LONGBURTON . DORSET . ST JAMES THE GREAT (2) – Scratch Dials (one ‘new’)& Vertical Dial

St James the Great . Longburton . Dorset

ST JAMES THE GREAT . LONGBURTON. DORSET (2)

Some time ago I wrote about the intriguing scratch dial rather hidden away through a low archway at the E end of the church: LONGBURTON SCRATCH DIAL 1

DIAL 1

St James the Great . Longburton . Dorset – Scratch Dial 1

The village is better known dial-wise for the vertical dial on the S-facing tower buttress (see below). Yesterday I went back to look for apotropaic and other church marks, and to my surprise found an excellent conventional sundial hidden in plain sight and hitherto unrecorded. I can’t think how I – or any dial gatherer – would miss it…

DIAL 2

The previously unrecorded dial is near the base of the same buttress as the vertical dial. There are 4 lines, the more clearly cut noon line being longer and reaching the edge of the dial stone (and possible trace of extension onto the stone below). The angles are almost equal. There is the distinct trace of a circle in around the top half, but strangely the gnomon hole would not be at its centre.

St James the Great . Longburton . Dorset – Scratch Dial and Vertical Dial, Tower Buttress

VERTICAL DIAL

The dial is high up on the buttress of the tower, and nearly as wide. It is quite eroded, esp. RHS. The lines are contained within a frame, and half hours and some quarter hours are also marked.

BSS notes Triple dot motif at head of half hour lines. Gnomon formed from iron strip with supporter. Supporter is detached at contact with gnomon

The dial numerals are Roman, yet there are Arabic numerals in both bottom corners signifying the date. It is hard to make it out, but I think it is 1798. There are the remains of an inscription along the top of the dial, just the last 2 letters being discernible (O & W?).

GSS Category: Scratch Dial; Old Dial

All photos: Keith Salvesen

KINGTON . HEREFORD . ST MARY – 6 Scratch Dials

Kington Herefs St Mary (Ruth Harris CC)

ST MARY . KINGTON . HEREFORDSHIRE

GRADE I † Dated from c1300, with a C12 tower that was originally separate, later incorporated when the church was extended and (BLB) much altered. Attractively distinctive to look at. 15m W of Leominster. 52.2045 / -3.0384 / SO29156

DIALS

St Mary is a multi-dial church with 6 recorded, one of which is doubtful. They range from conventional to basic. 3 are clustered on adjacent stones.

DIAL 1

Dial 1 is on the S wall, a fan-shaped edged quadrant radiating from the mortar line and stretching across 3 stones. It is near-symmetrical along the noon line. The 5 lines are spaced almost equally, the outer ones being incised more deeply, perhaps to draw attention to service times. The ‘1’ line is of interest, less accurately cut, bifurcating as it crosses onto the stone below, and ending in a single pock. This feature is so specific that it was presumably intended to emphasise a time of day of particular significance in the local community.

DIAL 2

Dial 2, on the S wall, is far simpler than Dial 1 but is also near-symmetrical from the noon line. 3 lines, the one to the L more of a straight scratch than a cut. The style hole is in a fault line in the stone (which may well be subsequent damage). Possibly the ‘1’ line crudely divides halfway down, beginning with a pock. This would match the similar emphasis in Dial 1, and perhaps supports the theory of a special ‘event’ mark.

DIAL 3

Dial 3 is also located by the door on the S wall, very damaged and eroded. 4 clear lines radiate from a style hole in the mortar line (there are also 2 very faint lines). Only the uppermost in the lower R quadrant survives for its full length.

DIALS 4 & 5

Dials 4 & 5 are beside and below Dial 2. Both are faint and barely more than token efforts at a dial, as if a youthful assistant priest had a knife and time on his hands.

Kington Herefs St Mary – Dial 2, 4, 5

DIAL 6

Dial 6 is a very simple dial (if it is one): a style hole within a deeply cut circle, and what could be a stubby noon line. The close-up b&w BSS photograph gives a good idea of it. There’s not a lot of confidence in the record: Position not known. Noon line only? Circle only and faint line at 90L. Possible noon marker. Doubtful dial.

