CREECH ST MICHAEL . SOM . ST MICHAEL – Scratch Dials

ST MICHAEL . CREECH ST MICHAEL. SOM

GRADE I C12 origins, mainly C13; C15 perp additions and C19 restoration. A most attractive building, highly praised as an uncommonly interesting church PEV. Called All Saints until C16. Traces of C17 wall paintings. 6 bells, earliest 1590. Additional dials found. 5m E of Taunton. 51.0224 / -3.0355 / ST274252

DIALS

DEH visited St Michael in Sept 1913 and noted a group of 3 dials on W side of the porch. He recorded All three of these dials are close together, very poor in construction, and one or other of them is probably only a copy dial, but the lines of all have been added to, and it is difficult to say which is the original. Dial 2 is the least explicable.

There are 3 other dials (one is debatable): 2 on E side of the porch, in much the same position as Dials 1-3; 1 on the W window jamb of the whitewashed chapel. This last is in good condition comparatively; and the more precise design suggests it was the latest and presumably superseded the others in accuracy and legibility.

DIAL 1

DEH: 152. (1) This dial is on the w. side of the s. porch, 4 feet 8 inches above the ground. The noon line is 4 inches in length, the style hole is filled, and the aspect is s. by 8° e.

A fairly conventional morning dial with 9 (10?) lines, with the lines marking (roughly) Tierce and noon cut deeper. It’s difficult to interpret the pocks, if that is what they are. Several correspond with the relevant radials; the vertical seems to have a 2nd pock lower down (Mass time marker?). Possibly they were added later.

DIAL 2

DEH: 153. (2) This dial is close by the side of No 1. The noon line is 4 inches in length, the style hole is filled, aspect as above.

Dial 2 is confusing. How did that mish-mash of lines, hole-infilling, and extensive repair come about – and when? There’s no doubt that in the mix is a very basic dial with 2 lines curving left that appear to radiate from the mortar line above.

The 4 quite deep and almost parallel incisions just below the 2-line dial are problematic. It’s hard to see them as part of the overall dial design on that stone. And 4 verticals in a row would make a poor marker for noon. Also, it does not seem that they would converge at the same position as for the identifiable dial. In fact, seen on their own, they might be taken as an apotropaic mark of the grid and pock kind (though they are not convincing in that respect either).

DIAL 3

DEH: 154. (3) Six inches above No. 2, a dial with noon line 3 inches in length, the style hole filled, aspect as above.

This morning dial has 3 lines that radiate from the stone overhang, There is a small hole at the apex where presumably a thin style was inserted. The upper line ends with 2 clear pocks, and must have marked the most significant Mass time of the day (in this case, Tierce)

DIAL 4

A rough, eroded, and damaged dial on E jamb of the porch, level with dials 1 – 3. There are 6 detectable lines, 2 very faint. Again, a morning dial, with Tierce marked with a pock. The filled gnomon hole is big, but that may have occurred over time.

DIAL 5

This small dial is in the corresponding position opposite dial 3. It is simpler and less well defined, with a small style hole and 3 detectable lines radiating from the hole, only one being easily visible. It might be classified as ‘doubtful’ but for its relationship to dial 3 on the other side of the entrance, which I think upgrades it to ‘plausible’.

DIAL 6

This attractive dial, originally completely encircled, has survived the passage of time rather better than the others. There are 18 lines that make up a 3/4 circle, with a deeper cut noon line and a large style hole. The angles between the lines are somewhat random but I expect that the dial was effective as a marker of the progress of the day.

The way in which the dial stone has been cut to fit the space could suggest that it was relocated. In a way it might make more sense if rotated 90º clockwise, but testing that theory using a photo didn’t look right.

GSS Category: Scratch Dial; Mass Dial

All photos: Keith Salvesen

MUDFORD . SOMERSET . ST MARY (2) – 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

I have previously posted about St Mary with the emphasis on the splendid CUBE DIAL high on the apex of the E end. I mentioned 2 scratch dials but because they fall into the separate Medieval Dial category I am giving them some more attention here.

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 position. They were obviously relocated and incorporated during expansion / restoration and used as quoin stones for the buttress, though pointless as dials where they are now. The stones themselves are similar, but it seems unlikely that the 2 dials were adjacent before being moved.

