QUEEN CAMEL . SOMERSET . ST BARNABAS – Scratch Dial(s)

Queen Camel . Somerset . St Barnabas

GRADE I . C14 (first record 1291); C15 expansion; late C19 work. See HE for details of this interesting church, with its fine portico. A few miles N. of Sherborne or Yeovil. 51.0225 / -2.5754 / ST597249

DIALS

DIAL 1

The medieval dial is easily found on S wall of the chancel, on the buttress E of the priest’s door. The approximate semicircle embraces an almost compete set of 6-to-6 lines. There are several pocks, large and small. BSS notes include: 1. Worn. Repositioned. Octaval, Tides. 2. Dial (Norman?) with tides, with duodecimal, sometimes both. 3. Mason-cut or roughly scratched. 4. Tide dial, roman numerals, extra line at 7. I have to say (as an amateur) that I can’t match all these features to this dial or either of them if both are being described together (see below).

Queen Camel . Somerset . St Barnabas – scratch dial 1

The dial is large, almost the full width of the buttress. Unusually, it is cut over 4 stones. Note the low pock some way directly below the noon line. Most of the dial is cut on the Hamstone E quoin, the lower rim extending onto the 2 stones below. These stones match those around them. However the L side of the dial is cut on grey stone not matched elsewhere nearby.

I was puzzled by the suggested repositioning of the (entire) dial. An alternative theory might be that the dial was positioned where it is now. Over time, the L side became eroded or damaged and was replaced with a different kind of stone (perhaps being used for repairs elsewhere on the church). The new stone was then cut to match the design of the original. Looked at closely, the ‘new’ L side design does not in fact match the rest accurately. Not all lines follow exactly; there are no pocks; the incisions are clearer. Does this support a later replacement (and possibly harder) stone?

DEH visited in May 1914 and recorded 182. (2) This dial is on the first buttress to the e. of the priest’s door. It is 5 feet 9 inches above the ground, the noonline is 5 1/2 inches in length, the stylehole is 1 1/8 inches in depth by 3/4 of an inch in diameter, and the aspect is s. by 10° e. Type 5c. May 18th, 1915.

DIAL 2

Dial 2 also creates some confusion, not least its location. BSS does not record this dial as a separate entry from Dial 1 but may be referring to it especially in the note 4. Tide dial, roman numerals. Dial 1 does not have visible roman numerals but Dial 2 does.

Queen Camel . Somerset . St Barnabas – dial 2

This dial is located high up above the portico, below the parapet of the nave seen as clerestory with parapet BLB. It is quite damaged, with a modern gnomon and a flaking layer of blue paint that makes it stand out (see header image). It’s hard to date the dial. Similar dated dials in the region are quite often early C18 or even C17. The dial is conventional of its kind, carefully graduated. The numerals are set in a frame, and italicised each side of the noon line.

DEH’s description of his second St Barnabas dial is another puzzle:

181. (1) This dial is on the s.e. buttress of the s. aisle. It is 6 feet 7 1/2 inches above the ground, the noonline is 5 inches in length, the stylehole is invisible, and the aspect is s. by 10° e. The dial is curious, as it has the lines arranged much as they are in an ordinary sundial, with Roman numerals cut at the ends. There may have been a slit for a gnomon, now carefully cemented up. Probably this should not rank as a Scratch dial.

There is a significant problem. The location DEH gives for it, six feet up on a buttress, is totally different from this now blue dial, yet his description broadly matches it and his comment that it probably should not rank as a Scratch dial is clearly apposite. I may have missed a second buttress scratch dial, even though I have been back to check. Or else perhaps DEH made a simple error in compiling his notes of several churches visited at one time in one area (I have come across a couple of similar instances). So this dial, now blue, is the one he meant but mis-located.

Queen Camel . Somerset . St Barnabas – dial 2

GSS Category: Scratch Dial; Old Dial

All photos: Keith Salvesen

EAST CHINNOCK . SOM . ST MARY – 2 Scratch Dials (1 unrecorded)

East Chinnock . Somerset . St Mary. Scratch Dials
East Chinnock . Somerset . St Mary

EAST CHINNOCK . SOM . ST MARY

GRADE II † C14 origins on earlier site; mostly C15 and later C19 work. South porch very simple, possibly C14 BLB. Cinnuc in Saxon times. 4 miles W of Yeovil, attractively set on the steep hillside at the E end of the village though right beside the A30. 50.9164 /  -2.7145 / ST498132

DIALS

St Mary has 2 dials. Both are on the S porch, one of the earliest parts of the church. One was recorded by DEH on his visit in June 1915. The other is a new find I believe.

