Grade II. Mid C13, with a Norman font suggesting earlier origins. Tower C15. By early C19, dilapidated and demolished (apart from the tower) and rebuilt. The work was inferior and re-rebuilding was soon required. Close to the Kennet & Avon canal between Devizes and Pewsey. 51.3598 / -1.8703 / SU09162
Badly eroded and degraded, the dial is located on the SW face of the buttress S of the W door. Apart from the semicircle at the top it is hard to discern how the dial might have looked. At first sight, this is a dial cut across 2 stones (there’s a hint of a circle on the lower stone), with the style hole presumably lost in the damaged area (the mortar line looks too high for one). Listed by TWC; not in the BSS register
Alternatively, possibly the combination of dilapidation, demolition and double rebuilding in C19 included rearranging some of the stonework of the tower that otherwise survived the chaos. Conceivably the present visible ‘semicircle stone’ was parted from a companion stone cut with the rest of the dial that was repurposed elsewhere.
Apart from the dial, there are quite a few witch marks and graffiti / initials. I take the double triangle mark beside the dial to be an emphatic ritual protection mark rather than, for example, a mason’s mark.
GRADE II* . C12, later expansion until decay by C19 rendered it ‘unfit for public worship‘. Radical action was taken and the church demolished leaving only the chancel. The ‘new church’ was built in contemporary style on the High Street. Much of the old church was transferred to the new one (including a dial stone, to be featured another time). The old church is still in use and much of interest remains including Elizabethan wall paintings, early bells, and a C13 (or C12?) font. Also a medieval oak door carbon-dated to 1354. 51.1131 / -1.4876 / SU359349
The church information leaflet notes ‘…a Mass Clock ca. 1214 on the door jamb of the west door’. However such a precise date is arrived at, this is a striking example of an early dial and a most unusual one in being set in an approximate rectangle rather than (if anything) a semi or complete circle. In Hants I know of one other, at Laverstoke.
The dial is set facing south among a selection of witch marks and graffiti scratched around the doorway. I counted 8 (possibly 9) lines rather haphazardly drawn and positioned ’round the clock’, with several pocks on the dial and its perimeter (also a dot pattern below). The noon line seems faintly to be extended. The style hole is filled. I wonder if it is unusual for such a very early dial to mark a full 24-hour cycle?
BSS gives the condition as fair and specifies 8 lines. Pocks are not noted. Comment: Repositioned?Irregular outline. Crudely cut or made. Cannot be classified. Unique shape.
Green ARG includes Stockbridge new church in his indispensable book of 1926 ‘Sundials – Incised Dials or Mass Clocks’. He visited in May 1922 and there is a detailed entry covering the dial stone removed from the old church and repositioned, inverted, high up at the W. end of the N. aisle. I will post about this dial in due course. However ARG makes no specific mention of visiting the old church, and there is no entry for it except in his concluding list of Hants dials.
NOTE: for a short summary of the Stockbridge churches & dials, see the entry on BRITAIN EXPRESS
GSS Category: Scratch Dial; Witch Mark; Church Graffiti
GRADE II*. C12 origins on earlier pre-conquest site; extended in C13; tower C15; Victorian restoration. Outcompeted as an historic building by Montacute (the house) NT, worth a visit in its own right, obviously. 4 miles NW of Yeovil. 50.9498 / -2.7178 / ST496169
Repositioned and inverted on a S. buttress. An unusually large style hole, with other holes and pocks that may be markers, or perhaps irrelevant. The top left hole, on the circle, is the most likely to be related – perhaps a emphatic reminder for Mass. The afternoon lines are emphasised and the noon line elongated, though it looks a casual later addition. See below for image with the dial reverted
Father Horne DEH visited Montacute on 18 June 1914 and recorded it thus:
205. This dial is on the second buttress from the tower, at a height of 5 feet 7 inches above the ground. The noonline is 5 inches in length, the stylehole is 1 1/4 inches deep by 3/4 of an inch in diameter, and the aspect is s. by 12° e. Type 5b.
This is a rare example (and perhaps none exists now, a century later) of a possible style fragment found in situ. The record continues:
This dial is upside down, and hence has been moved from its original place. A fragment of the metal style was extracted about an inch in length, and which had rusted down to about 1/2 of an inch in diameter. It appears to be a piece of iron. June 18th, 1914.
