a ‘hermit preacher’ and Christian missionary who became Bishop of Bayeux. He died c537 AD and was canonized as St Vigor (Lat.) or in due course Saint Vigeur (Fr.). The Norman conquest brought his followers to England and his name first appears in an eleventh-century breviary at Worcester.
Another account is that in the early C12, manorial rights for Stratton passed to a Norman family who came from Saint-Vigor-le-Grand, Normandy.
ST VIGOR IN FRESCO
GSS Category: Scratch Dials
All photos Keith Salvesen; St Vigor as credited; source material Bath Record Office, Wiki