SCRATCH DIALS & MASS DIALS
The emphasis of this project is weighted in favour of medieval dials. I shall refer to them throughout as scratch dials, a term with a specific meaning that can usefully be applied more generally. Usage here will, probably incorrectly, include medieval mass dials and tide dials. They may differ in purpose, in form, in construction, and from crude to elegant. Most dials featured in this section will be ones scratched / cut / incised directly into the stone walls of a church at some time between C13 and C16 . Early dials were intended to mark the general passage of the day rather than a specific o’clock, at a time when the concept of time (as we know it) was fluid and might even differ between adjacent villages. As understanding of the concept of ‘time’ advanced – especially with the invention of clocks in C14 – so did the construction and accuracy of the dials. Eventually they were outcompeted by clocks and became obsolete.
Churches that have dials inside porches are marked †
WORMINGTON Glos. – St Katherine (also, St Catherine)
WRAXALL Dorset – St Mary (2 dials)
WRAXALL Dorset – St Mary (3 dials)
URCHFONT Wilts – St Michael Dials 1 – 4
URCHFONT Wilts – St Michael Dials 5 – 8