Dial 1 is very simple: a style hole with 2 lines descending, the noon line and 1pm. A rod gnomon would very clearly mark the noon part of the day, perhaps indicating that Mass was not quite yet… or that it had been missed…

There is a similar 2-line dial at BROADMAYNE Dorset, where the 2 lines are at either side of the vertical (ie at 11 and 1), cut so that ‘noon’ is in effect the space between them. At COMPTON PAUNCEFOOT there is a large dial on the facade with 3 lines: noon and one each side.

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 during a tour of several churches in the area

CUBE DIAL

St Mary . Mudford . Somerset – Cube Dial

GSS Category: Scratch Dial

All photos: Keith Salvesen

TINTINHULL . SOMERSET . ST MARGARET OF ANTIOCH – Multiple Scratch Dials

GRADE I † C13 et seq, on early C12 site. Gradual development but (unusually) with little obvious C19 work BHO. Good C16 bench ends. S porch built c1440, originally thatched, with the polar scaphe sundial added later, see LINK. The multiple scratch dials of St Margaret are shown below. DEH recorded 4, but there are several more. 5m NW of Yeovil; just S of dread A303. 50.9746 / -2.7156 / ST498197

DIALS

I visited St Margaret some time ago and have mislaid my notes on the various locations. The dials are all on the S side and all but one are in predictable locations though a couple are not easy to see. Most are on buttresses. One dial (3) is quite high up and would be easy to overlook. There are enough dials for me to skip – and for you to be spared – analysis of each one individually (for the time being at least).

DIAL 1

On the buttress at E end of the church

DIAL 2

On the same buttress as dial 1

DIAL 3

High on a buttress, E end

DIAL 4

S buttress

DIAL 5

On the buttress E of the Priest’s door

DIAL 6

Close to Dial 5

DIAL 7

S buttress

DIAL 8

S buttress near doorway

DIAL 9

E of porch

DIAL 10 (?)

According to the very useful resource Sundials On The Internet, the smallest known scratch dial is at St Margaret’s, location unspecified. It measures a mere 2 inches in height. Possibly it is the hole below. There is a very similar one at Leintwardine Shrops that has been deemed a dial, though it’s just hole with a couple of minimal indentations around it. I saw no other candidate, and had I not known about the 2″ dial I would have passed this by without a second glance.

Polar Sundial. St Margaret . Tintinhull . Som

GSS Category: Scratch Dials; Mass Dial; Medieval Sundial; Multiple Scratch Dials

All photos: Keith Salvesen

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

RIMPTON . SOM . ST MARY – Vertical Dial

St Mary . Rimpton . Som.

ST MARY . RIMPTON . SOMERSET – VERTICAL DIAL

ST MARY † Grade 1. Early C13, alterations c.1500, N transept added C19. Between Sherborne & Marston Magna, on the Som. / Dorset boundary. Scratch dials, vertical dial, porch graffiti and protection (‘witch’) marks. 50.9948 / -2.5565 / ST610218

St Mary . Rimpton . Som. – Vertical Dial

Quite a while ago I wrote (in 2 parts) about the 4 main medieval scratch dials at the church. The links are below. I recently revisited St Mary for a further look at the dials (there are a couple of others to write up) as well as some interesting church marks including a small hexfoil within the porch. A revised single post featuring all of the above will emerge in due course.

DIAL

I also photographed the Vertical Dial for BSS records. It is located on the end merlon of the parapet, easily visible. It has a simple, almost square face. The plain metal gnomon is fixed into the top of the dial stone, and into the mortar line under the stone below it.

There are other unmarked (no lines, pocks, numerals) dials in the S Somerset / W Dorset region and I though this was one. However, later examining the main photograph in the gallery below, I detected 2 faint lines in U L quadrant that seem deliberately cut. There’s a ghost of a line on the opposite side. So possibly this was once a conventionally marked dial that has slowly and very evenly eroded.

It is hard to date. The dial stone differs from the ones around it. At a guess, it was added C19, perhaps when other work was carried out (eg adding the N transept). BHO notes that in 1827 the church was ‘repaired and beautified’. Perhaps adding the dial was part of that process.