Richard & Catherine Boztum, in their excellent illustrated booklet (cited below) of Herefordshire Church marks and scratch dials include dials 1 – 5, but not this one.

Kington Herefs St Mary – Dial 6 – BSS

I also have my doubts. St Mary has plenty of Church graffiti – initials, scratchings, small crosses, and in particular a number of apotropaic symbols (ritual protection marks). The design of ‘Dial 6’ is one of many forms of ‘witch mark’. And on St Mary itself, there is a more elaborate version of the circle-and-centre-hole mark.

Kington Herefs St Mary – Apotropaic mark

OTHER CANDIDATES?

Having in mind the rather basic design of some of the dials above, there are a couple of candidates that I photographed for later inspection. The first is at least plausible and matches the noon line symmetry of dials 1 & 2. The other is unconvincing. You be the judge…

Kington Herefs St Mary – doubtful scratch dial

GSS Category: Scratch Dials; Multi-dials

Photos: Header image: Ruth Harris (Geograph / Wiki / CC); all other photos Keith Salvesen except dial 6 BSS

REF: Botzum R and C : Scratch Dials, Sundials and unusual Marks on Herefordshire Churches. Lucton, Herefs, 1988

BUCKHORN WESTON . DORSET . ST JOHN THE BAPTIST: dated scratch / scientific dial 1599

St John the Baptist . Buckhorn Weston . Dorset

GRADE II* C13 origins; mainly C14 with C15 porch; extensive C19 alteration / restoration including complete rebuild of the tower (1861), & later work by Crickmay. A pleasant aspect as one walks up the church path. 5m SE of Wincanton. 51.0213 / -2.348 / ST756247

DIAL

Sundial: reset on S. wall of tower, square stone plate with arabic numerals and inscription ANNO DO 1599. BHO

St John the Baptist . Buckhorn Weston . Dorset – Scratch / Scientific Dial

A most interesting dial set into the upper stage of the tower. Presumably re-fixed in that position (or perhaps relocated there) during the C19 rebuilding. Despite erosion and damage, the unaffected features are quite well defined. GLP notes that it is one of the earliest dated dials (of any sort) in Dorset.

St John the Baptist . Buckhorn Weston . Dorset – Scratch / Scientific Dial

Although giving the appearance of a large scratch dial with an inscription above it, GLP classifies it as a more sophisticated ‘scientific’ dial, because the angles between the lines measure standard hours. The use of numerals fits in with the inscribed date. GLP calls them roman; BHO has them as arabic. My detailed photos don’t help either way. They do show that the stone was cracked in two at some stage; and they raise the question “where was the gnomon?”

GSS Category: Scratch Dial; Scientific Dial

All photos: Keith Salvesen

BROAD HINTON . WILTS . ST PETER AD VINCULA – Scratch Dial & Porch Sundial

St Peter ad Vincula . Broad Hinton . Wilts

ST PETER AD VINCULA . BROAD HINTON . WILTS

GRADE 1 † C13 origins (possibly back to Saxon); developed C15, C17; late Victorian restoration. Use of local sarsen stone. Hammerbeam roof. Merits a long entry in PEV, especially for the monuments. 5m N of Avebury, 7m NW of Marlborough 51.4858 /  -1.8497 / SU105763

DIALS

St Peter has 2 dials in very different styles, and a couple of ‘not-a-dial’s. There is also a modern-ish sundial on the porch, probably from the late C19 restoration, with a rather gloomy motto that fits in with Victorian mores.

DIAL 1

St Peter ad Vincula . Broad Hinton . Wilts – scratch dial 1

Dial 1 is a fairly large and pleasingly simple dial on L side of a window jamb. 4 lines drop down from the style hole into the lower L quadrant, bounded by a sector of a circle. It looks rather uncomfortable. The puzzle is whether this was the original location (in which case it seems too large for the available space); or whether it is a relocation.

