OLD DIALS

The definition of an old dial for present purposes is a sundial that dates from ±1600 and is freestanding, in the sense that it is not carved directly into the stone fabric of a church or other building. Furthermore, a gnomon should preferably be – or have been, if missing – an integral part of it. An old dial should ideally be marked with a date to make life easier.

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St Mary . Maiden Newton . Dorset . 1630

St Mary . Maiden Newton . Dorset

On S. face of tower – square slab with simple capping, iron gnomon and date 1630 RCHM

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All Saints . Piddletrenthide . Dorset . 1602

All Saints. Piddletrenthide . Dorset

Dated 1602. More on the details of this dial and the inscription in a separate post – link later

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Holy Rood . Buckland Newton . Dorset . 1704

Holy Rood . Buckland Newton . Dorset

Dated 1704 by date-cut gnomon. Luckily caught in winter sunshine. Full post HERE

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St Michael . Stanton . Glos. C17 (?)

St Michael . Stanton . Glos.

Undated, more research needed. Provisionally C17.

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Stanton . Glos. Village Cross dial, orb and cross . C17

Stanton . Glos. Village Cross dial, orb and cross

Dated to C17 on older shaft and medieval Calvary steps. Gnomon & fixing more modern… Full post HERE

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Manor House . West Dorset . 1608

Dial set at an angle on a fine Manor House . West Dorset . Dated 1608

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St Peter . Stourton Caundle . Dorset . C18

St Peter . Stourton Caundle . Dorset

Sundial: On S. face of tower, second stage. Stone slab with Roman numerals and iron gnomon, probably 18th century BHO. Note Incised hour-lines, with a Cross at noon.

St Peter . Stourton Caundle . Dorset – detail, the noon Cross
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St Martin. Cheselbourne . Dorset . 1631

Sundial: above south porch arch, rectangular stone slab with Roman numerals, inscribed HC 1631 WM, with wrought iron gnomon.

Note the ‘W’, cut like the medieval apotropaic mark VV Virgo Virginum. The spectacular scratch dial on this church is sited below this sundial on the W. jamb of the porch LINK

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St Mary . Piddlehinton . Dorset . 1794

St Mary . Piddlehinton . Dorset . Vertical dial 1794 [also a Millennium dial and 2 good scratch dials on this church]

Roman numerals mark the hours 7 a.m. until 5 p.m. spread over 4 stones. It is slightly baffling how the small Ham stone fits into the overall scheme. Is it a later replacement, carefully incised to match the other numerals? Or perhaps matching the materials was not a priority in the overall design?

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St James the Great . Bratton . Wilts . 1801

On S. face of the tower, a large painted dial dated 1801 ‘TEMPUS FUGIT’. The long spindly gnomon casts an impressively long shadow.

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St Barnabas . Queen Camel . Som (undated)

I haven’t yet found a date or span for this dial. Apart from the blue paint and modern gnomon, possibly C18

St Barnabas . Queen Camel . Som (undated)
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St Andrew . Trent . Dorset

The dial at Trent is hard to photograph these days because trees in the churchyard cast shadows on at least part of it for most of the day. It’s a fine Roman numeral dial but the main interest, I think, is in the numerals and short radials below the main dial. I can’t find any details about the dial online. Clearly there must have been an earlier version, now covered in some way by the main dial. Do the lines extending upwards from the numerals suggest a late mass dial?

St Andrew . Trent . Dorset – Sundial
St Andrew . Trent . Dorset – Sundial Detail with evidence of an earlier, more rustic dial