DIAL 1

The dial is halfway up the L side of the porch immediately above a gravestone. It comprises pocks with a large style hole. The pattern is haphazard and the dial might actually make more sense if rotated 90º L, producing a double pock noon line.

East Chinnock . Somerset . St Mary. Scratch Dials
East Chinnock . Somerset . St Mary – Scratch Dial 1

DEH 196. This dial is on the w. side of the s. porch, at a height of 4 feet 8 inches above the ground. The noonline is 2 1/4 inches in length, the stylehole is 7/8 of an inch by 1/2 an inch in diameter, and the aspect is s. by 30° e. Type 10. June 15th, 1915.

DIAL 2

East Chinnock . Somerset . St Mary. Scratch Dials
East Chinnock . Somerset . St Mary – Scratch Dial 2

Dial 2 is located quite high on the E face of the S porch, a simple 4-line fan dial. The position makes no sense for a sundial, and it was plainly relocated at some stage. In the process, as is often the way, it was inverted. This re-siting with a rotation of the stone retains the decorative feature even though no longer a reliable time indicator. This is the sort of find that reminds me always to search beyond the normal dial locations of porch, buttress and priest’s door.

GSS Category: Scratch Dial

All photos: Keith Salvesen

PODIMORE . SOM. ST PETER – Scratch Dial

St Peter . Podimore . Somerset

ST PETER . PODIMORE . SOMERSET

GRADE I. Early C14 on the site of an earlier ?C12 church. Unusual three octagonal stages on the square base of the tower. Porch of significance, with dial by inner door. Church situated close to the N. perimeter of RNAS Yeovilton. Historically spelled Podymore, sometimes adding Milton. 51.0219 / -2.6492 /  ST545249

DIALS

St Peter has a fine dial on a quoin stone at E. end of the nave, an unusually complete and very satisfying symmetrical design. DEH records this dial (as does BSS), and also a second dial inside the porch (a feature of churches in the area) that is rather a puzzle.

DIAL 1

St Peter . Podimore . Somerset – Scratch Dial 1

There is a full complement of 24 lines, each passing through a pock on its way to the perimeter. The line spacing is regular, each angle at 15º. The style hole is large relative to the careful proportions of the design. Overall the condition is good, the lower half more so than the upper. Some lines pass into (and perhaps beyond) the mortar joints, suggesting that a very strong and weather-resistant mix was used in medieval times (or extreme care taken with mortar repairs).

St Peter . Podimore . Somerset Scratch Dial 1

DEH visited in Oct 1914 and noted that the dial is elaborate and has lines and dots, and is also of unusual pattern. This dial is one of very few photographs included in his book. Note the spelling of the village in the caption. I wonder what kind of camera he took with him on his travels round Somerset?

211. (2) This dial is on a quoin at the s.e. corner of the nave. It is 4 feet 9 inches above the ground, the noonline is 4 1/2 inches in length, the stylehole is 3/4 of an inch deep by 3/4 of an inch in diameter, and the aspect is s. by 15° e. Type 11.

DIAL 2

The dial inside the porch of St Peter is RHS of the door. BLB notes S porch, gabled, with outer 2-centre arch of 2 orders, the outer segmental, and inner plain pointed arch door and a possibly C16 door with old ironwork. The date of the original porch – restored 1871 – that covered the dial is unclear.

St Peter . Podimore . Somerset – Scratch Dial 2

The dial, at latch level, is rustic and in poor condition. There are 2 clear lines, with the noon line cut deep at the top then scratched roughly a long way downwards before petering out. There’s no sign of a style hole where the lines meet, so the gnomon was presumably fixed in the mortar line just above. A partial / eroded line at the edge of the lower R quadrant could be consistent with Nones in the canonical Mass.

