PRESHUTE . WILTS . ST GEORGE – C18 sundial

St George . Preshute . Wilts

SUNDIAL . ST GEORGE . PRESHUTE

High up on the third stage of the C15 tower is a magnificent C18 sundial. A border of Roman serif numerals from 6am to 4pm frame a complex design of carefully graduated radials that mark the hours and the half hours. The large but slender gnomon casts a long shadow.

St George . Preshute . Wilts – the sundial on the tower

The imbalance in the hour marks – 6 to the left of the noon line, 4 to the right – presumably arises from the orientation of the church and its relation to the angle of the sun (though that’s probably not the correct technical way to express it).

NOTE there is a plausible medieval scratch dial on one buttress (not as yet recorded). It’s status is under consideration by others… If it is deemed a dial I will write it up separately.

GSS Category: Old Dial

All photos: Keith Salvesen

WESTON BAMPFYLDE . SOM . HOLY CROSS – Scratch Dial (inside porch)

Weston Bampfylde . Som . Holy Cross

WESTON BAMPFYLDE . SOM . HOLY CROSS

GRADE II* † C13 with C15 reworking and C19 restoration. Like nearby PODIMORE, a 4-stage tower with octagonal upper stages. One of several churches in the area with (unusually in such a close group) dials inside S. porch. A modern memorial horizontal sundial by Silas Higgon has an interesting plate (see below). Located S. of the A303, between Queen Camel and Cadbury Castle (a dominant hill fort nearby, and well worth the climb). 51.0226 / -2.5564 / ST610249

DIAL

Another small and attractive church in the Yeovilton area, most of which have scratch dials. Like some of its neighbours, the dial of Holy Cross is located within the S. porch, a later addition. On his visit in 2014, DEH recorded:

183. This dial is on the e. side of the inner door of the s. porch. It is 3 feet 7 inches above the floor, the noonline is 5 inches in length, the stylehole, which is filled up, is in the solid stone and not in a joint. The aspect is s. by 20° E. Type 3. April 24th, 1914. DEH

Weston Bampfylde . Som . Holy Cross – Scratch Dial inside porch

The dial is scratched into a stone on RHS of the original doorway. The filled gnomon hole, near the centre of the stone, has 5 long lines descending. At some stage the porch has been whitewashed (as was often done cf WAYFORD), and paint traces remain evident on the dial and elsewhere in the porch (on graffiti and witch marks, for example).

As I understand it, 2 almost parallel vertical lines on dials like this were probably intended as the edges of an ‘absent’ noon line, with the true vertical midway between them as opposed to a line marker.

Weston Bampfylde . Som . Holy Cross – inscribed blocked doorway

GSS Category: Scratch Dial

All photos: Keith Salvesen

RUSSBOROUGH HOUSE . WICKLOW . COURTYARD GATEWAY SUNDIAL

Russborough House . Wicklow . Ireland – Courtyard Gateway Sundial

RUSSBOROUGH HOUSE . Co WICKLOW . IRELAND – COURTYARD GATEWAY SUNDIAL

Russborough House . Wicklow . Ireland – Courtyard Gateway Sundial

Russborough House, built mid C18 for Joseph Leeson, is one of Ireland’s finest Georgian houses. Set in a large estate in the Wicklow Mountains, the house is renowned for its outstanding art collections (see http://www.russborough.ie/art).

The pleasing and straightforwardly solid gateway to the Courtyard has a most interesting angled sundial with no part of it in an expected place. One consequence of its position is that the graduations are notably complex. The main photo in the gallery below shows this far better than I can explain it.

It is clearly not an old dial. I have seen one photograph that suggests that at some time it has been painted blue. I need to investigate further and will add the details if I can find a date for the dial.

