GRADE I † C13 et seq, on early C12 site. Gradual development but (unusually) with little obvious C19 workBHO. Good C16 bench ends. S porch built c1440, originally thatched, with the polar scaphe sundial added later, see LINK. The multiple scratch dials of St Margaret are shown below. DEH recorded 4, but there are several more. 5m NW of Yeovil; just S of dread A303. 50.9746 / -2.7156 / ST498197
I visited St Margaret some time ago and have mislaid my notes on the various locations. The dials are all on the S side and all but one are in predictable locations though a couple are not easy to see. Most are on buttresses. One dial (3) is quite high up and would be easy to overlook. There are enough dials for me to skip – and for you to be spared – analysis of each one individually (for the time being at least).
On the buttress at E end of the church
On the same buttress as dial 1
High on a buttress, E end
On the buttress E of the Priest’s door
Close to Dial 5
S buttress near doorway
E of porch
DIAL 10 (?)
According to the very useful resource Sundials On The Internet, the smallest known scratch dial is at St Margaret’s, location unspecified. It measures a mere 2 inches in height. Possibly it is the hole below. There is a very similar one at Leintwardine Shrops that has been deemed a dial, though it’s just hole with a couple of minimal indentations around it. I saw no other candidate, and had I not known about the 2″ dial I would have passed this by without a second glance.
GRADE II † Established C12, first recorded 1207; mostly C15; restoration 1863. C13 (?) font. Originally the chapelry to nearby Seavington St Mary. Very pretty, both the building and the dial. 5m NW of Crewkerne. 50.9113 / -2.8505 / ST403127
DEH visited in August 1915 and added a note to his often largely measurement-based record.
There is a full complement of 24 lines, with areas of erosion, radiating from the gnomon hole in the centre of the dial stone. I am not clear which added lines DEH refers to. I infer that the dial may have been a hemisphere marking dawn to dusk only from the horizontal 6-to-6 lines. Then perhaps for reasons of aesthetics / symmetry an upper hemisphere was cut to match it.
There’s another conundrum concerning the 4 terminal pocks in UR quadrant (above). If the dial is in its original position (L), they would have been useless and indeed pointless. But if the dial stone was at some stage at 90º or (more likely and convincingly) 180º from its present position, they would be effective as daytime Mass markers. In the rotated image (R), the pocks are in the right place to emphasise forenoon Mass.
GSS Category: Scratch Dial; Mass Dial
All photos: Keith Salvesen, except header image Sarah Smith / Geo /
ST JOHN THE EVANGELIST & ALL SAINTS . KINGSTONE . SOMERSET
GRADE II* † Records from 1291; C14 chancel, porch; C15 tower, nave. A village with a long history, close to the Fosse Way, recorded in DB as Chingestone. 1m SE of Ilminster. 50.9188 / -2.8851 / ST378136
This is an unusual dial, not least because there is a pair of style holes L and R and they are both similarly large. The dial stone is quite badly damaged and it is difficult to analyse the dial. R seems to be the primary hole for the gnomon. The only discernible noon line is below R, marked by a single pock halfway to the mortar line below. On either side, at roughly 11 and 1, are the only 2 clear lines in the whole design. It’s hard to see the purpose of L at all, and perhaps it was a later addition that didn’t add much.
DEH visited in 1915 and included his own theory:
GSS Category: Scratch Dial
All photos: Keith Salvesen except header image as credited (a huge improvement on my own rain-affected photo).