ST MICHAEL & ALL ANGELS . COOMBE BISSETT . WILTS
GRADE 1 † C12 south aisle, 2 Norman arches; C13 chancel; C14 tower; C15 nave & north transept. Restoration 1845 by T. H. Wyatt. Early (C12?) font carved from a single piece of Jurassic limestone. One of several fine Chalke Valley churches situated south of the A30 between Shaftesbury and Salisbury. It’s an attractive long cut between the two. 51.0361 / -1.8473 / SU108263
On the S-facing central buttress of the tower there are two adjacent scratch dials on the same stone that merge. It isn’t immediately clear (to me) which came first. Whichever, presumably the time came as the church developed when more accuracy in marking the day’s passage was required.
BSS references a 3rd dial on S wall. Other records mention two scratch dials and one sundial on south side. See below for an attempt to ID the sundial.
DIALS 1 (L) & 2 (R)
Dial 1 is recorded as: Irregular dial with 15° lines in both quadrants.
Dial 2 is noted as: Cannot be classified. Eroded, damaged. Mass or line deeply cut.
My visit was early evening, and the quality of the detail in my photos is unimpressive (see above). For example, there is only the hint of the part-circle of Dial 2. Fortunately, this is a church that another dial collector has visited and later he uploaded his photos to BHO / Disqus. Mark Wolstenholme’s excellent images give a much clearer and sharper view of the details of both dials and their intersection.
DIAL 3 (?)
Another dial is recorded as being on the tower, S wall, a short distance W of the ‘dial buttress’ above. The description states Early Christian ‘Tombstone’ dial. Accurately cut or made. Modern replacement. I found this baffling, and the only conceivable candidate I could find in the area may or may not fit the bill. Somehow I doubt it. Suggestions of its purpose would be welcome…
GSS Category: Scratch Dial; Mass Dial
Photos: Keith Salvesen; special thanks to Mark Wolstonholme who uploaded his detailed photos to the BHO site os and to Disqus os