The British Sundial Society

Promoting the Art and Science of Gnomonics since 1989

Thanks to John Lester for the following description:

Some would describe this dial on the church porch as Jno Berry’s masterpiece. It is certainly a fine dial though the slate has become badly cracked since it was engraved in 1762. It follows the usual pattern with winged heads in the top corners and the date displayed around the arch. Below this is a traditionally lugubrious motto, “Tempus fugit mors venit” (Time flies, Death comes) and underneath that a sun face surrounds the gnomon root. A further motto appears below which reads “Nos ut umbra” (We are like a shadow). The hours shown are VI to VI with a decorative cipher at noon. The half hour divisions each have a fleur-de-lys decoration and quarters are also shown.  The dial not only has 12 declination lines which show the length of daylight in Arabic numerals and, less precisely, the signs of the zodiac, but also set of vertical lines indicating the direction from which the sun is shining. As if that were not sufficient, Berry has provided lines which tell us the time of noon, relative to our own local time, at eleven places around the world! Of the more obscure ones, Fort St. George and Surat are on the East and West sides of India while Port Royal was the original name of Kingston, Jamaica. Finally, the maker has added his own name at the bottom of the plate in modestly small letters. Even Pevsner mentions this dial though he offers no praise whereas Mrs Gatty devotes generous space to it and gives details of Berry’s life.

Maud Heath was a pedlar woman who in 1474 left sufficient money to endow the causeway which crosses the Avon just before it reaches Chippenham in Wiltshire.  The best preserved section is a raised footpath supported by 64 brick arches, allowing the river to flow underneath in times of flood.  Half way along the causeway, at Kellaways, stands a pillar erected in 1698, and bearing this cube sundial.  The original Latin mottoes were translated by the Rev W L Bowles and inscribed on the lower section c 1828.  The Rev Bowles had a reputation for absent-mindedness.  At a school prize-giving he presented a Bible to one child, having written in it “With the author’s compliments”.

Two other dials grace the causeway.  Towards the eastern end, at East Tytherton, a very vandal-proof quincentenary memorial dial was built in heavy stone in 1974 (SRN 3089), and at Langley Burrell, at the western end, you will find a well preserved small vertical of 1719 on the church of St Peter’s (SRN 3085).

Slightly later and slightly thinner than usual, the December Bulletin will be delivered to members in the next few days. The problems have arisen because of the poor health of the Editor, John Davis, which prevents him using a computer for extended periods. A scratch team of substitutes, led by Frank King, have completed this issue and have been overwhelmed both by the extent of the work John undertakes and how he makes it appear so effortless. Very best wishes to John: we are looking forward to him being able to pick up the reins again.

Contents

1. Editorial

2. An Exceptional Sundial – Denis Savoie and Anthony Turner

5. The Slate Dials of Brittany – Mike Cowham

8. Sundials on the Tropic of Capricorn – Anthony Capon

11. Readers’ Letters – Wood, Bateman

12. In the Footsteps of Thomas Ross. Part 9: The Mercat Crosses of Scotland and their Sundials – Dennis Cowan

19. The Future of Dialling – Tony Moss

20. From Old to New – A Restoration Project—The Nazeing Church Sundial – Ian Butson

24. The Littlecote Dial – J. Mike Shaw

26. The Sad Story of a Sundial – Piers Nicholson

27. Newbury One-Day Meeting, 27 September 2014 – Kevin Karney and Irene Brightmer

CHAIRMAN

The Bulletin‘s editorial explains why the December issue is thinner than usual and that the editorial role has evolved beyond a single volunteer. Having been personally involved in the production of the December Bulletin, and taken professional advice, I can see that the role is enormous and that there are many stages and skills. It is capable of being organised in a more collegiate form.

First and foremost are our contributing authors, without whom there would be no Bulletin. We have some articles in the pipeline but more are needed. Please could would-be contributors send their articles to editor@sundialsoc.org.uk

Read More

Horizontal Dial Title Page 3

Thanks to the continuing generosity of Tony Moss, the BSS is now able to offer detailed designs for 67 sundials, calibrated for the whole of England and, on this significant date, the major cities in Scotland. Instructions for selecting the correct dial and making it are included. Please visit this page for details.

The correct dial for your latitude can be found using the Latitude Finder page. This allows you to select your location from a Google map orsearch for an address, postcode or national grid reference. As well as allowing the PDF of the relevant dial to be downloaded it also returns your latitude and longitude, national grid reference etc.

Jackie gave a fascinating talk at the Greenwich Conference about her reflecting ceiling dial. Watch the video for an insight into her year-long project and and to see the beautiful result: