GRADE II*. Early C12 origins, C13 aisles, C14 chancel, C15 alterations, 1875 and 1882 restorations BLB. One of several attractive villages on or close to the River Test. Houghton is midway between Stockbridge (N) and Romsey (S). Exploring locally – especially Mottisfont – is well worthwhile (nice pubs as well). 51.0922 / -1.5139 / SU341326
The dial is located on a quoin stone on the nave E. of the porch and ‘crudely cut’BSS. There are 17 lines in all, some very eroded; and 3 pocks that are probably unrelated. The gnomon is of particular interest. For obvious reasons, discoveries of plausible remains of a gnomon are very scarce. BSS records (1994) that the stub of one was noted, the hole being otherwise filled. I did not notice the hint of a stub, and the photos suggest an intact mortar filling with a neatly rounded pock in the centre.
The dial is located low down on the SE. corner of the chancel. 4 lines, with the hole in the horizontal mortar line and filled. BSS records (1996) the dial as originally complete but with the right half replaced by another stone. The fact of a new quoin stone seems certain. The intriguing questions are what the dial might have looked like when complete; and whether the other half was used elsewhere on the exterior during any of the later additions and restorations.
I checked dial 1 on a fleeting evening visit, and didn’t look for another. The BSS image below suggests that the upper L quadrant, the horizontal mortar line where the lines converge, and the hole at the intersection might be worth investigating when I am next passing.
GSS Category – Scratch Dial
All photos Keith Salvesen except Dial 2, BSS records
GRADE II* . C12, later expansion until decay by C19 rendered it ‘unfit for public worship‘. Radical action was taken and the church demolished leaving only the chancel. The ‘new church’ was built in contemporary style on the High Street. Much of the old church was transferred to the new one (including a dial stone, to be featured another time). The old church is still in use and much of interest remains including Elizabethan wall paintings, early bells, and a C13 (or C12?) font. Also a medieval oak door carbon-dated to 1354. 51.1131 / -1.4876 / SU359349
The church information leaflet notes ‘…a Mass Clock ca. 1214 on the door jamb of the west door’. However such a precise date is arrived at, this is a striking example of an early dial and a most unusual one in being set in an approximate rectangle rather than (if anything) a semi or complete circle. In Hants I know of one other, at Laverstoke.
The dial is set facing south among a selection of witch marks and graffiti scratched around the doorway. I counted 8 (possibly 9) lines rather haphazardly drawn and positioned ’round the clock’, with several pocks on the dial and its perimeter (also a dot pattern below). The noon line seems faintly to be extended. The style hole is filled. I wonder if it is unusual for such a very early dial to mark a full 24-hour cycle?
BSS gives the condition as fair and specifies 8 lines. Pocks are not noted. Comment: Repositioned?Irregular outline. Crudely cut or made. Cannot be classified. Unique shape.
Green ARG includes Stockbridge new church in his indispensable book of 1926 ‘Sundials – Incised Dials or Mass Clocks’. He visited in May 1922 and there is a detailed entry covering the dial stone removed from the old church and repositioned, inverted, high up at the W. end of the N. aisle. I will post about this dial in due course. However ARG makes no specific mention of visiting the old church, and there is no entry for it except in his concluding list of Hants dials.
NOTE: for a short summary of the Stockbridge churches & dials, see the entry on BRITAIN EXPRESS
GSS Category: Scratch Dial; Witch Mark; Church Graffiti