ROTHBURY . NORTHUMBERLAND . ALL SAINTS – 2 Scratch Dials

All Saints . Rothbury . Northumberland (C of E Heritage Record / Dave Evans)

ALL SAINTS . ROTHBURY . NORTHUMBERLAND

GRADE II* † On Pre-Conquest / Anglo-Saxon site. C13 / C14, rebuilding & restoration C19 in similar style. Located in Coquetdale with linked churches. 12m SW of Alnwick, close to NT Cragside. 55.309 /  -1.9106 / NU057016

DIALS

There are 2 dissimilar scratch dials on the church, and an intriguing cube dial (shown below and will feature as a separate post in the Cube Dial section) on the ground in the Churchyard.

DIAL 1

Located on the E-most buttress of the S wall of the chancel. Quite a large dial centred in its stone, with a blocked gnomon hole. There are 16 lines, encircled and fairly evenly spaced. This makes the dial out of kilter with the normal time interludes. BSS notes that instead of the 15º angles usual for this type of dial with 24 lines, they are more like 22º here.

DIAL 2

Between the 2 E-most buttresses of the S wall of the chancel. Only 3 lines radiate from the filled gnomon hole (incomplete quadrant markings): the horizontals (6-to-6) and a shorter noon line. BSS notes that in 1903 a vertical line above the hole was recorded, and so the design once had 4 quarters / sectors. The dial is contained within a double circle.

REFERENCES

The Parish of Upper Coquetdale has an interesting page about All Saints, its history, and its various features HERE

Pendulum Publications has an excellent and detailed article about the Rothbury Dials – including the C18 cube – HERE Highly recommended if you want to investigate this church and its dials further, and medieval ‘clocks’ generally. It was originally published in Clocks Magazine of November 1991.

All Saints . Rothbury . Northumberland – Keith Bates / Clocks Magazine 1991; Pendulum Publications

GSS Category: Scratch Dial; link to Cube Dial

Image Credits: Erika Clarkson for the photos from her visit; others as captioned

HINTON ST GEORGE . SOM. ST GEORGE – Scratch Dial

Hinton St George Church . Som

ST GEORGE’S CHURCH . HINTON ST GEORGE . SOMERSET

GRADE I † C13 origins: masons’ marks on the fabric date from C13 and are identical with some found at Wells cathedral BHO. Development mainly C15 (tower) and C16, with C19 work by Wyatt and later attention. Poulett family much in evidence. Good graffiti / protection marks. Fine gilded weathercock dated to 1756. 4m N of Crewkerne . 50.9107 / -2.8286 / ST418126

DIAL

Hinton St George Church . Som – Scratch Dial

A single scratch dial tucked away on the W side of a buttress, and of doubtful value as a time marker, both for position and orientation. There are 4 lines with terminal pocks on the left side; and a single pock at the top (ie midnight). The gnomon hole, already quite big, has been crudely enlarged – and quite recently, by the look of it.

An explanation for the unpromising location and the unsatisfactory design is that the dial was relocated at some stage, perhaps when the tower was built (and the buttress added?). It is far from unusual for a dial reused in this way to be inverted, as if decommissioning it. An inversion of the image above makes far more sense, with the noon line marked by a single pock, and the radials to its right. An afternoon dial.

Hinton St George Church . Som – Scratch Dial (inverted)

GRAFFITI & APOTROPAIC SYMBOLS / PROTECTION / MARIAN MARKS

GSS Category: Scratch Dial

All photos: Keith Salvesen

DINNINGTON . SOMERSET . ST NICHOLAS – Scratch Dial

St Nicholas . Dinnington . Som. (Geo / Sarah Smith )

ST NICHOLAS . DINNINGTON . SOMERSET

GRADE II † Established C12, first recorded 1207; mostly C15; restoration 1863. C13 (?) font. Originally the chapelry to nearby Seavington St Mary. Very pretty, both the building and the dial. 5m NW of Crewkerne. 50.9113 /  -2.8505 /  ST403127

DIAL

St Nicholas . Dinnington . Som. – Scratch Dial

DEH visited in August 1915 and added a note to his often largely measurement-based record.

