Here we archive some of the older entries from SunInfo: but here we show only those from 2018 onwards (Want pre 2018?)
This is where we place the more recent older stories from the SunInfo page after they have been removed from the main page because we do have to make room for more recent news. So, if you want to look for something you once saw on SunInfo which is not there now, here's the place to look - alongside SunInfo Entry Archive 1.htm. Entries here are removed when their topic is less immediate or relevant- so they will not necessarily be in date order. They are frequently dated with their original dates of insertion or those of their amendment on the SunInfo page and they are placed here in order of their removal from the SunInfo web page. NB: Please note that links in this archive that are made to entries on other external websites are not maintained by SunInfo so occasionally some really old links here may not work.
Athens' Tower of the Winds Opens The so-called Horologion of Andronikos Kyrrhestes in Athens is an octagonal Pentelic marble clocktower and early timepiece situated in the Roman Agora. It still features a combination of sundials, a water clock, and it probably held a weather vane too. Thought by some to have been built by Andronicus of Cyrrhus around 50 BC but possibly by another even as early as the 2nd century BC, the Athens Ephorate of Antiquities began cleaning and conserving the structure in 2014 and this has just been completed! The North American Sundial Society NASS has an excellent article about this fascinating building. Read it Here
The Dollar Academy Sundial Dollar is one of the 'Hillfoots' Villages of Clackmannanshire lying as it does between Stirling and St Andrews. Its famous school, the Dollar Academy lies in the town and its main school building is a striking neoclassical design by the eminent Scottish architect William Henry Playfair.
When an additional school building was needed for modern languages and economics, the Westwater building was designed and completed at the end of June 2015. It is named after George Westwater, a private in the 1/4th Battalion, Royal Scots QER, who was killed at Gallipoli on 28 June 1915 at the age of 21, almost one 100 years to the day prior to the building’s completion.
In time for the formal opening on the 23 March 2016 by Lord Brodie, a declining vertical sundial incorporating a sphere, was commissioned. The sphere demonstrates how the sun's light travels round the Earth in the course of the day. The two sided panel carries text on the reverse showing the Equation of Time and the longitude and latitude and the back half of the sphere emerges from the the reverse of the panel.
See more here and here
The first sundial to be made in Montreal?
question. In April 2009 a fragment of a sundial was displayed at the
Pointe-à-Callière museum in Montreal. Thought to date from the late
17thC and with a delineation that despite displaying lines above the horizon
shows it might have adorned a wall on a building on the estate of Montreal's
fifth appointed (rather than acting!) governor Louis-Hector de Callière, it
may even be the first sundial to be made in Montreal.
Image©Montréal Museum of Archaeology and History, 2009
Enjoy a spell at the Gaol House!
That is enjoy the outside of the Gaol House in
Lynn, Norfolk! Sitting as it does next to the wonderful Town Hall
in the area of the Saturday Market, it sports on its roof line, a
majestic vertical west declining sundial dated, it is believed, to 1784
and delineated by S Bunnett. It has as its motto 'Tempus Fugit'. Click
on the image for a close up of the dial face. The dial declines 10
degrees West of South and is marked with tall Roman lettering, quarter
hours with the half hours having inward extending trefoil ended lines
and rather less commonly, with an individual marker for each half hour
engraved in the chapter ring. A really elegant dial.
© VL Thomson 2016)
David Payne's suggestion for a Noon Mark gets approval!! Regular visitors to this site will know of David Payne's extraordinary project to place sundials of various types along the Burlingham Woodland Walks in Norfolk. The walks are about 7 miles east of Norwich and they can be accessed at a number of start points, including that from North Burlingham.
Click the thumbnail for the impressive list of those sundials currently in place or under construction. The next one will make use of an existing 15 ft high beacon which was erected in 2012 to mark the Queen's Jubilee on playing fields nearby. This will be a Noon mark, with an analemma on the ground that marks the months, solstices and equinoxes.
We await further details with interest. SunInfo will provide
progress reports as we have them. Contact the
webmaster if you wish to
sponsor any of the dials.
