URCHFONT . WILTS . ST MICHAEL – Scratch Dials 5 – 8

Urchfont . Wilts – St Michael & All Angels

URCHFONT . WILTS . ST MICHAEL & ALL ANGELS

GRADE 1. Late C13 / early C14 Decorated, C15 tower, restored 1864 & 1900. Set elegantly in a spacious and pleasant churchyard on the W. side of the Vale of Pewsey. Besides an excellent collection of dials, much else of interest – see BLB entry. 4m SE. of Devizes. 51.3148 / -1.9429 / SU040573

This is the second post about the 8 scratch dials of Urchfont. The first post for dials 1 – 4 can be found HERE. There is some duplication of general details so that this post can be read without cross-reference.

DIALS

DIALS 5 – 8

A fine ‘multi-dial’ church. There are 8 (possibly 9) dials in all. 6 of these dials are recorded in the BSS register. Dials 5 & 6 are close together on the edge of E. side of the transept. Dials 7 & 8 are low down on adjacent buttresses on the Chancel wall. They are somewhat concealed by chest tombs and easy to miss.

DIALS 5 & 6

Urchfont . Wilts – St Michael & All Angels – Scratch Dials 4 & 5

DIAL 5 has 10 distinct lines in additional to the horizontal in the mortar line, and a couple of ?line traces. The gnomon hole is within a larger filled area of (presumably) damage. An emphasised ?Mass line leads down to a crowed noon line area with a possible 1/2 hour radial. The dial seems truncated LHS and along the bottom edge, suggesting a relocation. However, RHS has 2 lines that sweep across into the adjacent stone, suggesting repair / restoration beside and below it.

DIAL 6 is a simple complete circle with a small style hole in the centre. Given that medieval dials marked the passage of the day and not ‘clock time’, this very basic type of dial may have been almost as helpful as later, more elaborate ones.

DIAL 7

Urchfont . Wilts – St Michael & All Angels – Scratch Dial 7

Dial 7 is located low on the middle S. facing Chancel buttress. A semicircle with a complete complement of lines around from the horizontal. Almost all end in pocks (2 in L. quadrant may be lost in the join with the adjacent stone). RHS is partly eroded from the faint noon line upwards. The symbol to the left may be a ritual protection / witch mark – too large for a mason’s mark.

DIAL 8

Urchfont . Wilts – St Michael & All Angels – Scratch Dials

Dial 8 is on the Chancel buttress E. of Dial 7, at the same low level. It is more rustic. Unusually, the dial, though quite small, was cut across 6 stones. Originally the circle was presumably complete, but damage top L and a relocated stone top R have removed the upper segment. The gnomon hole is notably off-centre. Perhaps odd that the dial wasn’t cut using the mortar line for the style hole and as the horizontal 6-to-6 line? Like Dial 7, a full complement of lines with pocks. There is a some graduation, but irregular.

Urchfont . Wilts – St Michael & All Angels – Scratch Dials 7 & 8 and a plausible dial…

DIAL-ISH MARKS

The first is a deliberate pattern of pocks by a doorway – an obvious dial location – with a possible style hole in the mortar. There are similar short curved dot patterns elsewhere, eg Maiden Newton (Dorset). A plausible dial. The second dial is higher on the same buttress as Dial 8, a small hole with 2 apparently intentional lines just before and at noon. Doubtful, but I have seen rather less convincing patterns credited with dial status…

GSS Category: Scratch Dials

All photos: Keith Salvesen

ALL CANNINGS . WILTS . ALL SAINTS – multiple scratch dials

All Saints . All Cannings . Wilts

ALL SAINTS . ALL CANNINGS . WILTS

GRADE II* † Early C13 with additions, enlargement and ‘remodelling’ thereafter; restoration 1869 by Henry Weaver. Cruciform plan of Norman origin. Purdue bells. S. of the Kennet & Avon canal between Devizes and Pewsey (close to Woodway Bridge which I ‘adopted’ many years ago). Wonderful views to the escarpments of the S. edge of the Marlborough Downs. 51.3531 / -1.9013 / SU069615

DIALS

All Saints is an attractive multi-dial church. Wilts is well-served by the Council, which publishes online Wiltshire Community History. It is a valuable resource, informative and thorough while keeping entries short. It helpfully notes: there are six scratch dials on the exterior south wall, once used to determine the correct time for services. Apart from featuring in the county lists by TWC, there is little other information to be found about them. The W C link: ALL CANNINGS In fact, there are more than 6 dials.