MYSTERY

A mystery arises from DEH‘s record for this ‘within-porch’ dial: He noted 210. (1) This dial is on the w. side of the inner door of the s. porch. It is 4 feet 6 inches above the floor, the noonline is 1 inch in length, the stylehole is in a joint and filled, and the aspect is s. by 20° e. Type 2. I found no dial in that position nor with that description. My tentative theory is that, very rarely, DEH’s notes of a day’s dialling are unclear; features of one church / dial appear to be ascribed to another nearby. Probably I should return to the area and check the churches for a dial as he describes.

St Peter . Podimore . Somerset – Scratch Dial 2 within porch

GSS Category: Scratch Dial

All photos: Keith Salvesen

COMPTON PAUNCEFOOT . SOM . ST MARY – Scratch Dials

Compton Pauncefoot . Somerset . St Mary

GRADE II* † C15 (C13 origins). Restored and N. aisle added C19. A handsome spired church, unusual in a region where most churches have towers, in the lovely setting of a small hamlet reached by a network of lanes. 51.0337 / -2.509 /  ST644261

DIALS

St Mary is a most rewarding church to visit, both the exterior and interior. You will find brief points of note at Camelot Parishes. DEH on his visit in April 2014 recorded 2 medieval dials (2 & 3 below) but there are others, including a more elaborate later one with Roman numerals (C17?) above the porch.

DIAL 1

Compton Pauncefoot . Somerset . St Mary – scratch dial on the porch

Dial 1 A very visible 3-line dial on a large stone RHS of the porch. It consists simply of a small style hole with a long noon line and a single line the same length cut on each side. Despite its prominent location, the dial seems largely unremarked though perhaps it is mentioned in the church archives. The actual stone differs from the ones around it – perhaps it was relocated during restoration to a more prominent position on the porch. It is strange that DEH didn’t include this dial in his records for the church.

DIAL 2

Compton Pauncefoot . Somerset . St Mary – scratch dial on the E buttress of the nave

Dial 2 is located on the buttress at E end of the nave. It is close to being an ideal dial for study. The style hole is (nearly) centred on the stone. The noon line is not only emphasised, it extends upwards to ‘midnight’. There’s a distinct optical impression of a circle. The horizontal (6-to-6) line extends almost the full width of the stone. Other lines are unusually long, reaching beyond the notional circle. They are carefully graduated to optimise the accuracy of the dial. One mystery is the absence of the 4-line. I couldn’t find a trace of one. It seems unlikely that a single line has eroded completely; but a reason for omitting one line on an otherwise complete and indeed symmetrical dial is hard to think of.

DEH chose the dial to illustrate Type 7

DEH 177. (2) This dial is on the buttress at the s.e. corner of the nave. It is 4 feet 6 inches above the ground, the noon- line is 4 1/2 inches in length, the stylehole is 1 inch in depth by 3/4 of an inch in diameter, and the aspect is s. by 20°e. Type 7. April 24th, 1914.

DIAL 3

Compton Pauncefoot . Somerset . St Mary – scratch dial beside the E buttress of the nave

Dial 3 is close to the same buttress, smaller, more rustic (earlier) and lower down. There are 9 certain lines and a couple of traces (one possibly above the 6 am horizontal). Their spacing is somewhat random. 4 lines end in pocks.

DEH 176. (1) This dial is on the wall w. of the buttress at s.e. corner of the nave. It is 2 feet 8 inches above the ground, the noonline is 4 1/2 inches in length, the stylehole is open, and the aspect is s. by 20° e. Type 3.

DIALS 4 a – d

Compton Pauncefoot . Somerset . St Mary – scratch dial(s)

Dial 4 This is in fact a dial / dial-related group on a single quoin stone, but treated as a dial unit for convenience. The overall design has 4 elements. There are 3 eroded (part) circles – two overlapping – with a small rough dial within the top circle. In this group of interlinked components, each is of a type often identified either as dials or as remnants of eroded dials. See eg CHURCH STRETTON Such a collection on a single stone perhaps suggests experimentation with dial-making. Or the (part-)circles may simply be decoration or (not unknown) doodles. Anyway, I decided to lump them together as one dial rather than to try to sort out the tangle. Any interpretations would be welcome.