DIAL 2

St Peter ad Vincula . Broad Hinton . Wilts – Scratch Dial 2

Dial 2 is an encircled dial, the lower half eroded. There is a shallow style hole and various pocks, not all necessarily relevant to dial functions. The significant ones are on the L side, with 3 pocks in a row between the style hole and the perimeter. Below them are less organised pocks. The dial would make more sense if rotated 90º, with the horizontal line becoming the noon line and the less defined line perhaps marking a Mass time (None?). This suggests that the stone was relocated, and certainly the size and colour of the stones around it vary significantly (image 1 below).

Promising but on closer inspection unlikely dials

OUR DAYS ON THE EARTH ARE AS A SHADOW

The C17 porch was restored C19 and then (or later?) this dial was added over the door, with its discouraging message (no hint of the ‘sunny hours’ etc found elsewhere). The dial is slightly angled to face due S for greater accuracy.

NOTES: Various types of external graffiti – scratchings, initials, Marian marks etc; on the WILTSHIRE HISTORIC CHURCHES TRAIL

GSS Category: Scratch Dial; New Dial; Medieval Graffiti; Marian marks

All photos: Keith Salvesen

HAZELBURY BRYAN . DORSET . ST MARY & ST JAMES – Scratch Dial, Marian Marks

St Mary & St James . Hazelbury Bryan . Dorset

ST MARY & ST JAMES . HAZEBURY BRYAN . DORSET

GRADE I † Mainly C15, chancel rebuilt 1827, general restoration 1895 and early C20. A fine Church some way out of the centre of the village (as with several other churches in the area, eg Pulham, Lydlinch). Nave and N aisle have C15 wagon roofs. Graffiti & witch marks in the porch. SW of Sturminster Newton. 50.8736 /  -2.352 / ST753082

DIAL

St Mary & St James . Hazelbury Bryan . Dorset – scratch dial

A small simple dial within a complete circle on the face of the SW buttress of the tower. There are 4 lines that extend slightly beyond the circumference and one quite large pock in lower R quadrant. GLP notes that the lines, with the pock, divide the day into quarters marking the canonical hours of tierce, sext & none.

St Mary & St James . Hazelbury Bryan . Dorset – Scratch Dial

GLP also noted a ‘doubtful dial’ on the NW face of the buttress: an eroded circle with a shallow central hole. This is nearest candidate I could find in that location, one I would never have noticed without a prompt. I share the doubt despite my usual optimistic amateur instincts.

St Mary & St James . Hazelbury Bryan . Dorset – doubtful dial?

MARIAN MARK IN THE PORCH

The porch is worth checking for graffiti and other church marks like the emphatic Marian mark below boldly repelling evil.

St Mary & St James . Hazelbury Bryan . Dorset – Marian Mark in the Porch

GSS Category: Scratch Dial

All photos: Keith Salvesen

LYDLINCH . DORSET – ST THOMAS À BECKET: Sundials, Medieval Graffiti, Witch Marks, Hexfoil

Lydlinch . Dorset . St Thomas à Becket

LYDLINCH . DORSET . ST THOMAS À BECKET

GRADE II* † Mainly C15 / C16, much reworking and restoration. Located down a longish lane S of the village. 10 miles E of Sherborne. BLB record HERE. Featured: the 3 sundials; church marks; the 3 seats inside the porch. 50.9192 / -2.3678 / ST742133

SUNDIALS

DIAL 1

The most obvious sundial is at the apex of the porch gable, a simple square stone containing a square dial with a narrow 3/4 frame, and an iron gnomon. Above it some form of stone finial, much eroded, a cross? The dial has graduated hour radials, with shorter lines for half-hours, and the quarter hours marked within the frame. Quite sophisticated, some damage upper R. BHO dates it C18.

Below this dial is an inscribed C18 plaque dedicated, it seems, to two [C]hurch [W]ardens 1753. It is interesting to compare the erosion of this soft stone with the dial stone.

Lydlinch . Dorset . St Thomas à Becket – Vertical sundial over the porch
Lydlinch . Dorset . St Thomas à Becket – plaque dated 17[5]3

DIALS 2 & 3

These dials are a near-matched pair on the C15 tower. Both are high up on the second stage, one on the SW buttress, the other on the SE buttress. BHO describes the former as a stone plate with Roman numerals, much worn; and the latter as traces of similar sundial. I think both dials must have had considerable attention since those words were written.