DIALS 1 & 2

Side by side on LHS. of the porch, a pair of dials of a broadly similar type. Dial 1 is the more sophisticated in design and ‘clock range’. I wondered if it was a replacement for the obviously less informative Dial 2.

All Saints . All Cannings . Wilts – Scratch Dials 1 & 2

Dial 1 has distinct lines, of which 4 are more deeply cut. Above these, on both sides, are a further 5 (possibly 6) faint lines. There are pocks at or near the end of some lines. The style hole is quite large and deep.

Dial 2 is simpler and more rustic, with 3 lines of different depths, each with a terminal pock. The noon line is slightly longer. There are a couple of other faint marks and pocks that suggest other lines now eroded.

DIALS 3 – 6

These 4 dials are R. of the transept window, L. of the buttress. The image below shows them all: a prominent dial with a semicircle of lines; above it, a similar, smaller dial with lines mainly in the lower L. quadrant; a rustic spider of a dial below them; and a strange dial with a long noon line and one even longer straggling line.

All Saints . All Cannings . Wilts – Scratch Dials 3 – 6

Dial 3 has 12 lines, perhaps more, ranging from distinct in lower L. quadrant and eroded / faint on RHS. All have terminal dots – the noon line has a cross. The style hole is surprisingly deep. A pleasing design.

All Saints . All Cannings . Wilts – Scratch Dial 3

Dial 4 is smaller, with the 9 lines mainly in lower L. quadrant. Some are straight, some have slight curves. The noon line is slightly extended. The short lines LHS terminate in the mortar line and do not extend onto the adjacent stone. After some thought, I discounted the smaller hole above either as related or as a residual dial in its own right.

All Saints . All Cannings . Wilts – Scratch Dial 4

Dial 5 sprawls at a slightly tipsy angle across a stone lower down. 6 distinct lines of differing depths and a couple of traces; partial pocks; and a large cross at the end of the noon line. Other marks, whether existing or added later, rather confuse the overall picture.

All Saints . All Cannings . Wilts – Scratch Dial 5

Dial 6 is the strangest of this group. It consists of a filled gnomon hole and a very long noon line cut with some precision, and deeper (separately?) on the stone below. The line also extends slightly upwards from the style hole. As such, it forms a very simple but workable dial, perhaps casting a long shadow easily visible from a distance. The other line is notably longer. It runs at roughly 45º to the junction of 3 stones before swerving downwards, fading, then finishing strongly. Were they cut at the same time? By the same person?

All Saints . All Cannings . Wilts – Scratch Dial 6

DIALS 7 – 9

Three dials additional to the six noted in Wiltshire Community History. Two are W. side of the transept; the third is at the W. end between the window and the end buttress.

All Saints . All Cannings . Wilts – Scratch Dials 7 & 8

Dial 7 has 5 lines (one a trace) descending from a patch of black lichen, with no visible style hole. The noon line is longer and a true vertical. The 2 outer ones are perhaps Mass indicators.

All Saints . All Cannings . Wilts – Scratch Dial 7

Dial 8 is immediately below Dial 7, and the simplest of all. A small filled style hole; an accurately cut noon line; and a single morning line in the same position as the emphasised line in Dial 7. This perhaps reinforces the theory that a Mass time thus marked was the important one at All Saints.