Compton Pauncefoot . Somerset . St Mary – scratch dial(s)

DIAL 5

Compton Pauncefoot . Somerset . St Mary – scratch dial / C17 sundial

Dial 5 is a C17 later accurately incised dial on the fine porch above a cusped ogee-arched statue recess with foliated base BLB with its C19 statue of Virgin and Child. This dial is similar to several others in S. Somerset & W. Dorset (some are included under the heading OLD DIALS). The radials are contained within a rectangle, carefully incised and graduated. The noon line is more deeply cut, and leads down from the damaged area at the top of which is a filled style hole. Possibly the area of damage immediately below it indicates that a metal gnomon plate was later fixed there. The frame round the dial shows Roman numerals (IV as IIII) except for noon, which is marked by a cross (a conventional style).

GSS Category: Scratch Dial ; Old Dial

All photos: Keith Salvesen

STOKE-sub-HAMDON . SOM . ST MARY THE VIRGIN – 4 scratch dials

St Mary the Virgin . Stoke-sub-Hamdon . Som

ST MARY THE VIRGIN . STOKE-sub-HAMDON . SOM

GRADE I † C12 origins (Chancel c1100), C13 et seq, restored 1862. A pleasingly geometric church in a fine setting below Ham Hill, the Iron Age hill fort where the original stone for the Norman church was quarried. Close to Montacute House (NT) and St Catherine Montacute. 50.9526 /  -2.7361 /  ST483172

DIALS

St Mary has 4 dials on the S. side, all of different types and all quite easily found. The different styles and levels of sophistication on a single church reflect the development of scratch dials with increasing scientific knowledge, and their continuing usefulness to the church and the community.

DIAL 1

St Mary the Virgin . Stoke-sub-Hamdon . Som – Scratch Dial 1

Dial 1 is low-down on a quoin at the W. end, unusually assertive and straightforward. However, in the middle of the 4 strong lines is a very faint one with a dot at the end. Since it adds little to the dial’s purpose, I wonder if evidences eroded remains of an earlier dial? Also, are the dots either side of the gnomon hole part of the original dial or were they added later? It’s hard to see how they might help the dial’s function. Or so I thought until I saw similar oblique marks in Dial 2, in that case lines (see below).

DEH visited St Mary in July 1914 and recorded: 216. (1) This dial is on the s.w. corner of the nave on a quoin. It is 4 feet 3 inches above the ground, the noonline is about 4 inches in length or a little less, the stylehole is 1 3/4 inches in depth by 3/4 of an inch in diameter, and the aspect is s. by 30° e. Type 3.

In the first image, note the Norman window, one of 2 that survive. The other is shown below.

DIAL 2

St Mary the Virgin . Stoke-sub-Hamdon . Som – Scratch Dial 2

Dial 2 on the E. side of the recessed priest’s door, is a fine example of a later, more complex design. It certainly marks the hours with clarity and precision. Its sophistication suggests it must be a late dial, my guess being late C15 / early C16. The morning hours are all marked with carefully graduated lines down to the noon line. All terminate in pocks which themselves are graduated from large to small at noon. Two half-hours are marked with pocks. The emphatic oblique incision is hard to analyse other than in terms of marking canonical hours (Compline & Nones?) cf the pocks on Dial 1. Any help to explain it would be welcome.

DEH recorded: 219. (4) This dial is on the e. side of the priest’s door. It is 4 feet 6 inches above the ground, the noonline is 5 inches in length, the stylehole is 1 1/2 inches in depth by 3/4 of an inch in diameter, and the aspect is s. by 25° e. Type 3.

A final note for Dial 2. There is some evidence that there was originally a dial on a stone above it, later replaced. There are scratch marks that suggest the end of radials; and a row of dots, including a double dot that might relate to a noon line.

DIALS 3 & 4

St Mary the Virgin . Stoke-sub-Hamdon . Som – Scratch Dials 3 & 4

Dials 3 & 4 are together, one above the other, E. of the blocked doorway with its slender columns. They are quite high (about 10′) in the angle where the S. wall meets the transept.

Dial 3 is the lower of the two. The style hole would have been in the mortar line acting as the horizontal ‘6-to-6’ line, but the area has a large repair that presumably covers it. 6 lines descend from it in a conventional fan, mainly in the lower L. quadrant. Their spacing is imprecise; the noon line is extended.

Dial 4 above is less ambitious. I imagine it is the earlier of the two. There are 3 long lines emerging from a filled style hole. The noon line runs down the edge of the adjacent stone, which looks as though it was a replacement from later restoration work. If so, perhaps the dial originally had lines in the lower R. quadrant.