Capt. Michael Francis Aston Maltin, DFC. Wartime pilot of
Spitfires and then Lancaster bombers,
pilot for BOAC and then British Airways and a long time horologist and
sundial enthusiast, died peacefully in North Woodchester on 25th January
2015, aged 94 years with son Christopher, daughter Elaine and his
beloved Vera by his side. Michael was the son of the late Rev Arthur
Frank Maltin, former vicar of Stroud and of Amberley, the much loved
husband of the late Christine Maltin and a cherished father, grandfather
and great-grandfather. A lovely, unassuming man and Spitfire
fanatic who will be much missed by those who had the privilege to know
SunInfo's Obituary to a great man.
The 2015 BSS Newbury Meeting included a fitting display to the memory of the
life and times of Michael.
|Martins Gills of Riga in Latvia has an interesting website which contains more than two hundred pages altogether but within that, no fewer than 41 pages of lovely images of dials around the world, several other links about dials and dialling and a map showing the location of more than twenty dials in Latvia. Saules pulkstensis is the Latvian for 'Sundial' and the web site is in Latvian but Google Translate does a reasonable job of making it understandable to those who do not read the language. Well worth a look. It may be found ►here.|
|Martins Gills has a second website which describes a unique post card dial and a few of the dials that he has designed himself. Have a look ► here Martins presentation at the recent 2014 BSS Conference may be viewed ►here (4MB PDF)|
The extraordinary (and to many, the appalling) comments made by the BSS's Council at the April 2013 Edinburgh BSS Conference contributed to no fewer than 340 visits to this site in April 2013 alone and a further 364 in May with 51 of the visitors in May spending more that half an hour on the site - 37 of those for more than an hour and 42 for more than one hour in June! Not surprising given the facts. Now we have received copies of the text of quite astonishing emails from the Council about their attempts to restrict this website and about the way the BSS President (no less) has been bullied by this Council!
If you were a delegate at the April 2013 Edinburgh Conference, our advice is not to dismiss as baseless the criticisms that had been made about the present Council's 'Integrity' until you know all the facts. We shall have more to say on this not least on the strange matter of a misinformed and complaining letter sent by the BSS Chairman which of course prompted a robust correcting response and which on its receipt was swiftly followed by the Council back-tracking and saying: (and remember it was BSS who initiated this particular correspondence) 'We shall not engage in such correspondence'!
Pleading the 5th or what?
All that glisters is most certainly not gold in all this. It's really gratifying that so many just do not believe what was said by the Council at Edinburgh - nor what was included in an insert with the June Bulletin - and have turned to this web page and even directly to the webmaster for information. It's also pleasing that so many spend such a long time on this site in the process; many for more than one hour!. Thanks so much for coming and please do keep coming back - there's still a lot more to add - and especially more to comment on! You really will find facts here.
Term future of the BSS Library FINALLY assured. BSS members will have noted the
recent and welcome change of heart by the Council of BSS Trustees that was
announced by BSS Librarian Nick Orders in the December 2014 Newsletter. In this the security of the BSS
Library was affirmed at last and the on-going commitment of the trustees to its support and maintenance was finally confirmed.
As a result of this BSS President Christopher Daniel has decided that his loaned collection is not now at risk of unauthorised disposal and accordingly at the 2015 Conference he confirmed his intention to leave his highly valuable works at the BSS Library in Bromley House, Nottingham.
As a part of that address Christopher disclosed that he had asked Frank King, as Chairman (and Chris Williams, as Secretary) to put their signatures to the document to endorse it.
Churlishly in the circumstances, it seems they refused to do so. Members will simply not understand this extraordinary attitude, one which has already led to such dissension within the Society. Nor will they understand why such earlier misguided calls for the dissolution of the library had not been thrown out MUCH earlier by the Council. Blunders in today's management of the BSS seem to many members to be occurring far too frequently and the absence of any apology is not only worrying, it is astonishing.
A few copies of the donation document were circulated - see this copy below.
To see more of the 2015 BSS Conference please click here
13.04.13, 09.05.15, 22.06.15
NOW, Christopher Daniel has replied to the unfounded comments made in a Member's September letter to the Council which has already been reported below and which is to be seen in our special page about the Books Issue. Read Christopher's reply here. It of course confirms what all members of the Society - except apparently the complainant - already knew. Yet most BSS Members will surely also be baffled as to why such comments - which are entirely irrelevant to the Books issue and are in any case incorrect - came to be raised in the first place.
