BRYMPTON d’EVERCY . SOMERSET . CUBE DIAL with BALL FINIAL
Brympton d’Evercy is a fine Somerset country house with a long history of intertwined families down the ages. For more on the house & grounds, see HERE. The chapel of St Andrew has scratch dials that are featured HERE. The estate is a mere 2m W of the clatter of Yeovil yet hidden away in its own parkland, and best reached by map reading, satnav or luck. 50.9361 / -2.6847 / ST519154
The long (75m) balustraded south terrace looks out over parkland with a small lake. The dial dates to mid-C19, probably added ± 1860 as part of the design for the terrace building project. If the dial is older, it must have been relocated. HE describes the ashlar retaining wall with chamfered plinth, capped with a stone balustrade with intermediate piers on which are set a variety of urns and other ornaments, and in the centre of the long western section a block sundial with ball finial, on which is inscribed LAT 50-56, 17.30, having sheet metal gnomons, 2 of which are broken. The 4 gnomons are shown together further down this page.
The motto on the S face of the dial reads PEREUNT ET IMPUTANTUR, which Gatty gives as ‘they perish and are reckoned’. Its original form as a Martial epigram directly references the sun’s involvement in this process.
GRADE II † Large Cube Dial on a tall column. BLB / HE give the most complete descriptions: Date uncertain, probably C17 or early C18; 1st recorded 1781. Ashlar. Tall quatrefoil pier on plinth, with ring and moulded capital supporting cube with dials and gnomons to each face, reeded domical (domed) cap. An unusual feature whose origin is unknown, removed in 1781 and re-erected to the west end of the cathedral in 1785, removed and sold in 1881, and returned and re-erected on its present site in 1929.
BHO notes: A sundial near the south doorway of the cathedral was removed in 1781 and re-erected in 1785 at the west end in order to regulate the clock on the tower. It was removed in 1881 and passed into private hands. It was returned to the cathedral in 1929 and placed on a pedestal in its present position south of the nave.
The clock in question was (without going into detail) probably the first Cathedral clock, which was in position by 1491. BHO suggests that the original clock was still in place in early C17 and probably not replaced or superseded by another clock until late C18. If so, the dial’s removal and re-erection in 1780s would have been to regulate the original clock.
The handsome domed dial has a single gnomon on each face. The gnomons and lines obviously differ on each side. Numerals are Arabic rather than Roman.
Assuming the Cathedral conforms to the usual church orientation, the Cube’s angle in its position on the S side of the building is some 45º out of true from what might be expected. Presumably the explanation is that the cube was originally cut for a different position, and after several relocations its present position and orientation provides optimum accuracy. Any other suggestions would be welcome.
CHARLES COTTON’S FISHING HOUSE . BERESFORD . STAFFS
GRADE II* The most famous and piscatorially significant fishing ‘hut’ in the world, in a clearing beside the River Dove, near Hartington. By a quirk of a bend in the river, the hut is in Staffs rather than Derbyshire. Single cell square plan in an Artisan Mannerist styleBLB SK127592
The inscription Piscatoribus Sacrum – a sacred place for anglers – gave rise to the hut’s reverential name among fishermen, The Temple. I can’t improve on this description from HE:
Charles Cotton’s fishing house is a unique building designed specifically for the sport of angling. It was an elaborate building in relation to its simple function, an expression of Cotton’s dedication to angling and to his entertainment of fellow anglers. Izaak Walton and Cotton’s The Compleat Angler was significant in the development and diversification of the sport from the 17th century. The fishing house is a fine preservation of Charles Cotton’s angling endeavours and its association with the popular work The Compleat Angler makes it of national significance.
Dated inscription, and intertwined initials of Charles Cotton & Izaak Walton on the keystone
CHARLES COTTON’S CUBE DIAL
A while back I spent a couple of days fishing on the Beresford beat of the Dove (to little effect). Just seeing the hut close to – let alone actually using it for its intended purpose – was an amazing experience. The weather was quite poor; the photos (taken on a basic pocket Canon) poorer still. I’ve had to do some work on the images, which I hope are now clear enough to be informative. 3 faces are featured; images of the 4th, away from the sun, were useless.
The dial is fixed to the apex of the hut’s roof. It is surmounted by a round finial, then a weather vane, and – a final flourish – a trout.