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Sundial blog post updates

The silver and gold Saxon sundial discovered at Canterbury Cathedral in 1938 is a unique but enigmatic device. Although widely featured in a superficial manner in many publications it has not been properly studied before: neither its materials and manufacture nor for its likely provenance have been discussed. John Davis’ new monograph describes an X-ray fluorescence (XRF) examination of its several component parts, leading to the hypothesis that it is closely linked to King Edgar’s reform of the English monetary system in A.D. 973.

BSS Monograph #14, The Portable Saxon Sundial at Canterbury Cathedral, can be found on our Publications page, together with other monographs and BSS publications.

The BSS Bulletin archive, previously published on CD, is now freely available on the website. At present issues from July 1989 (the first Bulletin) to December 2010 are provided as searchable PDFs. Members may be interested to see the original front covers from the first three editions since these went out of print quite quickly and were subsequently republished with the current cover design.

The archive page has two tabs: each issue is accessible via its thumbnail on the Volumes tab and the Articles tab has sortable columns for author, title and volume as well as a free text search for titles.

These 76 issues with nearly 1500 articles and more than 3500 pages of text represent an unparalleled body of knowledge about sundials which the BSS is pleased to make widely available.

A number of people have requested to see the chat discussion from the recent virtual conference: it is now available as a PDF or text file.

The full responses to the SurveyMonkey survey are also available, apart from Q10 which contains contact details for the people who entered the draw for a free annual subscription to the BSS. Thanks to all those who left feedback and who entered the draw: the winner, drawn at random, was Martins Gills. We will be in touch with him to confirm the details.

We successfully held our first Virtual Conference via Zoom on the 17th April and were joined by about 150 participants from around the globe. Feedback about the event has been extremely positive and all the speakers – Roger Bailey, Woody Sullivan and Fred Sawyer, with the event introduced by Frank King – were very highly rated for their fascinating talks.

The full video of the session, lasting a little over 90 minutes, is available here:

Although the vast majority of participants were able to enjoy the session, unfortunately a small number of people did not receive the joining instructions. We hope that the video above makes up for that and we have taken those issues, as well as the large number of comments and suggestions, fully on board. We will provide information about how we plan to proceed in due course but there is clearly an appetite for more events like this!

Tim Chalk submitted details of four dials to the 2020 BSS Sundial Design And Restoration Awards
well before the end of the competition but due to an oversight they were not added to the list of entries or the web site at the time. Apologies to Tim for the omission and we encourage visitors to look at them. They have also been added to the full list of entries below.

The four dials are:


Read on for more details of each of these dials.

Read More

Update Mar 7, 2021. We regret that, due to an oversight, four submissions from Tim Chalk were not published previously or included in the following summary. This has now been remedied and we apologise for the delay.


This, the sixth scheme, has had a record number of entries, boosted in part by time available due to the COVID-19 lockdown. Visitors to the website are encouraged to submit comments on any or all of the sundials, using the reply box at the bottom of each page, on aspects such as design, craftsmanship and overall function of the dial. These comments will help the Trustees to choose the entries for particular Awards.

In summary, we have a large ‘monumental’ dial in Malaysia; a restoration of very old polyhedral dial; a ‘first venture’ to commemorate a ruby wedding; the restoration of a stained glass window dial; a number of dials (conventional and unconventional) by experts in Cambridge; an obelisk for a garden in Cornwall; a novel altitude dial linked to human activities rather than just the hours, and a number of precision dials of different types cut in slate.

1. David Brown – The Re-birth of a Large Polyhedral Sundial
2. The Cardozo Kindersley Workshop, Cambridge – An Islamic-Inspired Horizontal Sundial in Jeddah
3. The Cardozo Kindersley Workshop, Cambridge – A Portable Stereographic Sundial on the End-Flap of a Book
4. The Cardozo Kindersley Workshop, Cambridge – A Horizontal Garden Sundial in Rutland
5. Tim Chalk – Dollar Academy Sundial
6. Tim Chalk – Gleneagles House Sundial
7. Tim Chalk – “A Year In The Life Of The Manx Shearwater” Sculptural Sundial
8. Tim Chalk – Crieff Hydro Sundial
9. The Didsbury Parsonage Trust – The Replacement Stained Glass Sundial in Didsbury, Manchester
10. David Hawker – A Ruby Wedding Vertical Sundial in Sutton, Surrey
11. Inscriptorum of Sundborn, Sweden – A Vertical Wall Sundial in South Cambridgeshire
12. Martin Jenkins – The Battle of Britain 80th Anniversary Sundial
13. Martin Jenkins – Janet’s Dial
14. Martin Jenkins –The Rotating Polar Mean Time Dial
15. Martin Jenkins – The Socrates Plato Dial
16. Dial withdrawn.
17. Syed Kamarulzaman – Ta Ha Sundial, Sepang, Malaysia
18. Frank King – A Portable Stereographic Face Mask Sundial
19. Tool/Toy Project – The Circadian Yardstick
20. The Voss Obelisk – A Pair of Declining Reclining Slate Dials in Cornwall