LIMINGTON . SOM. BLESSED VIRGIN MARY – Scratch Dial (inside porch); 2 Vertical Dials

St Mary . Limington . Som.

LIMINGTON . SOM . BLESSED VIRGIN MARY

GRADE I. C14 with earlier C13 features -1st Rector recorded 1215 BLB; C15 work and later; C19 restoration. One of several good village churches with dials in the vicinity of RNAS Yeovilton. 50.9989 / -2.6546 / ST541223

DIALS

DIAL 1

South Somerset is unusual for the number for scratch dials located inside a (later added) S. porch beside the original doorway. Limington is one (see also BLACKFORD, for example). St Mary also has medieval graffiti and other marks in the porch, some shown in the images below. As often over the life of a church, walls were whitewashed so the paint flecks are not unusual. For a good example of an ‘internal’ porch still painted over, see WAYFORD.

NOTE: There are also 2 vertical dials, one above the other, on the S. buttress of the tower. In due course I’ll add a link to a separate post about them

St Mary . Limington . Som. – Scratch Dial inside the S. porch

DEH visited St Mary in May 1915 and noted that ‘the lines are sharp and clean cut’. He records:

197. (1) This dial is on the e. side of the inner door of the s. porch. It is 4 feet 11 inches above the floor, the noonline is 5 inches in length, the stylehole, which is in a joint, is filled, and the aspect is s. by 20° e. Type 2

DIAL 2

DEH also found a second dial and, from his description, I missed it on my visit and walked straight past it. He records:

198. (2) This dial is on a buttress to the w. of the priest’s door. It is 5 feet 1 inch above the ground, the noonline is 4 inches in length, the stylehole is 1/2 inches deep by 3/4 of an inch in diameter, and the aspect is s. by 15° e. Type 5c.

I took a rather bad photo of the buttress from a distance and can find no obvious dial. However I did find what may be an eroded and be-lichened dial on the angled buttress at the E. end, facing SE. There’s more than one part circle here. So this may be a third dial – or it doesn’t rank as a dial and (if he saw it) DEH discounted it. The latter, most likely. Limington is yet another church to revisit and check. I will amend accordingly.

GSS Category: Scratch Dials

Photos: Keith Salvesen

CHILTON CANTELO . SOM . ST JAMES – trace dials? (unrecorded)

St James . Chilton Cantelo . Som

GRADE II* C15 tower, ‘earlier fragments’ BLB. Later church significantly restored mid C18 (‘unremarkable’). An early church made Gothic. Located N. of Yeovil, S. of the dreaded A303, an area with several good dial churches and some intriguing village names. 50.9974 / -2.6138 / ST570221

DIALS (?)

This buttress on the tower is not one to get too excited about. However, 2 stones caught my attention. The top eroded or damaged stone shows most of a semicircle. It does not appear to continue onto the stone below. The lower stone has – just below the mortar line – a similar very faint semicircle, with a more visible one underneath. To the left are some scratchings including a crescent.

One feature of this group is that the damaged stone may have been relocated; it doesn’t match those around it. Overall it is probably best to view these marks as doodles – using a nail and string? – more than dials. It is not recorded by DEH of BSS. All the same, it was worth taking a close look. Any views, positive or negative, welcome.

St James . Chilton Cantelo . Som – traces of scratch dials?

GSS Category: Scratch Dials (possible)

Photos: Keith Salvesen

HOUGHTON . HANTS . ALL SAINTS – Scratch Dials

All Saints . Houghton . Hants

ALL SAINTS . HOUGHTON . HANTS

GRADE II*. Early C12 origins, C13 aisles, C14 chancel, C15 alterations, 1875 and 1882 restorations BLB. One of several attractive villages on or close to the River Test. Houghton is midway between Stockbridge (N) and Romsey (S). Exploring locally – especially Mottisfont – is well worthwhile (nice pubs as well). 51.0922 / -1.5139 / SU341326

All Saints . Houghton . Hants – Scratch Dial 1

DIAL 1

The dial is located on a quoin stone on the nave E. of the porch and ‘crudely cut’ BSS. There are 17 lines in all, some very eroded; and 3 pocks that are probably unrelated. The gnomon is of particular interest. For obvious reasons, discoveries of plausible remains of a gnomon are very scarce. BSS records (1994) that the stub of one was noted, the hole being otherwise filled. I did not notice the hint of a stub, and the photos suggest an intact mortar filling with a neatly rounded pock in the centre.

DIAL 2

The dial is located low down on the SE. corner of the chancel. 4 lines, with the hole in the horizontal mortar line and filled. BSS records (1996) the dial as originally complete but with the right half replaced by another stone. The fact of a new quoin stone seems certain. The intriguing questions are what the dial might have looked like when complete; and whether the other half was used elsewhere on the exterior during any of the later additions and restorations.

I checked dial 1 on a fleeting evening visit, and didn’t look for another. The BSS image below suggests that the upper L quadrant, the horizontal mortar line where the lines converge, and the hole at the intersection might be worth investigating when I am next passing.

All Saints . Houghton . Hants – Scratch Dial 2

GSS Category – Scratch Dial

All photos Keith Salvesen except Dial 2, BSS records

KNIGHTON . POWYS . ST EDWARD – Scratch Dial (?)

St Edward . Knighton . Powys

KNIGHTON . POWYS . ST EDWARD

GRADE II. ‘Victorian Gothic rebuilding of earlier church of which the medieval west tower is the only survival- no remains of 1752 Georgian rebuildBLB. A handsome reconstructed church in a pleasant town, well-situated on Offa’s Dyke close to the point where Powys meets Hereford and Shropshire. The only church dedication to St Edward in Wales – he, along with St Richard, seem to be somewhat overlooked across much of Britain. 52.3457 / -3.0477 / SO287724

DIAL?

The double rebuilding of a medieval church (except for its tower) must inevitably have expunged almost all traces of the early building, and with that its church marks. Or so you would think. Yet when I visited the church on a warm September evening in sunshine, I saw what – on a church with a different history – might be taken as a medieval pock dial. I realise that it is most unlikely. However, restoration and rebuilding does not preclude the reuse and / or relocation of stones from the original church. It was a common practice, for obvious reasons.

St Edward . Knighton . Powys – scratch dial?

There is no visible style hole. The curved pocked pattern seems intentional but – absent some architectural or decorative purpose – it is difficult to account for the design. Given the church history, claiming dial status is debatable. However I have seen far less convincing dials elsewhere. The stone fits with the church. Its location on the porch wall – perhaps intentionally during reconstruction – is appropriate. But probably I have an amateur dial collector’s over-optimism. Maybe this sort of find shows how intriguing the analysis of church marks can be.

GSS Category: Scratch Dial

Photos: Keith Salvesen

PEWSEY . WILTS . ST JOHN THE BAPTIST – Scratch Dials

St John the Baptist . Pewsey . Wilts

PEWSEY . WILTS . ST JOHN THE BAPTIST

GRADE I. Saxon origins. C11 Norman and later development inc. C12 nave, C13 aisles, C16 tower, C18 expansion, C19 restorations. An interesting church, with C12 Norman limestone font with suspended cover; and wonderful early C17 clock. Enjoy the Kennet & Avon canal while you are there. 51.3379 / -1.7664 / SU163598

DIAL

The dial is on S. side of the chancel, on the E. quoin stone of E. end buttress. The appearance is of a classic 6-to-6 dial (not within a semicircle) on a lovely colourful stone. 11 clear lines (the 9 line is not visible – erosion? Omission of the Terce line seems unlikely). The longer 11 line extends to the mortar line below. 3 lines are emphasised inc. noon line. There are several pocks, a few at the end of lines – those at the ends of the horizontal must almost certainly part of the dial.

I wrote ‘appearance’ above, because looking closely at the photos, the dial is in fact slightly less straightforward. There are 2 faint lines and the hint of another in the upper right quadrant (see large image below).

St John the Baptist . Pewsey . Wilts – Scratch Dial

DIAL 2? (unrecorded)

In several places on the outside walls there are groups of church marks and graffiti – initials, dates, apotropaic (witch) marks / Marian symbols. While photographing these I noticed a very small rustic dial scratched in the angle of wall and buttress on the S. side. I might have ignored it or classified it as ‘doubtful’, but the crude cuts in the stone running from the putative style hole suggest a casual dial attempt – possibly a trial run, and / or a contribution to the gallery of marks in this area.

GSS Catregory: Scratch Dial

All photos: Keith Salvesen

HOLWELL . DORSET – ST LAURENCE: 3 Scratch Dials

DEDICATION † St Laurence. Mainly C15, some rebuilding C18, with restoration and additions in 1885 by Crickmay, the notable Dorset architect. One of a number of local churches with stocks.

LISTING † Grade 1

LOCATION † Not actually in Holwell but 1m N. towards Bishop’s Caundle, in a hamlet known as The Borough. Just before you turn down the lane to reach the church, don’t miss the UK’s oldest letter box still in use. It is dated 1853, just one year after roadside boxes were introduced. 50.9064 / -2.4289 / ST699119

DIALS

On the buttress E. of porch, 2 eroded scratch dials one above the other; a further small rough dial in the upper half of the lower dial. A possible dial, unrecorded, at the W. end quite high on the SW. face of a buttress. If a dial, it is inverted and presumably repositioned. The dials were photographed on different days in different lights from bright sunshine to overcast, hence the colour variations

GLP records that the 3 dials are ‘very important as 2 of them are cut across two adjoining stones. This means that they must be in situ’. He dates them to late C15.