There is a full complement of 24 lines, with areas of erosion, radiating from the gnomon hole in the centre of the dial stone. I am not clear which added lines DEH refers to. I infer that the dial may have been a hemisphere marking dawn to dusk only from the horizontal 6-to-6 lines. Then perhaps for reasons of aesthetics / symmetry an upper hemisphere was cut to match it.

There’s another conundrum concerning the 4 terminal pocks in UR quadrant (above). If the dial is in its original position (L), they would have been useless and indeed pointless. But if the dial stone was at some stage at 90º or (more likely and convincingly) 180º from its present position, they would be effective as daytime Mass markers. In the rotated image (R), the pocks are in the right place to emphasise forenoon Mass.

GSS Category: Scratch Dial; Mass Dial

All photos: Keith Salvesen, except header image Sarah Smith / Geo /

KINGSTONE . SOMERSET . ST JOHN & ALL SAINTS – Scratch Dial

St John . Kingstone . Som. Credit: Julie Ann Workman

ST JOHN THE EVANGELIST & ALL SAINTS . KINGSTONE . SOMERSET

GRADE II* † Records from 1291; C14 chancel, porch; C15 tower, nave. A village with a long history, close to the Fosse Way, recorded in DB as Chingestone. 1m SE of Ilminster. 50.9188 /  -2.8851 / ST378136

DIAL

St John . Kingstone . Som.

This is an unusual dial, not least because there is a pair of style holes L and R and they are both similarly large. The dial stone is quite badly damaged and it is difficult to analyse the dial. R seems to be the primary hole for the gnomon. The only discernible noon line is below R, marked by a single pock halfway to the mortar line below. On either side, at roughly 11 and 1, are the only 2 clear lines in the whole design. It’s hard to see the purpose of L at all, and perhaps it was a later addition that didn’t add much.

DEH visited in 1915 and included his own theory:

GSS Category: Scratch Dial

All photos: Keith Salvesen except header image as credited (a huge improvement on my own rain-affected photo).

SEAVINGTON ST MARY . SOMERSET . ST MARY – Multiple Scratch Dials

St Mary . Seavington St Mary . Somerset

ST MARY . SEAVINGTON ST MARY . SOMERSET

GRADE II* † C13 origins (nave, chancel), considerable enlargement late C15. Norman font, trace wall paintings. Now in the care of CCT. Adjacent to Seavington St Michael and 4m E of Ilminster.  50.9306 / -2.851 / ST402149

DIALS

DEH visited St Mary in Sept 1912 on one of his early dial research expeditions in Somerset☩. He recorded a single dial on a buttress (Dial 1). BSS does not have a specific record for St Mary. I wasn’t prepared for the multi-dial display on either side of the porch..

DIAL 1

St Mary . Seavington St Mary . Somerset

Dial 1 is described by DEH in more detail than usual:

This dial is on a buttress half-way between the s. porch and chancel. It is about 5 feet 5 inches above the ground, the noonline is 3 1/2 inches in length, the style hole is 1/2 an inch deep to the top of the metal shank which is still within it, and about 1/2 an inch in diameter. On the noonline, close to the stylehole, is a hole for a peg, and there is another at the extreme end of this line in the next stone. There is also a peg-hole on the mass line.

There are 7 lines, starting with the horizontal 6am. The noon line seems to be a close double line, with noon itself being between them (as other churches in the area). There’s also a hint that it extends to the stone below, with a small terminal pock. The deeper cut line in the lower right quadrant presumably marked the main Mass of the day. No metal shank was evident.

St Mary . Seavington St Mary . Somerset

PORCH DIALS

Numbering needs correction at some time… 8 & 9 should be in the same row as 4 – 7; 10 & 11 should replace 8 & 9

DIALS 2 & 3

On the W side of the door are 2 adjacent dials on the same stone and of a similar design. Both seem to have been complete circles, now eroded. The larger has a very small style hole. The smaller has a couple of pocks but whether they relate to its function is not clear.

St Mary . Seavington St Mary . Somerset

DIALS 4 – 6

On the E side of the door are 3 dials in a row on a single large stone, one with a string of pocks. Dials are shown in order left to right.