GSS Category: Modern Dial

All photos: Keith Salvesen

WINTERBOURNE BASSETT . WILTS . ST KATHERINE & ST PETER – 4 DIALS

Winterbourne Bassett . Wilts . St Katherine & St Peter

ST KATHERINE & ST PETER . WINTERBOURNE BASSETT . WILTS

GRADE 1. Records from C12. Mainly late C13 / C14, expanded C15, restored mid-C19. An architectural gem (Betjeman). Dedication has varied over time. 4m N. of Avebury. 51.4731 / -1.8554 / SU101749

DIALS

4 dials identified: 3 scratch dials and 1 ‘very early scientific dial’ (BBS)

DIAL 1

Priest’s Door R. Pock dial with 5 clear dots on pinkish stone (similar position and style to eg Maiden Newton Dorset).

Winterbourne Bassett . Wilts . St Katherine & St Peter – Scratch Dial 1

DIALS 2 & 3

Priest’s Door R, lower down. Dial 2 is a conventional dial with 4 lines in L. lower quadrant; noon line emphasised. Adjacent to less clear Dial 3 with filled style hole and 2 clear thin radials and (perhaps) a very faint noon line. There’s a possible additional dial on this stone, at best a style hole with eroded lines.

Winterbourne Bassett . Wilts . St Katherine & St Peter – Scratch Dials 2 & 3

DIALS 1, 2 & 3

Winterbourne Bassett . Wilts . St Katherine & St Peter – Scratch Dials 1 – 3
Winterbourne Bassett . Wilts . St Katherine & St Peter – Priest’s Door with 3 scratch dials

DIAL 4

High on quoin on S. side, a far more sophisticated gnomon dial. The BSS record from some years ago states: ‘Probably upright Roman numerals with cross for noon (not easy to see). Very early scientific dial. Gnomon may be a replacement’.

A photo taken last month removes the doubt. The incised lines – of variable width, some with a slight wedge shape, some quite deep (or less eroded) – have Roman numerals from VII round to VI. The IX to III horizontal line of numerals works well. The noon cross is very clear. I wonder if the stumpy little gnomon indicates that it is old (even if not original). Did gnomon design later develop to more elegant and longer markers?

Winterbourne Bassett . Wilts . St Katherine & St Peter – Scientific Dial with Roman Numerals
Winterbourne Bassett . Wilts . St Katherine & St Peter – Scientific Dial with Roman Numerals

GSS Category: Scratch Dial; Scientific Dial

All photos – Keith Salvesen

RHUBHA RÈIDH LIGHTHOUSE, WESTER ROSS – THE SUNDIAL IN THE LANTERN

Rhubha Rèidh Lighthouse Sundial . Gairloch Museum .

Rhubha Rèidh lighthouse is situated at Melvaig, near Gairloch, Wester Ross. Confusingly, there are several ways to spell the name. Correctly, it is as shown in the title above. However the map below omits the first h in Rhubha. The Northern Lighthouse Board uses Rubh Reidh for the lighthouse itself, perhaps for simplicity. The dial featured is marked Rudh Re. The brass plaque for the lighthouse is headed Rhu Rhea. Whichever, the pronunciation ‘roo ray’ is roughly correct. OS grid · NG7396491847

The lighthouse stands at the remote north west tip of a plump peninsular at the end of a narrow track, with Loch Ewe emerging into the sea to the east. It is one of the ‘Stevenson’ lighthouses, designed by David and completed in 1912. It was automated in 1980 and is still operational. If you want a secluded and unusual place to stay, you can book accommodation in the main building. Official tarmac ends halfway along the 6 mile (or so) road, which continues as an access road. This part of the coastline can be a good place for dolphin and whale watching – if you are lucky, a Minke.

‘Rudh Re’ Lighthouse Sundial . Gairloch Museum .

The dial is on display in the outstanding GAIRLOCH MUSEUM, winner of the Art Fund’s Museum of the Year 2020. Small it may be, but packed with interest. The dial is in a glass case displayed with related items. The entire lantern is housed in the main room, viewable from a gallery above as well as at floor level. Its Fresnel lenses are intact. In a parallel life, I have been peripherally involved with a working ‘clockwork lighthouse’ bedded on mercury, with its original Fresnel lenses (Hope Town, Abaco, Bahamas) – possibly the last survivor. There is another lighthouse on the island, long abandoned but still with at least some of its Fresnel lenses.