DIAL 2

This dial looks like a comparatively new replacement; BSS suggests C20. The modern design replicates Dial 3 mutatis mutandis. The radials are carefully graduated for its SW facing angle; very little of the afternoon can be indicated.

Lydlinch . Dorset . St Thomas à Becket – replaced vertical sundial on SW buttress of tower

DIAL 3

This dial is almost an exact converse of its pair, the radials being graduated in the opposite direction. C18. Note that the gnomons of both dials are the same design, copper I think, and presumably installed at the same time.

Lydlinch . Dorset . St Thomas à Becket – vertical sundial on SE buttress of tower

APOTROPAIC (WITCH) MARKS, MARIAN MARKS, HEXFOIL & GRAFFITI

APOTROPAIC (WITCH) MARKS, MARIAN MARKS & GRAFFITI ON PORCH SEATS

Lydlinch . Dorset . St Thomas à Becket – Apotropaic (Witch) marks, Marian marks, Graffiti on seats

GSS Categories: Sundials, Vertical Dials, Old Dials, Witch Marks, Apotropaic Symbols, Church Graffiti

All photos: Keith Salvesen

WOOTTON RIVERS . WILTS . ST ANDREW – Five Scratch Dials

St Andrew . Wootton Rivers . Wilts

ST ANDREW. WOTTON RIVERS . WILTS

GRADE II* † C14 with major C19 restoration by G E Street. Attractive village church with a shingled spire (slightly aslant). Situated by the Kennet and Avon canal. Home to the amazing JACK SPRATT’S CLOCK 51.3653 / -1.7187 / SU196629

DIALS

St Andrew has 5 dials (BSS records 2; HE 1) and a couple of doubtfuls. All are on the S side. The porch has graffiti – initials, dates etc – and apotropaic symbols / ritual protection marks.

DIAL 1

St Andrew . Wootton Rivers . Wilts – Scratch Dial 1

Dial 1 is on a quoin stone at the E end of S side. A small but easily visible dial with a large style hole for its size (doubtless enlarged at some time). The noon line is strongest cut, with 3, possibly 4, other lines. The None (9th hour) line is longest, possibly to indicate the most important Mass time of the day. A simple dial with a simple purpose. The 2 ‘tadpole’ marks bottom left could be witch marks to protect the church. There are others in the porch area.

DIAL 2

St Andrew . Wootton Rivers . Wilts – Scratch Dial 2

Dial 2 is relatively complex and later than dial 1. A semicircle design with the lines mostly positively cut evenly at 15º angles, though there is erosion in the lower R quadrant. There are also quite large pocks, mostly between the ends of 2 lines which is, I think, unusual. The style hole, as with Dial 1, is large.

DIAL 3

St Andrew . Wootton Rivers . Wilts – Scratch Dial 3

Dial 3 is a simple little dial consisting of three significant lines terminating in pocks, and an ‘afternoon’ pock. The sketchy marks above this suggest an extended line ending in a pock and, as with Dial 1, roughly corresponding to None, perhaps confirming the most significant service time for the church, ie early evening Mass.

DIAL 4

St Andrew . Wootton Rivers . Wilts – Scratch Dial 4

Dial 4 is on the E side of the porch. Very eroded, with the style hole drawing attention to a small encircled dial with 3 clearish lines – horizontal and 2 curving below it. Indistinct traces of a couple of other lines.

DIAL 5

St Andrew . Wootton Rivers . Wilts – Scratch Dial 5

Dial 5 is on the W side of the porch. Larger than dial 4 and also considerably eroded. 10 lines or so, and a confusion of pocks, especially around the (presumed) shallow style hole. There are hints of at least a semicircle in the lower half and the trace (illusion?) of a complete circle or even a double one.

GRAFFITI and APOTROPAIC (WITCH) MARKS

GSS Category: Scratch Dials

All photos: Keith Salvesen; Jack Spratt’s Clock link – VisitPewseyVale

ALTON PRIORS . WILTS . ALL SAINTS – VAST SCRATCH DIAL (?)