All Saints . All Cannings . Wilts – Scratch Dial 8

Dial 9 is quite different for all the others, and on its own at the W. end between window and buttress. A small simple circle precisely cut, a large style hole for its size, and a single line with a (possibly related) pock. The line is in almost the same position as the those noted above as possibly marking the most significant Mass for the church. Possibly a trace of a noon line (and extended?). I didn’t notice it at the time but the image hints at one.

All Saints . All Cannings . Wilts – Scratch Dial 9
All Saints . All Cannings . Wilts – Scratch Dial 9

CHURCH MARKS

All Saints is also rewarding for those interested more broadly in Church marks – graffiti, dates, initials, and witch marks (aka apotropaic symbols / ritual protection marks for warding off Evil).

All Saints . All Cannings . Wilts – graffiti

GSS Category: Scratch Dials (multiple)

All photo: Keith Salvesen

URCHFONT . WILTS . ST MICHAEL – Scratch Dials 1 – 4 (of 8)

Urchfont . Wilts – St Michael & All Angels

URCHFONT . WILTS . ST MICHAEL & ALL ANGELS

GRADE 1 † Late C13 / early C14 Decorated, C15 tower, restored 1864 & 1900. Set elegantly in a spacious and pleasant churchyard. Besides an excellent collection of dials, much else of interest – see BLB entry. 4m SE. of Devizes. 51.3148 / -1.9429 / SU040573

DIALS

This fine church in an attractive village on the W. edge of the Vale of Pewsey is well worth a visit, not least (in the context of this site) because it is a ‘multi-dial’ church. There are 8 (possibly 9) dials in all, mostly easy to spot and rewarding to examine in detail. 6 of these dials are recorded in the BSS register. I have split them into 2 groups. The first 4, featured here, are all on the S. transept.

DIALS 1 – 4

Dials 1 – 4 are all close to each other on the S. face of the transept. Dials 1 – 3 are cut into quoin stones on the W. edge of the transept, nearest the porch. Two are close to each other; the third is higher up (I was fortunate to spot it). All 3 dials are marked mainly in the lower L. quadrant. Dial 4 is a quite different type, within a circle. Located immediately W. of the large transept window.

DIALS 1 & 2

Urchfont . Wilts – St Michael & All Angels – Scratch Dials 1 & 2

DIAL 1 has 3 distinct lines and a trace at (roughly) 07. 11 is faintly extended. A partial (semi?) circle encloses the lines and the sector continues past the slightly offset noon line. There are 4 pocks that are part of the design, one a terminal dot. The shape of the style hole is (now) square, suggesting a later replacement (cf Glanvilles Wootton, which still has its square gnomon).

DIAL 2 has a large style hole drilled between the 2 stones that form the horizontal. There are 3 clear lines – the noon line extended – and possibly a couple of faint / eroded lines. Small pocks on the edge are dwarfed by a huge ‘mid-morning’ hole that was perhaps added later – or was a forthright call to Mass.

Urchfont: dials 1 – 3

DIAL 3

The third dial on the same quoin is much higher, and easy to miss. A large style hole with 3 clear-cut lines, the middle one extended and with a pock at the end. There’s a fainter line R. of the (slightly offset) noon line. Presumably, although the quoin as a whole seems uniform, the stone was relocated to its elevated position.

DIAL 4

This is a pretty dial enclosed by a complete outer circle. The dial markings are enclosed within a very faint inner circle. There are 5 clear lines and traces of 3 or 4 others. There is no clear noon line, and overall the positions of the radials seem rather unusual.

Urchfont . Wilts – St Michael & All Angels – Scratch Dials

Image 1 in the gallery below includes dials 1 -3 on their respective quoin stones, alongside dial 4.