DIAL 1 REVERTED
On the second (E.) tower buttress on the S. side, another dial, unrecorded by Father Horne presumably because it doesn’t strictly fall within the – or his – scratch dial definition. However, it is a fine dial in its own right and deserves to feature here even if not quite qualified for inclusion.
I haven’t yet found an analysis of this dial in the usual resources. The lines are unevenly spaced but not graduated. The hours are clearly marked from 8 to noon in Arabic numerals; then faintly (eroded?) from 1 to 5 in Roman numerals. The 3-line is barely visible.
This Arabic / Roman numbering mix is not something I have come across before. It may help to date the dial – late C16 perhaps? Any further information would be welcome.
Ref: Somerset Historic Environment Record: There are two engraved sundials on the south side of the church. The first is semicircular and reset upside down on the second buttress west from the steps down to the boiler house. There are three marker holes. The second is on the E buttress for the tower and the divisions are numbered in a combination of Roman and arabic numbers.
GRADE II*. C13 origins, mainly C15, later restoration, transepts added 1874. 3 miles W. of Yeovil, close to Montacute. 50.9365 / -2.7031 / ST506154
The dial, once located E. of the porch, is disappointingly half-concealed by a discoloured and broken perspex sheet screwed over it. It’s a well-intended method of protection, of course, but some say it is preferable to leave a dial to erode naturally over the centuries. Possibly a covering like this could actually cause deterioration.
A number of clear graduated lines are visible in the lower R quadrant. There is a large pock, with a couple of small holes in the mortar below. The large one – between the terminus of two afternoon lines – may well be part of the dial. It’s too large to be the location of the missing screw for the covering. Perhaps that was fixed in a smaller hole in the mortar.
Dom Ethelbert Horne DEH visited Odcombe church on June 8th, 1915. He noted: this dial is on the s.e. face of the buttress, and hence may not be in its original position and his record states:
208. This dial is on the s.e. angle buttress of the s. porch. It is 4 feet 4 inches above the ground, the noonline is 3 inches in length, the stylehole is 4 1/4 inches deep by 1 inch in diameter, and the aspect is s.e. Type 3. June 8th, 1915.
GRADE I. Pre-conquest origins, largely rebuilt in c.1360 and reworked thereafter. Plenty to investigate and to test your building dating skills. BLB summaryHERE. 5m NE of Yeovil, NW of Sherborne. 50.999 / -2.5807 / ST593223
A single dial. St Mary was visited by DEH on May 18th 1915 and he recorded:
199. This dial is on the first buttress to the w. of the priest’s door. It is 7 feet 4 inches above the ground, the noon-line is 4 1/2 inches in length, the style hole is 1/2 an inch deep by 3/4 of an inch in diameter, and the aspect is s. by 10°e. Type 3. May 18th, 1915.
The radials go beyond 180º, with quite a variation in spacing, depth, and length. There are notably longer and deeper afternoon lines, with one extending to the stone below. Possibly that quadrant was more deeply incised, or maybe recut at a later date. The lower left quadrant certainly looks more eroded.
The style hole is large. DEH makes no comment on the equally large hole immediately above. I could see no other dial signs – lines or pocks – linked to it. I wondered if it was the original dial on this prominent buttress, of the most basic type – simply a hole with a stick in it (the shadow would still be an indicator of the passage of time). Rather than elaborate it, a new dial was added beneath.
GRADE 1. C12 chancel, nave; continuing development; Largely rebuilt C16, tower in C17. Mid-Victorian restoration (Cutts). Cotswolds, between Winchcombe and Stow-on-the-Wold. 51.949 / -1.8685 / SP091278
TWC in his 1935 ‘Origins and Use of Scratch Dials’ includes Temple Guiting in his county lists (along with nearby Guiting Power). There is no other information that I can find in any of the usual resources nor going beyond them. The century-by-century work on this church make it hard to know where to look, especially as stones may have been relocated or even removed.
Within an hour of posting this, more research revealed Guiting sightings of 3 dials. An article by Rev. P. Sullivan for the Bristol and Gloucestershire Archaeological Society (1924, Vol 46, 169-86) lists many Glos. dials including the following:
All are quite high up, which is no real excuse for missing all of them, even when in a hurry. I clearly need to go back. Please stop here unless you want to check out a less obvious / certain dial…
With limited time for a visit, the only dial-like marks I could find were under window of the transept (if that’s the right term) on the N. side. There are 2 clear lines; one faint line; and a couple of possibles but too eroded to be sure. I may easily have missed a real dial(s); this is the candidate I noticed.