All Saints . Alton Priors . Wilts

ALL SAINTS . ALTON PRIORS

GRADE II* † C12 origins, alterations and development C14 / C15; rebuilding C18. Little remains of the Norman building. Yew tree in churchyard reputedly 1700 years old. Sarsen stone(s) beneath the church accessed by trapdoor.

All Saints Church, surrounded by fields below the southern escarpment of the Marlborough Downs, is in the care of the CHURCHES CONSERVATION TRUST It is of particular interest for examining the slow transition of medieval scratch dials from rustic to cultivated. This article primarily features the massive sundial on the south face of the tower, but there’s much that could be written about the wonderful graffiti adorning the external walls – witch marks, dates, initials and so on. The wear and tear of history includes holes in the lower part of the tower wall from musket shots. There’s a great deal to explore and admire both outside and inside this most rewarding building. Then walk the paved priest’s path across the fields to the Saxon church of St Mary a few hundred yards away (there are 2 dials to look for). 51.358 / -1.8446 / SU10962

All Saints . Alton Priors . Wilts – Scratch Dial (or sundial?)

DIAL

The dial that dominates the upper stage of the tower is almost invariably described as a scratch dial. However, it is difficult to categorise it thus when the scale of it is so colossal by comparison to the small dials cut on porches, buttresses etc, and only rarely above head height . All the traditional scratch dials of Wiltshire could very likely be contained within the semicircle that nearly spans the width of the tower.

However one chooses to describe the dial, it is clearly a sophisticated and ambitious design. Early scratch dials do not have numerals, generally just a style hole with lines, pocks or both, and often crude and rather random. Gradually they became more complex and cut more accurately, in a few later examples with the addition of Roman numerals. Very few scratch dials have Arabic numerals. There’s a most intriguing one at MONTACUTE Somerset, where the dial has a mix of Roman and Arabic numerals. One could argue a true scratch dial had a single rod in a hole to cast the shadow, and that a dial requiring a more elaborate iron gnomon attached to the face takes it out of the category of scratch dial. This dial was clearly designed for such an arrangement. In that way it differs from eg Litlington and ALFRISTON (E Sussex) where iron gnomons were added onto the face of an existing scratch dial.

St Catherine . Montacute – Scratch Dial / Sundial

The All Saints dial is advanced in a number of ways. The size itself and its height must have required considerable skills and inventiveness to reach, measure, design and execute. The radials are very carefully graduated down to and up from the noon line. The cutting of the dial is remarkably precise. The inclusion of half-hour markers and in particular the use of Arabic numerals add a further dimension. This combination of factors suggests a dial that is later than the generally agreed end of the true scratch dial era, around 1600. The date of the tower is described in the CCT material as fifteenth century*, and a Triennial Inspection Report (2004) notes that the inscribed sundial is still legible. I have not found any early reference to this dial. So overall I will go with the description sundial rather than scratch dial.

All Saints . Alton Priors . Wilts

GSS Category: Scratch Dial; Old Dial; Unclassified

All Photos: Keith Salvesen; *thanks to CCT for information about the church

Damage from Musket Shot, All Saints Alton Pancras

BRYMPTON . SOM . ST ANDREW – Scratch Dials, Medieval Graffiti

St Andrew . Brympton . Som

ST ANDREW . BRYMPTON . SOM

GRADE I † C13 origins, mainly C14 / C15; C19 restoration. Set in the grounds of an historic house Brympton D’Evercy and adorned by an unusual (striking?) bell turret. The remnants of a lost medieval village. A mere 2m W of Yeovil yet hidden away in its own parkland, and best reached by map reading, satnav or luck. 50.9359 / -2.6856 / ST519153

DIALS

St Andrew has 2 dials, one on each of the paired corner buttresses of the S transept (HE notes only one). There is a plausible dial fragment on the buttress on the W end of the nave.

DIAL 1

DEH visited St Andrew in July 1915 and recorded: 189. (2) This dial is on a buttress at the s.e. corner of the s. transept, at a height of 4 feet 1 inch above the ground. The noonline is 5 inches in length, the stylehole is 1 1/4 inches deep by 3/8 of an inch in diameter, and the aspect is s. by 15° e. Type 3.