17.11.14 Published with permission
Yet again, the BSS Council says 'take it or leave it'. Prominent BSS Member and fellow academic, Dr Martin Jenkins, recently wrote to BSS Chairman Frank King suggesting a meeting to help resolve the matter of the ownership of the President's books. The approach was rebuffed and the Chairman's reply was once again only to 'urge Chris to accept the original offer'. This was the unreasonable, non-negotiated 'take it or leave it' offer made a long time ago. There was no mention let alone discussion of Christopher's generous alternative 50 year loan offer which would be of such importance to the membership. BSS Members will surely be appalled at what they must see as the clear contempt being shown by their Council over this important issue. Not only that but can anyone really believe that even now the entire BSS library contents are STILL at risk of an ill-considered majority decision by any board of trustees in the future. This is unacceptable.
Now in connection with the matter of Christopher Daniel's Books, SunInfo has received two copies of what can only be described as an astonishing document, one written in support of the Council by a BSS Member. See if you agree that it demonstrates the paucity of logic that such a stance brings with it and the need of some to resort to unnecessary and even quite unfounded criticism in an attempt to lend what might be considered misguided support to the Council's argument. The ordinary BSS Member will surely be aghast at this sort of attack which does the Council no credit over its handling of the matter of Christopher's Books.. Visit our special page on this matter for more details here.
Then look at just how much Christopher has actually written to date here
Some of the BSS Membership have now responded to the Council's extraordinary letter that was emailed to them by Frank King on 11.09.14. Follow this wholly unnecessary saga at our special page devoted to the way in which the BSS Council is still treating its eminent President, Christopher Daniel MBE here. Latest news is at the bottom of that page. Or simply jump to the membership's response now.
Still the comments come in about the issue of Christopher Daniel's books and the BSS library. The Council recently issued members with what some see as an almost completely incorrect summary of the position, because it claims that it is Christopher who will not negotiate and who blocks acceptance of a deal.. To many however, a deeper analysis of it indicates that:
By anybody's standards it is surely the Council of BSS who have bullied Christopher, it is they who have twice refused to meet him at his home on a one to one basis and it is they who tried twice to insist that he travels to Cambridge when he now no longer drives and at 81 finds train journeys a problem.
Then the Council has tried to insist that they, and only they, determine the agreement process. It is they (not Christopher) who refuse to negotiate, it is they who try to insist on no lawyers being involved and it is they who have imposed their own arbitrary deadline for ‘agreement’ - but, be it noted, only an agreement on their terms – after which they are now trying to suggest that the matter is closed.
The reaction of the Membership was swift and predictable:
And Now (1), in another twist and three months after first being formally asked for its evidence to support its stance that Christopher Daniel's books were indeed a gift, the Society had to be asked again. That was dated 16th July and there was still no reply from BSS more than another month later!!!!! Members must now be wondering if this 'evidence' really does exist. See the latest requesting letter from the solicitor ►here.
And Now (2), in yet another twist it turns out that the Council, despite having spent (in 2013 alone), roughly the equivalent of 117 membership subscriptions on two London Legal firms' advice to change the status of the charity to a CIO (Info here), they appear only later to have discovered that they do not own the BSS Trademark Logo! You really could not make this up.
And Now (3), One opinion seen by SunInfo suggests that it seems that charity law fully provides for gifts to be returned to their original donor! So, no matter what argument BSS chooses, there appears to be no excuse not to return Christopher's books!!
And Now (4), Keen to ensure that they can continue to use the BSS logo when the new CIO (Info here) came into effect, the trustees of BSS proposed a swap of books for title to the logo - take it or leave it. So now we know. The trustees are NOT after all prevented from returning Christopher's books! Just why has this issue ever arisen and just what does it say about trustee 'competence'?
We celebrate John Harrison
The 3rd April 2018 would have been his 325th birthday.
(and copyright) of Google Inc who on the day placed this excellent
Doodle on their website, we too would like to mark the life and more
importantly the determination of self-taught John Harrison, winner of
the 1714 Longitude Prize which had been put up to prevent naval
disasters. The Board of Longitude offered a reward of £20,000 to anyone
who could devise a navigational instrument that could be used to
determine a ship's longitude to within 30 miles even after a long sea
Harrison set to work in 1728 and completed it seven years later in 1735. He followed up this feat with three more watches that were even smaller and more accurate than his first.
Dial of the Month. Church of St. Vincent Ferrer, Ragusa, Sicily.
