GRADE II* † C13 core, much enlarged C15 inc addition of tower. Restoration late C19 (Bodley). An attractive mixed sandstone church typical of the region. 5m SW of Burton-on-Trent. 52.7959 / -1.6967 / SK205220
There are 2 dials on the S side of the church, both close to nave windows. Dial 1 is already recorded; I can find no reference to dial 2.
A simple circle dial with a style hole that has been enlarged at some time (quite recently by the look of it). There is a noon line, with lines for 11, 1, and 2 either side. The dial has a pleasing greenish coloration.
Dial 2 has 3 distinct lines radiating directly from the style hole. 2 terminate in dots. There’s no doubt that this is a scratch dial. There are other dots, apparently deliberately made, that may roughly mark a circumference but it’s hard to tell.
Because of the configuration of the dots I wondered – if the stone was relocated at some time – how the dial would look if rotated 90º. There’d be an emphatic noon pock below smaller pocks that might form a rough boundary. The 3 lines might then be markers for afternoon service(s). Maybe.
GSS Category: Scratch Dial
All photos: Erika Clarkson, with thanks again for her researches in Staffs
GRADE II † The remains of the original parish church, dating from C12, now known as the Old Chancel. The chancel, C14 tower and a linking arcade (Norman, EE) are all that’s left. Superseded by the new church, the Old Chancel retains its dignity and interest, and is obviously well looked after. It continues in use as a Sunday School. 52.7648 / -1.9353 / SK044185
It would not be surprising for there to have been a dial cut somewhere on the original church. TWC in the dial list for Staffs in his 1935 booklet doesn’t mention one here, although he mentions others in the area (Alrewas and Longdon, for example). On a recent visit Erika Clarkson found two candidates. Neither is immediately convincing; perhaps plausible at the highest.
?Dial 1 (if it is one) has its gnomon hole rather low on the stone, when it might have been centred or in the mortar line above. There are a couple of definite faint lines in the lower L quadrant that certainly seem to emanate from the hole. And a vague stubby noon line too? It’s hard to fit what could be a part circle of pocks with the offset position of the hole.
?Dial 2 is similarly vague for interpretation. The line LHS is plainly a fault in the stone, but there are 3 very faint lines descending from what could be a very shallow style hole. The middle appears to be slightly longer signifying the noon line. Again, I think it can’t be categorised higher than plausible at best. However I have seen accredited dials that look even less likely to the amateur (me).
In checking some sources, I came across this rather attractive old postcard of the Old Chancel, a minor compensation for not being more positive about its putative dials.
GSS Category: Scratch Dial
All photos: Erika Clarkson with thanks for staffing Staffs as it were. PC unattributable.
GRADE II* † C13 2-stage tower, chancel, chapel incorporated into C19 church (G.E.Street). An attractive juxtaposition of squat tower and much later elongated expansion. A couple of miles from Rugeley. 52.7813 / -1.9309 / SK047204
A small and crude dial, perhaps (given the C13 origins) an early one. After centuries of erosion of the sandstone, it remains deeply cut. 4(?) lines descending from the style hole. It’s hard to tell the significance of the upward line that cuts deeply through the hole and downwards. This is not an extended noon line, yet obviously it has a purpose – maybe to add emphasis to the main service of the day (the Mass time Nones?). It’s unclear whether the dent in the stone RHS is anything to do with the dial – it doesn’t directly relate to the style hole. Probably unconnected damage.
GSS Category: Scratch Dial
Photo Credits: Dial by Erika Clarkson; header image from the St Mary Colton FB page HERE
GRADE II* † C13 with C12 origins – Norman S doorway; early C16 tower & chapel; C19 additions, restoration. 5m NE of Litchfield. 52.7251 / -1.8798 / SK082141
St James has 4 dials, one of which is previously unrecorded. 2 are marked with roman numerals – perhaps unusually for a single church – and 1 dial has an interesting concentric circle design, possibly unique.
Dial 1 is located on the buttress at the E end of the chapel. There is only 1 line – the noon line – which terminates with a pock. There are 8 other pocks around the dial, and the numerals are unconnected to the style hole. These are attractively and crudely cut, as if by someone in a hurry, and are more or less accurately placed.
Dial 2 is high up on a S side parapet stone. It has roman numerals within a faint eroded semicircle at the end of 9 lines radiating from a filled style hole in the mortar line. IIII stands for IV. Unusually, the midday XII / the end of the noon line has been emphasised by dropping the numeral XII below the semicircle.
Dial 3 is on the central buttress of the S chapel, with the hours marked within a double circle (the top half very eroded). BSS suggests that this design may be unique. In addition to the hour marks, there are 4 clear radials: the horizontals, and 2 lines that correspond with Sext and Nones. The original style hole is in the centre of the circle, but the larger circle above it – joined by the filler – may have been a second one for reasons unguessable. BSS notes that nearby KINGS BROMLEY is similar.
Dial 4 is on the S wall. This is a recent find by Erika Clarkson, who lives in the area (see ALREWAS). She saw through the moss and lichen. A simple dial with ± 6 lines and an interestingly downward angled style hole. Note the radials in the R quadrant with a distinct curve. I can’t find a reference to this dial anywhere, so this one can be added to the record for the church.