GSS Category: Scratch Dials

All photos: Keith Salvesen

WILCOT . WILTS . HOLY CROSS – Scratch Dial

Wilcot . Wilts . Holy Cross

WILCOT . WILTS . HOLY CROSS

GRADE II* † Late C12, C15, 1718, 1825 and much restored after fire in 1876 by A.J. Style BLB. A fine church in a small village close to PEWSEY and the Kennet & Avon canal. There is a vertical dial (1840) with a lengthy gnomon; and graffiti including witch marks. I was pleased to see a small memorial to my best friend from school, killed on army manoeuvres by an avalanche. 51.346 / -1.8003 /  SU140607

Wilcot . Wilts . Holy Cross – Scratch Dial

DIAL

The dial is on the SE. face of the end buttress W. of the porch. The style hole is prominent; the radials are faint and shallow scratched (and / or eroded). 8 are fairly clear, seen close to. The sector containing them is at an unusual angle of (roughly) 7.00 am to 8.00 pm. The obligatory drainpipe is close by.

GSS Category: Scratch Dial

All photos: Keith Salvesen

STANTON ST BERNARD . WILTS . ALL SAINTS – SCRATCH DIAL

Stanton St Bernard . Wilts . All Saints

STANTON ST BERNARD . WILTS . ALL SAINTS

Grade II. Mid C13, with a Norman font suggesting earlier origins. Tower C15. By early C19, dilapidated and demolished (apart from the tower) and rebuilt. The work was inferior and re-rebuilding was soon required. Close to the Kennet & Avon canal between Devizes and Pewsey. 51.3598 / -1.8703 / SU09162

DIAL

Badly eroded and degraded, the dial is located on the SW face of the buttress S of the W door. Apart from the semicircle at the top it is hard to discern how the dial might have looked. At first sight, this is a dial cut across 2 stones (there’s a hint of a circle on the lower stone), with the style hole presumably lost in the damaged area (the mortar line looks too high for one). Listed by TWC; not in the BSS register

Alternatively, possibly the combination of dilapidation, demolition and double rebuilding in C19 included rearranging some of the stonework of the tower that otherwise survived the chaos. Conceivably the present visible ‘semicircle stone’ was parted from a companion stone cut with the rest of the dial that was repurposed elsewhere.

Stanton St Bernard . Wilts . All Saints – Scratch Dial and Graffiti

Apart from the dial, there are quite a few witch marks and graffiti / initials. I take the double triangle mark beside the dial to be an emphatic ritual protection mark rather than, for example, a mason’s mark.

GSS Category: Scratch Dial; Witch Marks; Graffiti

All photos – Keith salvesen

WINTERBOURNE BASSETT . WILTS . ST KATHERINE & ST PETER – 4 DIALS

Winterbourne Bassett . Wilts . St Katherine & St Peter

ST KATHERINE & ST PETER . WINTERBOURNE BASSETT . WILTS

GRADE 1. Records from C12. Mainly late C13 / C14, expanded C15, restored mid-C19. An architectural gem (Betjeman). Dedication has varied over time. 4m N. of Avebury. 51.4731 / -1.8554 / SU101749

DIALS

4 dials identified: 3 scratch dials and 1 ‘very early scientific dial’ (BBS)

DIAL 1

Priest’s Door R. Pock dial with 5 clear dots on pinkish stone (similar position and style to eg Maiden Newton Dorset).

Winterbourne Bassett . Wilts . St Katherine & St Peter – Scratch Dial 1

DIALS 2 & 3

Priest’s Door R, lower down. Dial 2 is a conventional dial with 4 lines in L. lower quadrant; noon line emphasised. Adjacent to less clear Dial 3 with filled style hole and 2 clear thin radials and (perhaps) a very faint noon line. There’s a possible additional dial on this stone, at best a style hole with eroded lines.

Winterbourne Bassett . Wilts . St Katherine & St Peter – Scratch Dials 2 & 3

DIALS 1, 2 & 3

Winterbourne Bassett . Wilts . St Katherine & St Peter – Scratch Dials 1 – 3
Winterbourne Bassett . Wilts . St Katherine & St Peter – Priest’s Door with 3 scratch dials

DIAL 4

High on quoin on S. side, a far more sophisticated gnomon dial. The BSS record from some years ago states: ‘Probably upright Roman numerals with cross for noon (not easy to see). Very early scientific dial. Gnomon may be a replacement’.

