The British Sundial Society

Promoting the Art and Science of Gnomonics since 1989

I would not normally present a dial without a better photograph, but this one is interesting and seems ripe for research and restoration. Thanks to Mariette Voke for the original report in 1990, and to Ian Butson for more recent detailed recording.

The stone dial plate, with hollow moulded edges, is mounted on the south wall of the nave of this ‘redundant church’. It has two concentric square chapter rings, with upright but aligned Roman numerals. The outer ring has VI – XII – IV – VI, divided to half and quarter hours, while the inner ring is offset by just over four hours, with II – IV – XII – I. The latter scale seems to indicate the time at another location, possibly Bermuda or the more southerly West Indies, but the connection with this church is unknown. Across the centre are seven declination curves, with zodiac symbols between the two chapter rings, and a horizon line labelled accordingly above. Vertical lines cross the declination curves, probably azimuth lines, but these are not labelled. The iron gnomon carries a bar or peg nodus. There would appear to be an inscription, possibly ‘NOBIS …’ across the declination lines above the equinoctial line. There has once been an inscription across the top of the whole dial plate, but it is now indecipherable. The furniture is not totally eroded, and gentle cleaning, or even a photograph in grazing sunlight, might be fruitful.

East Midlands Conference Centre, Nottingham, NG7 2RJ

Residential attendees should please aim to arrive on Friday afternoon in time for tea at 4 to 5pm. Day attendees are very welcome to take tea even if not dining. After dinner we have no formal sessions, but hope all will join in an informal social get-together in the Orchard Hotel’s bar/lounge area.

Note that you may wish to arrive much earlier and to visit the BSS Library on Friday. You may park your car there even if rooms are not yet ready.

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This is an excellent modern dial, made by John McCrindle of Bakewell in 1990, and dedicated to the memory of Roy Bubb, a prominent local councillor.  It stands in the town centre and, apart from its shadow-shy finish, is everything that a good sundial should be.  It is readable and accurate; it shows the Equation of Time and the Greenwich time offset of 7.5 minutes, to allow clock time to be determined, as well as the latitude and longitude of Bakewell and a compass rose.  On the side of the thick gnomon is engraved the direction of Polaris, the Pole Star.   The Latin mottoes “Hora Transit, Reditura Nunquam” and “Spectate Omnium Hora, Omnia Pulchra”,  may be translated as “The hour passes, never to return” and “Look ever at all things of beauty” (or please correct me – I am no Latin scholar!).  The dial stands on a fine plinth, and is signed by the maker, in minute letters along the foot of the gnomon.


Members should now have received the March edition of the Bulletin, back to full size and containing the Solar Data Card for 2015. It also contains the booking form for the 2015 Conference, to be held in April. People wanting to attend should return this as soon as possible.


1. Editorial

2. A Medieval Sundial from Lindos on the Island of Rhodes — Karlheinz Schaldach

5. New Dial – The Neuadd Dial 2014 — Mark Lennox-Boyd

6. A Mystery Sundial by Girard et Barrère of Paris — Martin Jenkins

10. Sundials in Madeira — Maureen Harmer

13. Michael Maltin: Spitfire Pilot and a Gentleman – Obituary — Doug Bateman

14. Dial Dealings 2014 — Mike Cowham

17. New Book — Savoie

18. The Moving Sundial of Ardrossan — Christine Northeast

25. A Theatrical Dial — Jackie Jones

26. BSS Accounts for the Period 1 January to 8 August 2014

28. Conarachne et Pelecinum: About Some Graeco-Roman Sundial Types — Jérôme Bonnin

32. Puzzle Corner

33. In the Footsteps of Thomas Ross – Part 10: A Mixed Bag of Sundials in Edinburgh — Dennis Cowan

38. Some New Sundials in St Petersburg — Valery Dmitriev

41. Some Old Sundials in South Africa — Henk van der Ham and Malcolm Barnfield

45. Semper Novus, Semper Idem – Two Slotted-Gnomon ‘Conservatory’ or ‘Parlour’ Pottery Dials — Malcolm Bishop

51. Canvey Island Dial — Patrick Arnold

52. Dumfries House Armillary Sphere — Brad Dillon

On the south wall of the western tower of St Andrew’s church is a slate sundial in an architectural terracotta aedicule with flanking Ionic pilasters and a tented and scrolled pediment. Above the dial are carved a skull, scythe and hourglasses, and below there are the heads of cherubs.  A motto across the upper and lower boundaries of the chapter ring reads: ‘Watch and Pray Time Flies Away’.  The dial was designed, made and signed by the celebrated ecclesiastical sculptor Harry Hems of Exeter, and was the gift in 1889 of Mr Charles Turner of Sydenham, Somerset.
We have had no report since 1973, so I would encourage any member in the vicinity to visit and confirm the current state of the dial, and to let me have a report and photographs.  While there, look for the mediaeval fireplace in the north wall which is said to be almost unique, and also for some quaint epitaphs on the monuments.


My main activity over the past three months has been working with Christine Northeast and Bill Visick to produce a normal-length Bulletin for March.

There is nothing like doing something yourself to discover exactly what is involved. I have to repeat what I said in the December Newsletter, but with even more admiration and awe, and stress just what a Herculean burden John Davis has shouldered for so many years.

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