There is also a later dial, included below: On parapet above porch arch, square stone dial with incised degrees, perhaps 18th century BHO

THREE DIALS ON THE BUTTRESS

St Laurence . Holwell . Dorset – 3 dials on one buttress

DIAL 1 (upper)

Semicircular with a full complement of 6-to-6 radials, eroded on R side. A disorganised pattern of lines for straightness and distancing, with many ending with pocks. Lines and pocks extend to the stone below, especially the noon line. GLP records 16 lines, 6 with pocks, further pocks including a cross formation at the end of the noon line (triple pock cross BSS). He notes some half-hour lines and comments that the dial is very accurately cut.

St Laurence . Holwell . Dorset – scratch dial 1 (upper)
St Laurence . Holwell . Dorset – scratch dial 1 (upper)

BSS diagram

DIAL 2 (lower)

Dial 2 is encircled, most visibly the upper L quadrant, the R side being eroded. Compared with Dial 1, the details are indistinct. The photos below were taken in different lights to help with examination. The radials – many with terminal pocks – are within the lower half of the dial, with Dial 3 located in the upper half (see below).

GLP notes 11 lines with 6 ending in holes, plus the masonry joint as the horizontal, very inaccurately drawn with only one line in the correct position. GLP concludes that, though impressive, the dial was probably of very little use.

St Laurence . Holwell . Dorset – scratch dial 2 (lower)
St Laurence . Holwell . Dorset – scratch dial 2 (lower)

St Laurence . Holwell . Dorset – scratch dial 2 (lower)
St Laurence . Holwell . Dorset – scratch dial 2 (lower)
BSS diagram

DIAL 3 (inset in Dial 2)

A small rustic dial embedded within the top half of Dial 2. Eroded stone and lichen make it hard to analyse the dial much more. The BSS diagram below is the most helpful guide. GLP mentions 3 lines and a very worn circumference line. He notes that this dial, as with Dial 2, would have been of very little use.

BSS diagram

DIAL ABOVE THE PORCH

Featured here for interest and completeness, and will be written up on the OLD DIALS page

The dial is above the S. porch. Hard to date, but relatively complex. There are no numerals, and the lines from 6am to 6pm mark the hours, half-hours and the quarter-hours, carefully graduated. Some lines (eg 8am) are emphasised. There is no gnomon though there must have been one. The presumed site seems to be slightly off-centre at the top, where there is an area of damage. The dial was renovated in 1998 by S&L Kellard of Street, and the decision must have been made not to add a modern gnomon.

DIAL 4 (unrecorded, plausible)

As mentioned above, there is a possible dial quite high on the SW. face of a buttress at the W end. If it is a dial, it must have been repositioned and inverted in the process (shown reverted below)

GSS Category: Scratch Dial

All photos: Keith Salvesen

EARDISLAND . HEREFORD . ST MARY THE VIRGIN – 2 Scratch Dials

St Mary the Virgin . Eardisland . Herefordshire

GRADE II*. C12 origins, C13 with C14 additions (chancel, S. porch); tower rebuilt mid C18 after a collapse; Victorian restoration. Much of the medieval church in evidence. External and internal masons’ marks, graffiti etc. A pretty village on the R. Arrow, on the ‘Black & White Village Trail’ 52.2218 / -2.8497 / SO420585

DIAL 1

On the R. side of the S. porch, on the stone below the architrave. The stone below has marks that are probably apotropaic. 3 definite lines descending from the mortar line and through a slanting line that looks most like a fault in the stone – that may also apply to the 4th ridged line on the left side, or perhaps it was cut / added at a different time.

St Mary the Virgin . Eardisland . Herefordshire – Scratch Dial 1

DIAL 2

Cut into the large quoin stone on R. side of the priest’s door and spanning its width. The dial has a relatively complex design, perhaps combining its practical purpose with decorative effect. Erosion has made interpretation difficult. The style hole, now a small cave, is in the mortar line. The lower R quadrant shows part of 3 concentric semi-circles. There’s a hint – best seen top L – that at least the inner circle line continued above the horizontal. There’s little other sign of a more complete circle.

St Mary the Virgin . Eardisland . Herefordshire – Scratch Dial 2

Erosion and lichen obscure the finer details. BSS records 7 lines but a close-up photo in sunlight reveals about a dozen, with possibly some shorter lines (half-hour marks?). There are also pocks, 2 or 3 of which could relate to the dial – in particular the 2 ‘terminal’ ones adjacent to the noon line just above the mortar.