A photo taken last month removes the doubt. The incised lines – of variable width, some with a slight wedge shape, some quite deep (or less eroded) – have Roman numerals from VII round to VI. The IX to III horizontal line of numerals works well. The noon cross is very clear. I wonder if the stumpy little gnomon indicates that it is old (even if not original). Did gnomon design later develop to more elegant and longer markers?

Winterbourne Bassett . Wilts . St Katherine & St Peter – Scientific Dial with Roman Numerals
Winterbourne Bassett . Wilts . St Katherine & St Peter – Scientific Dial with Roman Numerals

GSS Category: Scratch Dial; Scientific Dial

All photos – Keith Salvesen

BRATTON . WILTS . ST JAMES THE GREAT . SCRATCH DIAL; Painted dial 1801

CHURCH OF ST JAMES THE GREAT . BRATTON . WILTS

CHURCH OF ST JAMES THE GREAT . BRATTON . WILTS

GRADE ll*. Mainly C14 / C15, broadly Perp. Earlier origins. C19 work by G. Scott & T. Wyatt. Solitary in a combe behind the village and a real challenge to discover (ignore ‘Church Lane’). Well worth the effort to visit, as is Bratton Camp iron-age hill fort with its early white horse to W. 51.2665 / -2.1244 / ST914519

DIAL

CHURCH OF ST JAMES THE GREAT . BRATTON . WILTS – SCRATCH DIAL

A simple small dial, encircled, with several slightly curving radials. 3 or 4 pocks that may relate to it. Located W. of the S. porch, level with the head stop L. of the arch.

OLD DIAL

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

GSS Categories: Scratch Dail; Old Dial

All photos – Keith Salvesen

MANNINGFORD BRUCE . WILTS . ST PETER – DOUBLE SCRATCH DIAL

ST PETER . MANNINGFORD BRUCE . WILTS

GRADE 1 . On a Roman site. Late C11 or early C12 origin. Development C13 and C15, restoration 1882. Romanesque features. Between Amesbury and Marlborough, close to UPAVON. 51.3212 / -1.801 / SU139580

DIALS

E. quoin stones of transept. Two adjacent and remarkably similar encircled dials with complete semicircles of radials. Both have additional pocks in LR quadrant. Both edge into the mortar at the top; and Dial 2 is cut short by the quoin edge RHS. Possibly this evidences relocation of one or both dials.

DIAL 1 (upper)

Complete semicircle of lines, 5 pocks. Equal 15º radials. BSS notes ‘eroded, damaged, irregular dial with 15º lines in both quadrants’.

DIAL 2 (lower)

Also complete semicircle of lines, 5 pocks, 15º radials. BSS notes as ‘worn’ and with shorter radials.

It is almost as if two people competed to make the most complete or accurate dial to the same design

St Peter . Manningford Bruce . Wilts – Scratch Dials

NOTES

Dial 3? Near the bottom of the image above there are 3 radials spreading downwards from the mortar line. The farthest left is vertical, and (if a dial) is the noon line. The lines were clearly deliberately cut, and it is quite possible that there is a filled style hole above them, though it is hard to tell from the image.

St Peter . Manningford Bruce . Wilts – possible 3rd scratch dial

Graffiti: Initials, dates on quoin stones

GSS Category – Scratch Dial

Dial photographs: Jenny John, to whom many thanks. I recently failed to visit St Peter, having driven through the village en route from Upavon to Marlborough. Next time, I clearly need to check it…

Photographs of the Church: Wilts Council / History Centre; ‘Vale of Pewsey Churches’