RIMPTON 1 (scratch dials 1 & 2)

RIMPTON 2 (scratch dials 3 & 4)

GSS Category: Vertical 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

STOKE ST GREGORY . SOMERSET – Scratch Dials; Vertical Dial

ST GREGORY . STOKE ST GREGORY . SOMERSET

GRADE I † Early C14, octagonal tower (cf neighbouring N Curry and nearby) completed C15. C19 restorations. BLB notes A very fine church, similar in design to Church of St Michael, North Curry CP but not so extensively restored in the C19.  Admired by PEV. 12m E of Taunton. 51.04 / -2.9312 / ST348271

DIALS

Two dials are recorded for St Gregory, both of which merited additional comment by DEH. He recorded the first – remarkably decorative – on his visit in 1912. He revisited in 1916 and recorded the second dial, relocated to an obscure corner inside the church. In addition there is a (probable) 3rd dial, unrecorded.

DIAL 1

Dial 1 is on the E side of the S porch. It seems likely that there was originally a simpler dial that was embellished over the years. Although not all are now visible, it is reasonable to assume that there was a full complement of 24 lines.

DEH noted: this dial has been decorated. The noon line is lengthened outside the circle and ends in a small cross. This cross is plainly an addition. The noon line is also carried upwards above the circle and also ends in a cross. This cross may be original. The line throughout its length is true and clean cut, so that it may be part of the primitive dial.

DIAL 2

Dial 2 is a rare example of a scratch dial repositioned within a church during restoration / rebuilding (cf Thornford Dorset). DEH must, I think, have been told about it: under no normal circumstances would a dial researcher think of the location without a tip-off. Even knowing the right area, I didn’t spot it straight away.

DEH gives the precise location: This dial is within the church, on the w. splay of the easternmost window in the s. wall. It is on the top stone of the splay, the noonline is about 5 inches in length, and the stylehole, which appears to be an inch in diameter, is filled with plaster. DEH

The dial is a semicircle that looks as though it may originally been a full circle cut across 2 stones. The visible lines are mostly before noon. The noon line is possibly marked as the narrow gap between 2 almost vertical lines.

DEH noted: This dial is the only one that has been found inside a church. It was obviously placed in its present position at the time the late XV century window was inserted, and must have been brought from some other part of the building.

DIAL 3

Found on a buttress W of the porch. I have little doubt that this design is a dial, previously unrecorded. It is at least partly encircled, with 2 close candidates for style hole. There are several pocks that are somewhat random now but seem to have been deliberately made (and are not seen on adjacent stones). It seems convincing to me as a somewhat age-worn remnant.

VERTICAL DIAL

As plain a dial as you could wish to find, yet casting a strong shadow. BSS view is that it dates from the 1880s restoration and it doesn’t look as if the dial has been touched since then! It’s worth pointing out that (as the photos show) the lamp bracket works as effectively as the dial itself.

GSS Category: Scratch Dial; Mass Dial; Vertical Dial

All photos: Keith Salvesen

NORTH CURRY . SOMERSET . ST PETER & ST PAUL – SCRATCH DIAL?

St Peter and St Paul . North Curry . Somerset

ST PETER & ST PAUL . NORTH CURRY . SOMERSET

GRADE I † Norman origin, gradually growing from c1300 to a substantial building for a village. C19 further expansion and rebuilding. Mostly local sandstone, some blue lias (as found on the Jurassic Coast). Octagonal tower cf neighbouring Stoke St Gregory. 8m E of Taunton. 51.0255 /  -2.9717 / ST319255

DIAL?

DEH visited in 1912 and somewhat hesitantly included this church in his pioneering survey of Somerset dials: There is a doubtful dial on the w. side of the s. porch. It consists of a much worn stone, with a stylehole (?) which is filled up, and some marks that might be lines. The stone is so soft and worn that it is impossible to say with certainty whether it was once a dial.

There is nothing extant in that location to match the description given. The reference to soft, worn stone suggests the blue lias component of the porch front (built c1502). If so, the obvious candidate for a dial is shown in the photos: but how might such a confiruration have worked? BBS does not mention it. The conclusion must be… not a dial.

GSS Category: Scratch Dial

Photographs: Keith Salvesen