This month we show the sundial that is on the facade of the Church of St. Vincent Ferrer in Ragusa, Sicily. The dial is delineated in Italian hours (shown in black). The red lines show the equinox and mid summer declination lines and the Taurus/Cancer zodiac symbols. The dial lies at 36.93N, 14.75E and appears to decline approximately S105 degs W.
At the bottom are the words 'LINE S. VINC. Ferreri'.
Click the image for two photographs.
25.09.16 Photo ©copyright VL Thomson, 2016.
A Cumbrian Riders' Dial can be found in the lovely churchyard of Hall Waberthwaite in Cumbria on the shore of the Esk Estuary. Installed in 1830 in memory of the Rev J Stanley, it is mounted on a pedestal five or so feet high, placed there for horse riders!
The dial is well made by Watkins & Hill and is nicely and accurately delineated. Set on a moulded square plinth, turned upright, and moulded square top with inset circular brass plate and gnomon. Read about it in a recent Guardian article
The Istiwak clock that shows
dhuhur and asr prayer times. The Grand Mosque of
in Central Java still uses a sundial, locally known as an ‘istiwak
clock’, to determine the exact time for Muslims in the city to perform
dhuhur (midday) and asr (afternoon) prayers.
Although Muslims now use modern clocks for prayer time guidance, the istiwak clock remains the main attraction for people to visit the Surakarta Grand Mosque. Read more about this interesting dial from the Jakarta Post.
"Ladies and gentlemen, we call
time on a 50-year-old scam, in which a small number
and politicized scientists, paid for by scientifically-illiterate
governments panicked by questionable lobby-groups funded by dubious
billionaires and foreign governments intent on doing down the West,
and egged on by the inept and increasingly totalitarian news media,
have conspired to perpetrate a single falsehood: that the science was
Well, it wasn’t". [Quote from Monckton 2018. E.&O.E.]
Read the analysis HERE or this summary HERE
The June 2017 edition of the BSS Bulletin is available to Members. In this edition:
The Brighton i360, a Giant Gnomonic Possibility - Frank
In the Footsteps of Thomas Ross. Part 19 Some Sundials of East Lothian - Dennis Cowan
The Navicula: Made in Medieval East Anglia? - John Davis
Newly Reported Dials 2016 - John Foad
Throwing Light on a Sundial at Newstead Abbey - John Wilson
A Replacement Armillary Dial for Christchurch Park Ipswich - John Davis
A Curious Oxford Sundial - Frank King
Two Interesting Slate Dials - Mike Cowham
Allan Mills - Obituary - John Davis (The WUR Obituary}
A Very Personal Sundial - Ortwin Feustel
Review BSS Annual Conference: Oxford, 21-23 April 2017 - Jackie Jones & Jenny Brown
Minutes of the 28th BSS Annual General Meeting, Oxford, April 2017
A Host of Fundials - John Lester
|A New Polar Sundial designed by BSS Member David Payne has now been placed in Farrows Wood as a further extension to the fascinating Burlingham Walks Sundial Trail in Norfolk, UK. The dial has been dedicated to the memory of Kevin Pettigrew with the quote from Sylvia Plath "There Was a Beautiful Time".|
BSS Newbury Meeting 2017
The Annual BSS One Day Meeting in Newbury took place on Saturday 23 September 2017 and ran from 9-4. All were welcome not just BSS Members. BSS President Christopher Daniel MBE attended too.
More information was available on our Newbury 2017 page.
Celebrating 115 years since the discovery of the Antikythera Mechanism
On 17 May 1902, Greek archaeologist Valerios Stais
found a corroded chunk of metal which turned out to be part of the
world's first computer and became known as the Antikythera Mechanism.
The Google Doodle of May 17 2017 commemorates the 115th anniversary of the device's discovery showing just how a rusty remnant can open up a skyful of knowledge and inspiration.
Read more about this here
Frans Maes has
recently recovered the information prepared by the late Fer de Vries
the construction of an Hemispherium.
He has now very kindly placed it on his own website here.