St Mary the Virgin . Eardisland . Herefordshire – Scratch Dial 2

GSS Category: Scratch Dial

All photos: Keith Salvesen

CLUNGUNFORD . SHROPSHIRE . ST CUTHBERT – Scratch Dial

St Cuthbert . Clungunford . Shropshire

CLUNGUNFORD . SHROPSHIRE . ST CUTHBERT

GRADE II*. C13 origins; C14 and later additions / alterations; restored late C19. There are good witch marks and other graffiti on some of the doorways. Long and low in a lovely setting between Craven Arms (N) and Leintwardine (S). 52.4033 / -2.8909 / SO394787

DIAL 1

This recorded dial is quite high (3m approx) on the buttress at the E. end. There are 3 clear lines including the deeper, longer noon line that descends to the edge of the stone below. The R side of the dial is eroded, with 2 fainter lines and a third barely visible. The gnomon hole is in the mortar line. The style has amusingly been replaced by a drill bit, the height suggesting that someone took the trouble to get a ladder for the purpose.

St Cuthbert . Clungunford . Shropshire – Scratch Dial 1

DIAL 2 (unrecorded)

To W. of the priest’s door and the large window to its right is another dial, unrecorded as far as I can tell. It is low on the buttress, 3 stones up from the base. There are 7, perhaps 8, lines radiating from the mortar line, where there is a small metal plate inserted with an unknown purpose. There are 6 pocks that almost certainly belong with the dial. Regrettably our friend with the drill was unable to restrain his DIY instincts on 3 of them.

St Cuthbert . Clungunford . Shropshire – Scratch Dial 2

DIAL 3 (unrecorded)

On the 4th quoin up on the E end, amidst some dead ivy stalks, there’s a further dial candidate. There are 3 noticeable lines and faint traces of a couple more. There is a plausible style hole at the apex of the lines. At the time I wondered whether the design should be awarded dial status. Having examined the photos I now think it should be. All the main criteria are met (location, position, radials, style hole). Luckily the driller has not plied his trade here.

St Cuthbert . Clungunford . Shropshire – Scratch Dial 3

GSS Category: Scratch Dial

Photos: Keith Salvesen

WENTNOR . SHROPSHIRE . ST MICHAEL & ALL ANGELS – Scratch Dial

Wentnor . Shropshire . St Michael and All Angels

Grade II*. Medieval origins, largely rebuilt using old materials in 1886. Some C12 details (small window, S. doorway). One of a number of hilltop churches in the region, and just W. of the Long Mynd. 2.5283 / -2.91 / SO383926

A scratch dial on this church is mentioned in TWC‘s county lists but not, as far as I can find, elsewhere. It seemed worth visiting as we were nearby. The only likely candidate I could find was in much the most likely location for a dial, to the left of the very early door and on the best stone (long before the porch was added). The configuration of the pocks suggest an afternoon dial marked from a (part-filled) style hole. It’s certainly a plausible candidate for TWC’s dial, and I could find no other. On balance, I’d rate it a probable more than a possible.

Wentnor . Shropshire . St Michael and All Angels – probable scratch dial as recorded by TWC

GSS Category – Scratch Dial

Photos: Keith Salvesen

BRAMPTON BRYAN . HEREFORD . ST BARNABAS – Scratch Dial

St Barnabas . Brampton Bryan . Herefordshire

GRADE 1. C14, earliest record for the site 1275. Largely destroyed in 1643 during the Civil War, as was the adjacent castle. Almost entirely rebuilt in 1656. Late C19 alterations and extensions. Much of interest including a triple hammerbeam roof. Most notable as a rare example of a church built (or rebuilt) during the Commonwealth. 52.3471 / -2.9255 / SO370725

DIAL

St Barnabas . Brampton Bryan . Herefordshire – Scratch Dial (Circle type)

The dial, a large circle, is on a short buttress under the E. window. There are few detectable marks, not least because of the lichen that covers most of it. The presumed style hole is basically a dimple in the centre. The present position – and indeed the history of the building – indicates relocation. It’s hard to say how useful it might originally have been, but it adds to the remnants of the church’s medieval past.

PLAUSIBLE ADDITIONAL DIAL (UNRECORDED)

To the right of the E. buttress on the E. end, there is a darker reddish stone, of a type seen elsewhere in the stonework, that caught my eye. There were 2 distinct long downward lines from an apex where there might credibly be a style hole. My photos don’t show the stone and markings as clearly as they looked to the eye. I immediately thought it was a probable dial. If so – given its position – the stone was undoubtedly relocated during reconstruction. I leave these images as food for thought. Comments are welcome.

GSS Category: Scratch Dial

Photos: Keith Salvesen