My thoughts are that this is a small, simple dial cut on an older-seeming stone; that it has been relocated, presumably from the S. front; and that it has been rotated 90º anticlockwise. There’s the hint of a filled style hole below the dark patch that looks different from the lichen.
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
4 dials identified: 3 scratch dials and 1 ‘very early scientific dial’(BBS)
Priest’s Door R. Pock dial with 5 clear dots on pinkish stone (similar position and style to eg Maiden Newton Dorset).
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.
DIALS 1, 2 & 3
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?
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
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.
On S. face of the tower, a large painted dial dated 1801 ‘TEMPUS FUGIT’. The long spindly gnomon casts an impressively long shadow.
DEDICATION † St Mary. Mid C12 / earlier foundation; main development C15; C19 restoration
LISTING † Grade I
LOCATION † 8 miles NE. of Dorchester, 12 miles SE. of Yeovil, in the valley below the A37 racetrack. Hardy’s ‘Chalknewton’. More of a small town than a village, with a few shops, a garage and a station rather than (as elsewhere locally) a single shop and a halt. 50.7775 2.5727 SY597977
See detailed post for the recorded dial in the chancel doorway (RHS) HERE
DIAL 2 (?)
The dial is at eye-level on the quoin of the buttress between the porch and the Chancel door. It is not recorded, and I can see why (a) it may have been overlooked and or (b) why, if noticed, it may have discounted as a definite dial. So I’ll argue the case.
This is a pock dial with no radials. There are 3 large pocks on a slight curve, and a couple of small ones slightly out of line. There are other pocks lower down, two of which (presuming a gnomon in the mortar immediately above) seem to relate to the large pocks – one might even be a noon indicator.
Using a crow’s feather as a style centred in the mortar above the large pocks, the shadow cast was photographed at about 11.30
NOTES † There is a fine sundial ‘on S. face of tower, square slab with simple capping, iron gnomon and date 1630‘ BHO. See OLD DIAL menu LINK
GRADE ll*. C15 with earlier origins. Complete rebuild in C18 ‘incorporating C15 windows, arcade and doorways’HE. Separate C13 bell tower (cf Gunwalloe), listed G ll. 5m S. of Truro. 50.2057 / -5.0502 / SW824384
Only 4 scratch dials are recorded for Cornwall, this being one (see also Manaccan). I assume the main reason is that the local building materials – granites, serpentine, and other hard rock – are unrewarding to work with when cutting a dial
The dial is located prominently on the left side of the porch. Clearly the stone is different from and older than the surrounding stones (BSS dates the dial as C15), so it must have been rescued from the earlier building and reused in a typical dial position during the C18 reconstruction. The graffito SS 1766 makes a good case for being the date of relocation.
The recorded dial is under the date and has 3 or 4 adjacent indistinct short lines described (BSS) as ‘remote’. I take this to mean unlinked to the large style hole. To me they seem rather random and arguably not in the right place / at the right angle to be of much use. There’s the hint of an eroded circle. This basic dial’s main interest (apart from its extreme rarity in the county) arguably lies in the way it was incorporated and marked so appropriately during the rebuilding.
A. I assume SS to be the initials of the stonemason who reset the dial – rather boastfully larger than the incised date. Given the date, it seems unlikely to reference ‘Saints’. B. As for the triangular indented ‘nostrils’ with the trace of a partial circle, I have no idea – possibly the site of a later fixing? C. The vertical line to the right is another puzzle, with its carefully cut decorative ends (one eroded). I’d like it to be a cross, but there’s no indication of a horizontal.
More interesting is the ‘pattern’ lower right. When I first looked at the stone, I presumed from the clearer lines radiating from a centre, the 3 or 4 apparent pocks, and the trace of a circle, that this was the recorded dial. The upwards direction of the lines suggested that the ‘dial’ had been upper left and that the stone was inverted when reused (as is often the case with dial stones), after which the initials and date were added.
Here’s how the stone might have looked. Perhaps there are actually 2 dials on it?
NOTE: see also the entry for MANACCAN for a second recorded Cornish dial; and St Martin for 1 or even 2 candidates as hitherto unrecorded dials.