Dial 4

Dial 5

Dial 6

Dial 7 (?)

Completing the line of small circle dials on the stone is a hole lower R. No definite lines / pocks are readily discernible but a photo enlargement suggests faint lines at 11 and 1. A damaged area just above the mortar line might mark extended noon line. There’s a faint impression of a circle. Is this a dial? The hole is in a logical place on the stone and would match the other 3 dials in scale.

Dial 8 ?

On the quoin stone next to Dial 7, another similar hole without noticeable markings. In close-up it’s hard to make much of it – faint evidence of a circle, perhaps? – except that it fits the overall picture of a line of small encircled dials.

Dial 9

In the top R corner is a quite different type of dial, semi-circular with several lines and circumference pocks that more or less match hour line positions. It strays onto the adjacent quoin stone and there’s an impression that it might once have had a top half, with the stone later replaced.

Dials 10 & 11

Both dials are immediately below the others, and resemble dials 2 & 3. 10 is an eroded (part) circle with no discernible style hole. 11 is a complete circle with a very small hole from which – originally or perhaps later – a single line curves downward.

GSS Category: Scratch Dials; Multiple Church Dials

All photos: Keith Salvesen

THORNFORD (2) . DORSET . ST MARY MAGDALENE Revisited – Rare Scratch Dials (interior & sill)

St Mary Magdalene Thornford Dorset (Keith Salvesen)
St Mary Magdalene, Thornford, Dorset

ST MARY MAGDALENE . THORNFORD . DORSET

GRADE II † C14 nave, chancel, 3-stage W tower; C15 nave rebuilt, N chapel added. Victorian restoration 1866. 14 Consecration Crosses (usually 12 or fewer). S. of the Sherborne – Yeovil A30 road, approx half way between the two towns 50.9175 / 50°55’3″N /  ST603132

I last wrote about St Mary at a time when churches were locked for Covid reasons. I was able to feature the 2 extraordinary and very rare external sill dials in a post HERE Recently, I returned to the church to investigate the third and most unusual dial located actually inside the church. Here is that dial, with a recap of the sill dials.

Scratch Dials located inside a porch are not especially rare, with quite a few examples within a 25 mile radius of Thornford. They are found where dials were originally cut in the stone surrounds of a medieval church doorway and a porch was subsequently added. In some cases, the new porch entrance had a new dial cut to replace its redundant predecessor.

St Mary Magdalene, Thornford, Dorset – interior scratch dial

THORNFORD DIAL 3 – INSIDE THE CHURCH

Very rarely is a dial found actually inside the church itself. This may occur when a dial stone has been relocated from the outside to repair an interior wall; or as part of wider building works, as with Stoke St Gregory Somerset. Thornford has a most interesting example.

INTERIOR DIAL

St Mary Magdalene, Thornford, Dorset – interior scratch dial

A remarkable dial – relocated, inverted, overpainted, and all but hidden in the chancel on the N side of the church on the E face of the window jamb, with a wooden toy castle for company. There are 8 lines of almost the same length, somewhat rough-hewn. 2 are barely perceptible.

Thornford – interior dial (BSS)

TWO RARE SILL DIALS

St Mary was one of the earliest churches to be covered in this project, probably because it is only 2 villages away from ours. I featured the 2 the two very rare ‘sill’ scratch dials, both on the quoins of the E. corner of the window sills either side of the blocked chancel doorway, with the window jambs acting as gnomon. These are not unique, but I believe there are fewer than 5 other examples. The link to that article is HERE.

St Mary Magdalene Thornford Dorset Scratch dial 1a
Thornford – window scratch dial 1a
St Mary Magdalene Thornford Dorset Scratch dial 1b
Thornford – window scratch dial 1b
St Mary Magdalene Thornford Dorset Scratch dial 2a
Thornford – window scratch dial 2a
St Mary Magdalene Thornford Dorset Scratch dial 2b
Thornford – window scratch dial 2b

NOTES † Stone screen, c15 font, early organ, a number of Consecration crosses (RCHM says 14), from badly eroded Hamstone to clear-cut. Tithe Tomb in the churchyard with a basin into which tenants contributed to the wealth of the Lord of the Manor by making an annual payment ‘on St Thomas’s Day’ to be allowed to keep their own hay

