St Andrew . Yetminster . Dorset

DEDICATION † ST ANDREW . Parish church. Late C13, consecrated 1312, completed C15, restoration from C19. A ‘major church’ PEV. A good place to find out more is the RCHM entry ST ANDREW YETMINSTER. Carefully compiled church and Parish Archive. 10 Consecration Crosses from medieval to (relatively) modern. An important very early (1683) clock, now in restoration (see below).

LISTING † Grade 1

LOCATION † 5 miles SW of Sherborne, / SE of Yeovil. Noteworthy village easily accessed. Fine vernacular Ham stone buildings give the feel of an earlier era. Many listed buildings. Village also highly regarded by PEV. Station in village (not, as elsewhere locally, a wayside halt). Etiminstre in DB 50.8939 / -2.578 / ST594106

DIALS † Two dials on the buttress E. of S door, both C15


A semicircle dial with 13 lines (including the horizontal). BSS notes no circumferential circle. The noon line is extended, and 4 others end slightly beyond the circumference . GLP describes it as very neat and accurately marked. Both dials have been thoroughly examined – clips of the original records from the excellent church archive are below.


An unusual rather drooping design, explained below. Gnomon hole in the mortar line. The dial is split across 2 stones by a vertical mortar line. There are 11 lines, if one includes the mortar joint as the vertical / noon line. The lines RHS are badly eroded.

GLP noted that this dial is of particular interest as the angle of the lines suggest that it may be an early Scientific Dial. Comparing the lines with the correct angles for the latitude only one of the lines is more than 4º out. A further even more technical conclusion is that to function this dial would have needed a gnomon at an angle of 39º to the wall. This evidences an advance from earlier dials where the gnomon was simply inserted into its hole straight rather than angled.

CLOCK † The historic faceless pendulum clock (1683) is being restored at the moment. I am writing the day after the Queen’s death, and by coincidence the clock has a specific significance: The Clock carillon plays the National Anthem at 3-hourly intervals. This dates from 1897 when it was installed by local benefactors for Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee, and is very rare, and possibly unique. For the Platinum Jubilee of HM The Queen this year, the carillon was operated manually to ring out as part of our Jubilee Celebrations.

NOTES † 10 ‘formy’ Consecration Crosses in sunk round panels on external wall-faces BHO (locations specified); C10 Saxon cross shaft fragment; faceless clock of interest; good hunky punks. Links with Robert Boyle (chemistry, founder of the school) and  Benjamin Jesty (smallpox); quite a lot of external graffiti – initials, dates and some Marian (‘witch’) marks

St Andrew . Yetminster . Dorset – Graffiti and a Marian (ritual protection) mark. The 3 initialled and dated marks are likely to be cut by masons who did work on the church in the 1830s (cf Melbury Osmond)

GSS Category: Scratch Dial

All photos: Keith Salvesen