Scratch Dial . St Mary’s Church . Bradford Abbas . Dorset


This project is designed to showcase sundials. From modest beginnings, it has become far more ambitious and the areas, both thematically and geographically, have expanded considerably. The primary purpose of the project was to feature the medieval scratch / mass dials of Wessex (in its broadest sense), covering the period between C1200 – C1600. Various other dial categories were originally catered for, and these have gradually increased in number and content. They include post-medieval dials, modern dials, specific types of dials, sundials abroad, oddities, and so forth. All can be reached via the drop-down menus above.

As for design and layout, I’ve chosen a format for the entries that is straightforward and applicable to most of the dials featured. Initial caution arising from rudimentary amateur knowledge has to an extent been thrown to the winds as I have learned more over time. Opinions are expressed and theories put forward: these are mostly my own and can be safely disregarded unless they seem plausible. Other views – credited where possible – are generally authoritative and may confidently be relied on. Sources are generally credited where possible, in particular those who have thoughtfully uploaded material to specific textual or photographic open-source / CC sites. A few entries may seem incomplete: they are probably awaiting additional information or amendment.

I am very happy to have corrections or positive negativity, but this is in general terms a self-policed project.

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The page lists books, organisations, websites and similar resources used by me and / or of possible interest to others HERE. Illustrated details of significant books about dials can be found in the menu HERE


The page HERE contains drop-down sub-menus of dials by county or country, which will expand incrementally.


The images featured are almost all my own. Other images used will be with permission and duly credited. Some will be open source (OS) or Creative Commons (CC), and a credit not always possible. If you want to use an image from this site please ask for use permission (email below). A request will rarely be declined; however a sneaky “borrow” is easily detectable in a small field like this, and will be deplored. If in a moral quandary, just ask.


a. Consecration crosses, found on many churches both externally and internally, and with numbers ranging from a single cross to a dozen.

b. Medieval church marks incised externally on the building or within the porch. These include graffiti (initials, dates etc); ritual protection marks (also called apotropaic symbols) that were intended to ward off evil from the church; and masons’ marks.

c. On an ad hoc basis, I include a few other features of interest that I come across in the churches and churchyards I visit. These include hearses / biers, gargoyles / hunky punks, stocks, brick patterns, benchmarks, and a few medieval peculiarities that have little to with (sun)dials.


This is a solo project by an amateur using standard online resources for reference. Starting from a very simple site, it has gradually gathered momentum and become more complex and and sprawling than I planned originally. As I’ve learnt more, I have become less hesitant and self-effacing about adding commentary. I’ve noticed that the enterprise has become somewhat opinionated. Some of the views expressed may well be debatable, misconceived, or just plain wrong. Mistakes are inevitable as are misinterpretations. Apologies.

EMAIL sundials@gaudiumsubsole.org

Scratch Dial . St Mary Magdalene . Barwick . Som.
Keith Salvesen GSS