St Mary . Charminster . Dorset

DEDICATION † ST MARY Saxon origins, C11 core, C14 – 15 enlarged, tower added 1500

LISTING † Grade 1

LOCATION † A most interesting village a couple of miles N of Dorchester. The fine church stands close to the River Cerne as it rushes to join the nearby River Frome. The mark of the Trenchards is strongly evident here. Worth spending time in both church and village – I recommend reading the Pevsner entry or BLB / HE / BHO online before you do so. 50.733 / -2.4559 / SY679926

St Mary . Charminster . Dorset . Scratch Dial 1

DIALS † Two dials. Dial 1 is on the parapet of S. porch rhs. Dial 2 is on E .quoin of S. aisle, relocated and (not unusually) inverted. BLB mentions ‘sundials’ in passing. BHO describes it as ‘much worn’, but some features are very clearly visible. I’ve added a reverted image for comparison, which improves the readability.

St Mary . Charminster . Dorset . Scratch Dial 2 (as relocated and inverted)
St Mary . Charminster . Dorset . Scratch Dial 2 (reverted for comparison)

NOTES † Besides theses two dials, St Mary’s (fittingly) has a Marian mark VV (Virgo Virginum / Virgin of Virgins) in the porch, with other graffiti. This is one form of medieval RITUAL PROTECTION MARK [link in due course] to ward off evil. The terminal dots are often found (as also with small crosses with the same function). There is also an Undial (lower right) that I momentarily thought might be a (very) crude actual dial cut in the softer Ham stone, with a style hole and 2 coarsely curved radials.

GSS Category: Scratch Dial, Marian Mark