UPAVON . WILTS . ST MARY THE VIRGIN – FOUR SCRATCH DIALS

Upavon . Wilts . St Mary the Virgin

GRADE 1. C11 origins connected to St Wandrille (Normandy). Early C13 and early C15, with C19 restorations. Midway between Amesbury and Marlborough; close to Kennet &Avon canal. 51.2943 / -1.8071 / SU135550

Upavon . Wilts . St Mary the Virgin. Scratch Dial 1

DIALS

BSS records 4 dials, all on quoin stones of the tower. Two are obvious (1 & 2). The other 2, described as eroded, are much less clear. Quite possibly my ID of at least one of these is incorrect – at the time I only knew of the 2 main dials and didn’t have locations / descriptions of the 2 degraded ones to go on. My photos of 4 don’t quite match up with the BSS record. Comments welcome.

DIAL 1

An eroded encircled dial that appears to have been relocated. The lower radials end abruptly, suggesting that one or more originally extended beyond the edge of the stone.

DIAL 2

A simple dial with 2 clear-cut radials, possible traces of a couple more. Several pocks in the area, probably not all related to the dial. Style hole in the mortar line.

Upavon . Wilts . St Mary the Virgin . Scratch Dial 2

DIAL 3

A dial with a filled style hole and a puzzling orientation. A single clear angled line on eroded soft stone; a less defined rough horizontal line from the centre to the quoin edge. This was perhaps the noon line on the stone, later relocated and rotated 90• anticlockwise.

DIAL 4 (?)

More contentious: if this is a 4th dial, it is in very poor condition. There is the hint of a style hole, with an apparent noon-line and other trace lines. Not totally convincing, I agree.

UNDIAL

Two sideways arrows, faint (L) and distinct (R) with other trace lines. Possibly apotropaic marks, or perhaps doodles… or helpful directions to the porch.

GSS CATEGORY: Scratch Dials

All photos: Keith Salvesen

ALTON BARNES . WILTS . ST MARY – SCRATCH DIAL(S)

St Mary . Alton Barnes . Wilts

ST MARY . ALTON BARNES . WILTS

GRADE 1. Saxon church, C10-C11 origins with C14 reworking; later work, C19 alterations, subsequent restoration. ‘Awletone’ was first recorded in 825. A yew tree in the churchyard is said to be c1700 old. Historically, at various times united with and detached from All Saints Alton Priors, which is situated just a couple of fields away. Midway between Pewsey and Devizes, close to K&A canal and Marlborough Downs. 51.3572 / -1.8467 / SU107620

St Mary . Alton Barnes . Wilts – Scratch Dial 1

DIAL 1

This unassuming little dial is on the N. side of the church, facing the Alton Barnes white horse carved in chalk on Milk Hill nearby. It does not seem to be the dial mentioned elsewhere, for which see Dial 2. I have seen no record of it.

The mortar line acts as the horizontal, and a full circle incorporates both radials and pocks. I sense that this is quite an early dial, perhaps dating from the C14 work on the church. I assume it was originally on the S. side of the church; it must have been relocated to the N. side at some later time. It may look somewhat crude, but fairly robust cutting may have helped to preserve it over the centuries.

DIAL 2

Scratch sundial on south-east quoins’ HE

St Mary . Alton Barnes . Wilts – Scratch Sundial 2

This is the dial that seems to be referred to elsewhere. I speculate C18 or possibly C17. It is high up under the eaves, so much so that it was half in shadow at noon (see gallery below). Perhaps that indicates a relocation at some time, but to a less useful position as a sundial. With a gnomon at the top and in the shade, the dial’s effectiveness would be notably diminished. Perhaps, by then, it was mainly decorative.

St Mary . Alton Barnes . Wilts – Scratch Sundial 2

UNDIAL

Quite often a possible dial suggests itself, though is probably (or on closer inspection, definitely) not one. Here, I liked the look of the filled style hole and the pocks in a plausible formation. I inverted the image to see if it looked any more likely. Not really (I’m happy to be corrected by an expert).

GSS Category: Scratch Dial

All photos: Keith Salvesen