DEH wrote: 217. (2) This dial is on the s.w. corner of the s. transept. It is 5 feet 1 inch above the ground, the noonhole is 2 inches distant, the stylehole is 1 inch in depth by 1/4 of an inch in diameter, and the aspect is s. by 20° e. Type 9.

His record for this location is puzzling because there are in fact 2 dials not one; and they are much higher than he gives. It’s quite possible I missed a dial – his single dial – nearby and at the height DEH specifies. However, since DEH records only 3 definite dials for St Mary, he must therefore have missed (for height?) this pair.

St Mary . Stoke-s-Hamdon – Norman window

DOUBTFUL DIAL

DEH recorded a possible 4th dial, but with reservations. He wrote: 218. (3) This doubtful dial is on the e. side of the closed doorway in the nave. It is 5 feet 2inches above the ground, the noonline is 3 1/2 inches in length, the stylehole, if it exists at all, is filled.

I had already photographed it thinking it might be a damaged dial. I’m an optimist and an amateur, not the best combination for a balanced judgement. If this is the dial candidate referred to by DEH, then the style hole is no longer blocked. It looks plausible as a very crude dial, and it is a conventional dial location. Is it a much earlier dial than the others, cut beside what was clearly a significant doorway and now degraded by time and weather? Any views welcome.

GSS Category: Scratch Dials (multiple)

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

ASHINGTON . SOM . ST VINCENT – 2 Scratch Dials

St Vincent . Ashington . Som.

ASHINGTON . ST VINCENT . SOM

GRADE I † C13 origins in simple form, with later additions of porch, nave and chancel. A pretty and unassuming small church adorned with a notable bell turret. BLB highlights a number of interesting features. Located between Yeovil and RNAS Yeovilton, close to several other good ‘dial’ churches. 50.9904 /  -2.6267 / ST561214

DIALS

DIAL 1

The buttress where the nave joins the chancel is the focal point for 2 scratch dials, one above the other. The upper circle dial is pleasingly elaborate with ± 18 radials fanning out from the style hole, many ending in pocks. Because of erosion I can’t be sure, but given that the circle was evidently complete, I suspect the full 24 hours were once cut. The lines in the lower ‘morning’ quadrant are deeper cut. Some lines extended to the mortar. A very satisfactory dial for an amateur to find.

St Vincent . Ashington . Som – Scratch Dial 1

DEH visited St Vincent and other churches in the vicinity in May 1915. His field research primarily involved locating scratch dials throughout Somerset, taking meticulous but limited measurements of them, and making a general record, with occasional specific notes. As the pioneer of modern dial study, he was less concerned with the finer details we can now hope for, and he rarely included information about radials, pocks, angles and so on – nor put forward theories. Of Dial 1, he simply noted:

184. (1) This dial is on the second buttress e. of the s. porch. It is 6 feet 5 inches above the ground, the noonline is 4 inches in length, the stylehole is nearly 2 inches in depth by 3/4 of an inch in diameter, and the aspect is s. by 10° e. Type 4.

DIALS 1 & 2

St Vincent . Ashington . Som – 2 Scratch Dials

DIAL 2

St Vincent . Ashington . Som – Scratch Dial 2

DEH 185. (2) On the same buttress, 2 feet 3 1/2 inches lower down, is a second dial. The noonline is 3 inches in length, and the stylehole is 1/2 an inch deep. Type3. May 19th 1915.

He added the comment: The lower of these two dials may be only a copy of the one above, but it is badly weathered and it is difficult to judge. Puzzling, because this dial (to which DEH assigns a different Type) seems quite unlike its companion above. There are few discernible lines, and some are wholly or in part made up of pocks. It is much less ambitious and much more rustic. It almost seems that it was the first dial on the buttress, and Dial 1 was a much more artful improvement.

GSS Category: Scratch Dial

Photos: Keith Salvesen

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

MONTACUTE . SOMERSET . ST CATHERINE . 2 dials

St Catherine . Montacute . Somerset

MONTACUTE . SOMERSET . ST CATHERINE

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

DIALS

DIAL 1

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

St Catherine . Montacute . Som – Scratch Dial 1

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

St Catherine . Montacute . Som – Scratch Dial 1 Reverted

DIAL 2

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. 

GSS Category: Scratch Dial(s); Old Dial

All photos: Keith Salvesen