DOWNTON . WILTS . ST LAURENCE – 2 Scratch Dials

St Laurence . Downton . Wilts

ST LAURENCE . DOWNTON . WILTS

GRADE I † C11 nave; C13 transepts; C14 chancel. From C17, alterations and restorations inc by Wyatt in 1860. Large and interesting cruciform church PEV. Marble Feversham family monuments by Scheemakers. Significant local legacy from NeolithicIron AgeRoman (Villa) and Saxon times. 9m S of Salisbury. 50.9937 / -1.7433 / SU181216

DIALS

St Laurence has 2 dials on the 2nd buttress E of the porch, one above the other. The upper one is a fine example of a large dial filling the dial stone. The lower is so badly damaged / eroded that it would be easy miss; and it is quite hard to imagine what it looked like originally.

DIAL 1

Dial 1 is encircled, with 13 lines and 24 pocks around the perimeter and forming 2 crosses . This large dial not only takes up the width of the stone, the circumference continues onto the stone below as do some lines (esp. 11am). The noon line ends in a 4-dot cross on the main stone, and the 9am line has a 5-dot cross on the lower stone.

The gnomon hole is of particular interest; I haven’t come across a square hole with (apparently) a circular one inside it before. Possibly the original gnomon was a basic rod, and its round hole later enlarged to accommodate a more visible square rod.

DIAL 2

Dials Locations

GSS Category: Scratch Dial; Mass Dial; Medieval Sundial; Church Dated Initials

All photos: Keith Salvesen

AVEBURY . WILTS . ST JAMES – Vertical Dial

ST JAMES . AVEBURY . WILTS

GRADE I † Pre-conquest origins. Significant Saxon features. Splendid Norman doorway. C12 font. Development C12 et seq, with C19 restoration. Archaeologically uncommonly interesting PEV; inc. by Simon Jenkins. BLB Listing. 51.4286 / -1.8579 / SU099699

The vertical dial is below the parapet, L of the porch. From a distance, the only distinct marking on the face is a faint square frame for the dial. Closer examination reveals at least the ‘X’ of noon. The footing of the gnomon is in a badly damaged area. Most notably, the dial is at a canted angle so that it faces south. Hard to date – there’s no clue in the usual resources. C18 perhaps, esp. as roman numerals were used?

GSS Category: Old Dial; Vertical Dial

Photos: Keith Salvesen

BROAD HINTON . WILTS . ST PETER AD VINCULA – Scratch Dial & Porch Sundial

St Peter ad Vincula . Broad Hinton . Wilts

ST PETER AD VINCULA . BROAD HINTON . WILTS

GRADE 1 † C13 origins (possibly back to Saxon); developed C15, C17; late Victorian restoration. Use of local sarsen stone. Hammerbeam roof. Merits a long entry in PEV, especially for the monuments. 5m N of Avebury, 7m NW of Marlborough 51.4858 /  -1.8497 / SU105763

DIALS

St Peter has 2 dials in very different styles, and a couple of ‘not-a-dial’s. There is also a modern-ish sundial on the porch, probably from the late C19 restoration, with a rather gloomy motto that fits in with Victorian mores.

DIAL 1

St Peter ad Vincula . Broad Hinton . Wilts – scratch dial 1

Dial 1 is a fairly large and pleasingly simple dial on L side of a window jamb. 4 lines drop down from the style hole into the lower L quadrant, bounded by a sector of a circle. It looks rather uncomfortable. The puzzle is whether this was the original location (in which case it seems too large for the available space); or whether it is a relocation.

DIAL 2

St Peter ad Vincula . Broad Hinton . Wilts – Scratch Dial 2

Dial 2 is an encircled dial, the lower half eroded. There is a shallow style hole and various pocks, not all necessarily relevant to dial functions. The significant ones are on the L side, with 3 pocks in a row between the style hole and the perimeter. Below them are less organised pocks. The dial would make more sense if rotated 90º, with the horizontal line becoming the noon line and the less defined line perhaps marking a Mass time (None?). This suggests that the stone was relocated, and certainly the size and colour of the stones around it vary significantly (image 1 below).

Promising but on closer inspection unlikely dials

OUR DAYS ON THE EARTH ARE AS A SHADOW

The C17 porch was restored C19 and then (or later?) this dial was added over the door, with its discouraging message (no hint of the ‘sunny hours’ etc found elsewhere). The dial is slightly angled to face due S for greater accuracy.

NOTES: Various types of external graffiti – scratchings, initials, Marian marks etc; on the WILTSHIRE HISTORIC CHURCHES TRAIL

GSS Category: Scratch Dial; New Dial; Medieval Graffiti; Marian marks

All photos: Keith Salvesen

PRESHUTE . WILTS . ST GEORGE – Scratch Dial (unrecorded)

St George . Preshute . Wilts

ST GEORGE . PRESHUTE . WILTS

St George is a wonderful church with Saxon origins, C12 foundation, C15 tower; and much T H Wyatt work / restoration mid C19. Treasures include the C12 font, a `truly amazing piece’ (Pevsner) of black Tournai marble. High up on the third stage of the C15 tower is a magnificent C18 sundial: details HERE and an image below.

SCRATCH DIAL

While visiting St George, I decided to have a brief look at the exterior for church marks in general: graffiti, dates, masons’ marks etc. I was not expecting much, in particular because of the extensive C19 work. However on the W end buttress of the C15 tower, facing SW, there was a large incised design worth inspection.

St George . Preshute . Wilts – scratch dial on the W buttress of the tower

The design is a partial / eroded circle with a central shallow style hole. A noon line extends downwards to the edge of the circle, passing through a pock on the way and ending with a shallow pock. Other pocks mark the approximate edge of the circle on both sides of the noon line. In the lower L quadrant, the pock between the style hole and the pock at the edge of the circle may have been to emphasise the 9-line as indicating the time of a morning Mass, in this case Terce.

St George . Preshute . Wilts – scratch dial on the W buttress of the tower

The British Sundial Society BSS has considered the evidence and added the Preshute dial to its Mass Dial records. In many ways a lucky find, since I was not looking for nor expecting a dial at all.

ST GEORGE PRESHUTE: C18 SUNDIAL

FULL POST HERE

St George . Preshute . Wilts – the sundial on the tower

GSS Category: Scratch Dial; Old Dial

All photos: Keith Salvesen

PRESHUTE . WILTS . ST GEORGE – C18 sundial

St George . Preshute . Wilts

SUNDIAL . ST GEORGE . PRESHUTE

High up on the third stage of the C15 tower is a magnificent C18 sundial. A border of Roman serif numerals from 6am to 4pm frame a complex design of carefully graduated radials that mark the hours and the half hours. The large but slender gnomon casts a long shadow.

St George . Preshute . Wilts – the sundial on the tower

The imbalance in the hour marks – 6 to the left of the noon line, 4 to the right – presumably arises from the orientation of the church and its relation to the angle of the sun (though that’s probably not the correct technical way to express it).

NOTE there is a plausible medieval scratch dial on one buttress (not as yet recorded). It’s status is under consideration by others… If it is deemed a dial I will write it up separately.

GSS Category: Old Dial

All photos: Keith Salvesen