St Andrew . Brympton . Som – Scratch Dial 1

There are 4 clear lines and one less so. As judged from the noon line, the dial is slightly offset. There is a faintest hint of a line to the right of the noon line, which would make design sense; or perhaps for some reason that area remained blank (and see Dial 2). The strong line mid-afternoon may indicate that the important Mass at St Andrew was none.

DIAL 2

DEH: 188. (1) This dial is on a buttress at the s.w. corner of the s. transept, at a height of 4 feet 11 inches above the ground. The noonline is 3 inches in length, the stylehole is 2 1/4 inches deep by 3/4 of an inch in diameter, and the aspect is s. by 10° e. Type 5c.

St Andrew . Brympton . Som – Scratch Dial 2

The dense covering of lichen makes it hard to give an accurate description of this dial. It looks like a conventional semi-circular fan dial with an emphasised horizontal (6-to-6). There are 7 lines for certain; as with Dial 1, the lower R quadrant is less well defined – perhaps less deeply incised and gradually eroded, or because locally the afternoon was not significant for services and could be ignored.

DIAL FRAGMENT?

The markings on the SW face of this buttress are strange. Are these eye-catching striations related to marking the time of day? It seems most unlikely. However, it’s worth zeroing in on the 4 short lines on the stone below. A case could be made that this is a dial fragment on a stone that was at some time relocated there. Alternatively, this is the lower section of a dial in its original position, with the stones now above it displacing the rest of the dial with its style hole.

S Porch: E.Aspey may have worked on the church

GSS Category: Scratch Dial

All photos: Keith Salvesen

MELCOMBE HORSEY . DORSET . ST ANDREW – Scratch Dial

St Andrew . Melcombe Horsey . Dorset – north aspect

MELCOMBE HORSEY . DORSET . ST ANDREW

GRADE 1 † C14 origins, additional work C15, Chapels C16, partial C19 restoration. Adjacent to a fine manor house. The Parish confusingly includes Melcombe Bingham, Bingham’s Melcombe and Higher Melcombe, all in a secluded area steeped in medieval history. To explore further, BHO. 50.8178 /  -2.324 / ST772020

DIAL

The church stands in the parkland of Bingham’s Melcombe House, a pleasant walk down a long drive. A single dial is recorded, located on a quoin stone of S.E. buttress of C16 Horsey Chapel. There are other church marks of interest (see below).

St Andrew . Melcombe Horsey . Dorset – scratch dial

The dial is inverted, with 5 radials pointing upwards from a large cement-filled style hole. There are good reasons to suppose the dial was repositioned: it predates the building of the chapel, and so is cut on a reused stone; it is inverted (as often the case with relocated dials); and GLP points out that its angle would receive sunlight for half the day at most.

St Andrew . Melcombe Horsey . Dorset – Scratch dial diagrams (BSS)
St Andrew . Melcombe Horsey . Dorset – south aspect

UNRECORDED DIALS?

There are 2 other configurations on earlier parts on S side of the church that give pause for thought. Both images below show patterns that are distinctly dial-ish.

The first is plausible in several respects: style hole just below the mortar line; 2 large pocks in the mortar line (the RHS one beyond the edge of an apparent circumference); the hint of a part-circle above the horizontal; a distinct curve of pocks in lower L quadrant; eroded and less organised pocks lower R.

The second candidate is less clear. It is at an angle L of the S doorway – a conventional place for a dial. The case for it is weaker and unfortunately it looks less dial-like in the photograph than at the time. Doubtful rather than plausible.

St Andrew . Melcombe Horsey . Dorset – scratch dial?

St Andrew has plenty of further interest in the broader category of church marks. The porch is very rewarding. I usually post about such marks separately but the ones below deserve a place here.

The top row shows Marian V V marks (Virgin of Virgins), one type of so-called ritual protection mark (or apotropaic symbols) designed to ward off evil. There are plenty of less commonly found marks. The main photograph shows mediaeval porch seats with a magnificent inscription (G – PIC?) dated 1589.

GSS Category: Scratch Dials; Apotropaic Marks, Marian Marks, Church Graffiti

All photos: Keith Salvesen