GENERAL NOTES: Please include all sundials except the mass produced dials often seen at garden centres. Watch out for those with fictitious dates of a century or so ago. Portable Sundials are not included in this survey since most are already in collections and well documented. Mass or ‘Scratch’ dials are also excluded: they are the subject of a separate listing by the Society.

The form has been designed to record the details of all kinds of fixed sundials, although some sections may not be completed. Also some data such as maker, date, or position may not be available to you. Do not be put off from sending in a report form simply because you do not have all the requested information. Enter all the known facts, bearing in mind that complete accuracy is of prime importance.

Please give all linear measurements in millimetres (or metres if large), and all angular measures in degrees (and minutes, where appropriate).

PHOTOGRAPHS: These are a very useful adjunct to the report, indeed they have become an essential part of it. If you are sending jpegs (only along with the Report form as an MS Word document, please), normally keep them under 0.5 MB in size. Exceptionally, if there is fine detail that should not be lost, larger files are acceptable. If you are sending photographic prints, it is suggested that they should be colour prints of 6” x 4” size, with the membership number, serial number, dial location and date clearly marked on the back. However members should not be deterred from sending in report forms without photographs. We can accept slides and A4 copies too.

FILLING IN THE FORM: If sending the form on paper, please type or print in black or blue ink, NOT red and NOT pencil.

SRN (Sundial Register Number): If your report is for a dial that has already been recorded, please enter the SRN at the top if you know it.

REPORT NO: Leave blank – a number is allocated by the Registrar.

DIAL TYPE: Enter the type from the list below, using “Other” if you cannot decide on the exact type. Indicate if vertical dials are declining, giving direction: and the number of faces and directions in the case of multiple dials. Where other plane dials are not vertical or horizontal, give any other relevant information where possible.


2. ANALEMMATIC. State if the dial uses the shadow of a human observer (the human gnomon type).

3. AZIMUTH. Usually a Saxon dial. Mass or scratch dials are

ed by a separate group of the Society.

4. EQUINOCTIAL or EQUATORIAL. This type includes armillary spheres.


6. HORIZONTAL – as in the normal garden dial

7. INCLINING Includes proclining and reclining dials, ie those tipped forward or back.

8. MULTIPLE (eg polyhedral). Do not class separate dials at the same location as a multiple dial.

9. NOON MARK, where no hours other than noon are indicated.

10. OTHER – when you really can’t decide!

11. POLAR, with the face or faces flat, and parallel to the gnomon(s). Cross dials are often of this type.

12. SCAPHE, with hour lines in a scooped-out hollow.

13. SPHERICAL. Usually a solid sphere using a shadow terminator, or sometimes a moveable gnomon. Armillary spheres come under type 4 above.

14. VERTICAL (S) – the common vertical dial



17. VERTICAL (W) Types 14 -17 refer to dials designed to face the cardinal points S, N, E, or W. Dials not facing a cardinal point are classified as type 18.

18. VERTICAL (D) Declining dials. The gnomon on such dials does not lie on the Noon line.

YEAR INSTALLED: This should be the date of the dial’s first manufacture. Enter any known restoration dates under Remarks.

POSITION DATA: Enter Longitude and Latitude (degrees, minutes and seconds) if known. If at all possible give the National Grid Reference (two letters and six or eight numbers). Instructions for extracting the NGR are shown on most OS maps. If necessary the Registrar will calculate and insert the Longitude and Latitude given the NGR. Nowadays web sites such as are useful for finding all these details, as are GPS devices and SatNav.

OWNER or KEEPER: Enter the name if available.

COUNTY: Give the current County name. The County structure of the UK has been changed more than once over the last few decades. In Wales and Scotland particularly, the old Regional structure has been replaced by a plethora of new administrative Counties and Unitary Authorities. In common with other heritage organisations, the Register uses the earlier Regional names, and I will change your entry to the appropriate old name where necessary.

FULL ADDRESS: Include the Post Code if known, and indicate the location of the sundial at this address.

ACCESS: Choose the ‘Code’ from the following, and add explanatory comments as appropriate.

O (Open) – the dial is in a location open to the public, such as a town centre or a churchyard.

R (Restricted) – usually only open at certain times or on certain dates or subject to charge.

P (Private) – permission is required before the dial can be inspected.

V (Visible) – the dial is on private property but can be seen from a public place eg the street or a public footpath.

M (Missing) – a dial previously recorded has been removed. Give details if known.

C (Confidential) – where the owner might be concerned to safeguard his privacy for security or other reasons. The Society undertakes to maintain confidentiality in such circumstances and will print only the town or other general locality in the Register.

CONDITION: Select the ‘Code’ from: l. Excellent 2. Good 3. Fair 4. Poor 5. Very Poor. Note specific faults and give suggestions as to what would be required to remedy these defects.

MATERIAL(S): Wood, metal (type), slate, stained glass, etc. Indicate if the gnomon is of a different material.

DIAL DIMENSIONS: Give the shape of the dial and the size in mm, for example “Circular, dia 310”, “Octagonal 400 a/f” (across flats). Add capital letter E, if estimated.

GNOMON DIMENSIONS: As for diameter but give the angle between the gnomon and the dial plate. If a nodus is present, give its distance from the dial plate, measured along the gnomon style.

DIAL FURNITURE: Give a description of any dial furniture (eg EOT scale, declination lines, compass rose), and any other relevant markings and inscriptions, particularly maker’s name, date, family crest, mottoes etc. R/A = hours marked in Roman or Arabic numerals: delete or strike through whichever is inapplicable. Similarly delete those minute subdivisions which are not shown on the dial.

For example, a typical horizontal dial might have Roman numerals with hour lines from 7am to 6 pm, showing the half and quarter hours, and 5-minute marks. There might also be a half-hour mark for 6:30 am. The dial would be entered thus:

Roman/Arabic Intervals 30 15 10 7½ 5 3¾ 3 2 1 minutes

Hours 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9

Hours 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21

Actual delineated time scale: 6:30 am to 7:00 pm

Indicate the orientation of the hour numerals, eg whether read from the inside or the outside on horizontal dials, and whether upright or aligned with the hour lines on verticals.

PEDESTAL/Wall and other support details: Give a description, including materials and approximate dimensions. For verticals, give an approximate elevation if possible, eg “E 6000 agl” (Estimated 6 metres above ground level)

MAKER/DESIGNER/DELINEATOR: Enter any available information.

REFERENCES: Quote any relevant known bibliographical information.

REMARKS: Use this space to enter any information not given elsewhere. eg dial declination and any known dates of restoration. Also enter any relevant or interesting history of the dial and its origins.

RECORDER: Your name (and signature for printed reports).

DATE: Please use the form yyyymmdd, eg 27th August 2013 = 20130827.

MEMBERSHIP NO & SEQUENCE NO: Enter your BSS membership number, followed by your personal report serial number.

PHOTO: Enter letters and quantity as appropriate eg: J x 3 for three Jpegs, P x 2 for two prints, T for a transparency, X for an A4 Photocopy, N for none.

Diagrams may be submitted with the form, on paper or as a jpeg.

Please leave the remainder of the form (and the back!) blank for use by the Registrar.

All completed forms should be returned to the Registrar or by email to

Please Note:

Copyright in all submitted material remains with the recorder/licence holder but, by sending it to the Society, it must be clearly understood and agreed by all affected parties that title to the material passes to BSS and by the act of such passing, the Recorder/Copyright holder grants to the Society a perpetual and irrevocable licence to use any part or all of the submitted material as it sees fit and without restriction in furtherance of the Society’s aims. It is the Recorder’s responsibility to ensure that he/she is entitled to issue such a licence.