GSS Category – Scratch Dial; Sill Dial; Interior Dial

All photos – Keith Salvesen

NEWTOWN LINFORD . LEICS . ALL SAINTS – 2 Scratch Dials, Vertical Dial

All Saints . Newtown Linford . Leics

ALL SAINTS . NEWTOWN LINFORD . LEICS

GRADE II* † C14 / 15 origins, with later / C19 enlargement. Besides 2 scratch dials there is a vertical dial on the tower dated 1706. 6m NW of Leicester. 52.6832 / -1.2292 / SK522097

DIALS

The scratch dials are both on the S side. One is on SW corner of the tower; the other on the lower part of the L jamb of a window (I don’t have a more precise location at the moment).

DIAL 1

All Saints . Newtown Linford . Leics – Scratch Dial 1

Dial 1 gives the impression of a spider, with legs radiating from the (blocked) gnomon hole in the centre of the dial stone. The clearest lines are at 11 and noon, the latter faintly extended. The others are rather randomly placed. There’s a line in the top L quadrant; and the hint of a line very roughly extending the noon line upwards. The 2 pocks don’t seem to be part of the design.

DIAL 2

All Saints . Newtown Linford . Leics – Scratch Dial 2

Dial 2 is more conventional ‘morning dial’, with 6 more or less evenly spaced lines descending (but not very accurately) from a large filled style hole. Only one of the lines is after noon. Simple and straightforward.

VERTICAL DIAL 1706

All Saints . Newtown Linford . Leics – Vertical Dial

Set on the SE edge of the second stage of the tower, close to the intersection with the roof of the nave. Slate, made by Thomas Woodcock in 1706. Deeply cut and in excellent condition for its age. Initials I K. Cross for 12 noon. Quarter hours marked. The angles of the Roman numerals are carefully graduated as they descend and ascend, suggesting the work of a skilled craftsman dial-maker.

BSS notes very similar dials at Breedon on the Hill and at Leicester, all three being within a few miles of each other.

This interesting dial has been analysed and recorded in some detail by BSS:

The dial is fitted with iron dog nails to the south face of the tower, at the south-east corner, adjacent to the nave junction. The date 1706 is across the top, and being of the local slate, the dial is in remarkable condition for its age. Initials ‘I K’ are on each side of the date. Upright hours VI – + – IV – VI are aligned to the hour lines, which are drawn to a large semicircle around the gnomon root. Short lines mark the half hours, with fleur de lys or arrow heads, and quarter hours. The rusty iron bar gnomon has a straight horizontal support.

GSS Category: Scratch Dial; Vertical Dial

Photos of church and scratch dials, Erika Clarkson; vertical dial from BSS archive

SHARNFORD . LEICS . ST HELEN – Scratch Dial

ST HELEN . SHARNFORD . LEICS

GRADE II † C13, C14, C15, alterations (including removal of spire), additions, restoration C18 on. Nave reroofed following a fire in 1985. 12m SW of Leicester. 52.5228 / -1.2887 / SP483918

DIAL

St Helen . Sharnford . Leics – Scratch Dial

The dial is quite high up on a buttress by the window E of the porch. It is in poor condition, esp. the upper part if (as BSS suggests) there was a complete circle originally. It’s hard to determine how many lines radiate from the large gnomon hole. There is a clear noon line that terminates in an emphatic pock. There are ± 7 lines in the lower semicircle. See the BSS image below that seems to eroded 6-to-6 horizontal lines as well, and also a hint of a line in the upper part RHS.

The 2 smaller pocks in the lower half are inside the circle rather than on the circumference. They are level with each other and equidistant from the central hole, suggesting an intentional symmetry with (approx) hours 9 & 3. The same applies to the similar-sized upper pocks. In fact, the 4 pocks form a square and their position tends to confirm the ‘complete circle’ theory.

BSS DIAL IMAGE FOR ST HELEN’S

GSS Category: Scratch Dial

Photos: Erika Clarkson

PRESTON CANDOVER OLD CHURCH . HANTS . ST MARY THE VIRGIN – 2 Scratch Dials

St Mary . Preston Candover Old Church

ST MARY THE VIRGIN . PRESTON CANDOVER . HANTS

GRADE II † C12 origins (c1190), mostly destroyed by a fire in 1681 and rebuilt. Dilapidation and a new Parish church built in the village centre in 1883 led to demolition of all but the Chancel. In the 1920s used as a mortuary chapel. Stones mark the outline of part of the nave. In the care of CCT. 8m S of Basingstoke. 51.1687 / -1.138 / SU603414

DIALS

Both dials are on the south wall of the Chancel, L of the blocked Priest’s door.

St Mary . Preston Candover Old Church . Dials

DIAL 1

St Mary . Preston Candover Old Church – ScraDial 1

Dial 1 is small and, remarkably, on the lowest stone of the doorway where it would have been of negligible use. It was obviously repositioned during rebuilding and in the process rotated 90º clockwise so that the deeper cut noon line is horizontal rather than vertical to the ground. Encircled but not accurately – slightly elliptical. There are a dozen lines or so radiating from the gnomon in the dial stone, with the afternoon lines emphasised (ARG in 1924 found it ‘much damaged by weather’)

St Mary . Preston Candover Old Church Dial BSS
A R Green – Dial 1 1924

DIAL 2

St Mary . Preston Candover Old Church –

Dial 2 is eroded and in a poor state. Though larger than Dial 1, it is less visible, and ARG did not record it in his 1924 survey. It seems to have been cut on softer stone. Lichen makes it harder to read. The blocked gnomon hole is more or less in the centre of the dial stone. There are 7 definite lines leading from it, 2 angled into the upper half of the dial. It looks as if it might once have been encircled, but it is now hard to tell. BSS notes Crudely cut or made. Eroded. Trace of circle only. Partly hidden by rendering

St Mary . Preston Candover Old Church Dial BSS

NOTE In the churchyard is a sundial made up of a twelfth-century capital and base, both being set upside down HE

GSS Category: Scratch Dial; Mass Dial

Credits: Tina Osgood, taken during a recent visit; header image Basingstoke Gazette

MUDFORD . SOMERSET . ST MARY – Cube Dial & 2 Scratch Dials

St Mary . Mudford . Somerset

ST MARY . MUDFORD . SOMERSET

GRADE I † Mostly early C14 and C15. Built with local stone: lias and ham. A fine C17 cube dial, 2 slightly unrewarding scratch dials, impressive gargoyles. A complete set of 5 bells dated 1582, 1621, 1623, 1664 and 1666, all by Purdue family. Some pews have graffiti from C17 on. 3m N of Yeovil. 50.9773 / -2.6086 / ST573199

CUBE DIAL

St Mary . Mudford . Somerset – Cube Dial

C17 cuboid sundial as finials to gable coping HE

ASPECTS SE & SW

The SE face has a large gnomon inserted vertically into almost the whole depth of the cube. There are 4 (possibly 5) faint lines LHS that mark the morning’s progress. The SW face is (now?) plain, with an angled blade top R at roughly 45º.

ASPECTS SE & NE

The NE face has a blade gnomon at much the same angle as one the SW face. There’s plenty of lichen and no detectable marks.

ASPECTS NE & NW

The ‘back’ of the cube – the NW face – has no gnomon, but there are holes suggesting the location of one. No dial lines visible.

NOTE: It is almost impossible to get satisfactory photographs of all the faces of a cube dial. Two will always be in shade. Perhaps I need to go back at a different time of day. Or year.

MUDFORD: TWO SCRATCH DIALS

The two dials are on the inner face of the buttress at the E end of the church, one above the other – a less than optimal location. Dial 1 is very simple: a style hole with 2 lines descending either side of the vertical, in effect making the noon line the space between them. Dial 2 has 4 clear lines radiating from the style hole. These are E of the vertical, marking roughly 1 to 4 (there is no noon line). On both dials there are faint hints of other lines now eroded.

DEH recorded the Mudford dials in May 2015

GSS Category: Cube Dial; Scratch Dial

All photos: Keith Salvesen