‘Rudh Re’ Lighthouse Sundial . Gairloch Museum .
‘Rhu Rhea’ Lighthouse – Brass Plaque

Rubh Reidh Lighthouse lantern . Gairloch Museum . Sundial in display case

Rubh Reidh Lighthouse lantern . Gairloch Museum

GSS Category: Lighthouse Dial

Photos: Keith Salvesen, with thanks to the Gairloch Museum

BRATTON . WILTS . ST JAMES THE GREAT . SCRATCH DIAL; Painted dial 1801

CHURCH OF ST JAMES THE GREAT . BRATTON . WILTS

CHURCH OF ST JAMES THE GREAT . BRATTON . WILTS

GRADE ll*. Mainly C14 / C15, broadly Perp. Earlier origins. C19 work by G. Scott & T. Wyatt. Solitary in a combe behind the village and a real challenge to discover (ignore ‘Church Lane’). Well worth the effort to visit, as is Bratton Camp iron-age hill fort with its early white horse to W. 51.2665 / -2.1244 / ST914519

DIAL

CHURCH OF ST JAMES THE GREAT . BRATTON . WILTS – SCRATCH DIAL

A simple small dial, encircled, with several slightly curving radials. 3 or 4 pocks that may relate to it. Located W. of the S. porch, level with the head stop L. of the arch.

OLD DIAL

On S. face of the tower, a large painted dial dated 1801 ‘TEMPUS FUGIT’. The long spindly gnomon casts an impressively long shadow.

GSS Categories: Scratch Dail; Old Dial

All photos – Keith Salvesen

CÉRET . FRANCE – ST FERRÉOL HERMITAGE

St Ferréol Hermitage. Céret . France

Céret lies south of Perpignan, in the foothills of the Pyrenees quite close to the Spanish border. The Hermitage is a short distance to the north. The modern art museum in Céret has many works by Picasso, including sculpture and ceramics; and by other famous artists of the period.

St Ferréol Hermitage, Céret, France – sundial (2004)

This enjoyably rustic sundial is painted directly onto the facade of the C13 chapel (restoration C18). It is intriguing for the way in which the radials are moored, carefully graduated, on the diagonal of the dial face. The arrow gnomon forms part of the opposite diagonal. As an amateur, to me the design of the dial looks quite complicated, especially the calculation of the angle and distance between 11 & noon.

I am still trying to work out the inscription at the top. It seems to be ‘Ultimum’, which could be a neat Latin way of saying something like ‘To the end of Time / Jusqu’ à la fin du temps’

GSS Category: Modern Dial

All photographs: Keith Salvesen

ALTON BARNES . WILTS . ST MARY – SCRATCH DIAL(S)

St Mary . Alton Barnes . Wilts

ST MARY . ALTON BARNES . WILTS

GRADE 1. Saxon church, C10-C11 origins with C14 reworking; later work, C19 alterations, subsequent restoration. ‘Awletone’ was first recorded in 825. A yew tree in the churchyard is said to be c1700 old. Historically, at various times united with and detached from All Saints Alton Priors, which is situated just a couple of fields away. Midway between Pewsey and Devizes, close to K&A canal and Marlborough Downs. 51.3572 / -1.8467 / SU107620

St Mary . Alton Barnes . Wilts – Scratch Dial 1

DIAL 1

This unassuming little dial is on the N. side of the church, facing the Alton Barnes white horse carved in chalk on Milk Hill nearby. It does not seem to be the dial mentioned elsewhere, for which see Dial 2. I have seen no record of it.

The mortar line acts as the horizontal, and a full circle incorporates both radials and pocks. I sense that this is quite an early dial, perhaps dating from the C14 work on the church. I assume it was originally on the S. side of the church; it must have been relocated to the N. side at some later time. It may look somewhat crude, but fairly robust cutting may have helped to preserve it over the centuries.

DIAL 2

Scratch sundial on south-east quoins’ HE

St Mary . Alton Barnes . Wilts – Scratch Sundial 2

This is the dial that seems to be referred to elsewhere. I speculate C18 or possibly C17. It is high up under the eaves, so much so that it was half in shadow at noon (see gallery below). Perhaps that indicates a relocation at some time, but to a less useful position as a sundial. With a gnomon at the top and in the shade, the dial’s effectiveness would be notably diminished. Perhaps, by then, it was mainly decorative.

St Mary . Alton Barnes . Wilts – Scratch Sundial 2

UNDIAL

Quite often a possible dial suggests itself, though is probably (or on closer inspection, definitely) not one. Here, I liked the look of the filled style hole and the pocks in a plausible formation. I inverted the image to see if it looked any more likely. Not really (I’m happy to be corrected by an expert).

GSS Category: Scratch Dial

All photos: Keith Salvesen

GLANVILLES WOOTTON . DORSET (2) . ST MARY THE VIRGIN . SCRATCH DIAL

Glanvilles Wootton . Dorset . St Mary the Virgin

DEDICATION † ST MARY THE VIRGIN – dated from mid C14, gradual expansion in C15, C18 work (Crickmay)

LISTING † Grade II*

LOCATION † S. of Sherborne, E. of main road to Cerne Abbas. A straggling small village with records dating from C12, approached by lanes rather than roads. The church is set slightly apart from the centre. In 1985 the Parish name was changed from Wootton Glanville (I haven’t explored the reason). A peaceful feel to the community. 50.872 / -2.4558 / 2°27’20″W / ST68008

Glanvilles Wootton . Dorset . St Mary the Virgin – Scratch Dial

DIAL † On W. buttress of S. wall of S. Chapel, 2m high, with (later) iron gnomon* in square style-hole. Last visited in January drizzle, when marks were hard to make out and photo ‘work’ was needed. On a sunny April day, the marks are clear. Pocks (12+) of varied sizes. 8 radials, with a notably emphasised noon-line in depth, width, and with additional pock(s). GLP notes that it is 4º from vertical. *Gnomon is iron, 130mm long, rectangular cross section. Modern. BSS

From the time of day indicated by the gnomon’s shadow, I estimated the ‘actual time’ time. By my watch, the shadow was just 17 minutes fast…

Glanvilles Wootton . Dorset . St Mary the Virgin . Scratch Dial
BSS record of markings – GLP
Glanvilles Wootton . Dorset . St Mary the Virgin . Emphasised noon-line with added pock(s)

NOTES † noted in RCHM / BHO but not BLB / HE / TWC. The village has a fine Manor House. Round Chimneys Farm – once owned by John Churchill Duke of Marlborough – has significant entries in Hutchins, RCHM III Dorset; and good details in BHO LINK.

GSS Category – Scratch Dial

ST GEORGES DE BOSCHERVILLE . NORMANDY – VERTICAL DIAL

St Georges de Boscherville . Normandy . Vertical Sundial . Keith Salvesen
St Georges de Boscherville . Normandy . Vertical Sundial

The beautiful C12 Abbey of St Georges de Boscherville in Normandy is very much in the Michelin ‘vaut le voyage’ category. Advantage has been taken of the extensive abbey grounds to display innovative bee-hives and an excellent display of modern sundials. The most complex will feature here in due course. Meanwhile, enjoy this attractive sundial with its cleverly effective gnomon.

St Georges de Boscherville . Normandy . Vertical Sundial . Keith Salvesen
St Georges de Boscherville . Normandy . Vertical Sundial
St Georges de Boscherville . Normandy . Vertical Sundial . Keith Salvesen
St Georges de Boscherville . Normandy . Vertical Sundial

The motto Tant ici passerent le temps passé nous passons means roughly ‘So much past time has passed here; we (also) pass’. It sounds better in the original.