'Enid Blyton's Dial' - Rediscovery and Restoration For the last 30 years of her life Enid Blyton lived at Green Hedges, 42 Penn Road in Beaconsfield. The house had been built by one Charles Maggs around 1912 and it was he who commissioned a sundial which was originally positioned high up on the south gable of the house. All trace of the dial was lost after the house came to be demolished in 1973. Then in 2013 it was found, bought by Kari Dorme, a committee member of The Beaconsfield Society and it has now been restored and installed at Bekonscot Model Village in Beaconsfield - a place much loved by Blyton. See the restored dial and read about its discovery and the restoration here.
The Dial at Sherborne Castle is listed as SRN 1929 in the UK's National Register. It was first recorded in 1992 and hasn't been recorded frequently since. Also it isn't easy to study. Set high on the tower to the left of the entrance to this delightful castle it is a pedimented vertical declining dial which declines slightly East.
Click on the image here for a close up.
Image taken 13.10.16 at 13:38:46 GMT
Although these images do not show it well, an observer at the tower can just discern traces of its Roman numerals which are now only faintly visible. Oddly, these numerals appear to be recessed rather than proud so suggesting that the dial was originally engraved as well as painted rather than simply painted on a flat ground. (Usually formerly painted dials protect the background from erosion so resulting in raised lettering).
Apart from this, the dial, its mounting and its gnomon are in good condition. A pity that it hasn't yet been restored to its earlier elegance.
Oldest or second oldest surviving
portable sundial? Found in Herculaneum in the 1760s,
sundial in the shape of an Italian ham has been copied and a 3D replica
generated in order to test its design. The dial is hung from a
string so that the sun falls on its left side, allowing the attached
'pig’s tail' gnomon to cast a shadow across the grid.
The user aligns the dial so that the tip of the tail’s shadow falls on the vertical line for the current month whereupon the hour may be estimated from the number of horizontal lines from the top horizontal line to the horizontal line closest to the tip of the shadow.
Wesleyan University’s Christopher Parslow, a professor of classical studies and Roman archaeology who made the 3-D reconstruction claims it does represent a knowledge of how the sun works, and it can be used to tell time.
Read more of the dial The original as found in the Villa dei Papiri has been dated to the 1st Century AD and can be seen here.
In 1925 The Perkins Observatory
was one year old. As a gift to Ohio Wesleyan
graduating class of 1925 raised money to present a sundial to the
observatory. The sundial itself was made of bronze and sat atop a
stone pedestal carved to represent the Mayan or Aztec sun god.
Sadly, that sundial was stolen sometime around 1944. But in 1998, it was decided that it was time to do something about it.
Perkins' Schmoyer sundial and the problem that it too had with
Archaeologists Find Rare Ancient Roman Sundial Cambridge University archaeologists digging at the Roman town of Interamna Lirenas [between Rome and Naples] have uncovered a near-complete Roman sundial still inscribed with its owner's name!
Read more about this unusual discovery here
'Rescued' perhaps - But... Nether Winchendon House, near Thame in Oxfordshire is a delightful crenellated, mediaeval and Tudor property with seven acres of gardens and 600 acres of parkland. Not surprisingly it is listed Grade 1 by Historic England. Outside the house is an attractive pedestal surmounted by what can only be described as a 'rescued' stone sundial which is in a sorry state. The stone dialplate is cracked and clumsily repaired in the ancient manner by two forged clamps. No dial furniture is visible and the gnomon is a modern attempt to make the dial look like a dial. The pedestal is however quite charming and worth seeing for that alone.
Click to see a series of three images
that show the sad outcome for what must
have been an interesting sundial. Guesses as to age?
28.08.17 - Photos © VL Thomson 2017
Some Welcome Restoration News! In our 2017 edition of Dial Time and courtesy of NASS, it had been reported that the 1695 vertical sundial on the wall of the Jesuits' Church, next to the Old University entrance on St. Paul Street in Valleta, Malta was in a severe state of disrepair. Alexei Pace now reports that "Restoration of the 1695 sundial in Valletta, has now been completed. All the vegetation and fungal growth/mould has been removed and the stonework re-pointed."
Brian Asquith and a so far 'unrecorded'
Christopher Daniel dial!
Asquith, who died in 2008 aged 78, was a sculptor, designer and
silversmith whose work remained in the forefront of contemporary design
and manufacture for some 40 years. Asquith drew his inspiration from
artists and designers who had been shown at the 1951 Festival of Britain, and
also from European Modernism. He also designed a centrepiece in silver
commissioned by the British government and presented to Mauritius on the
occasion of its independence in 1966; personal gifts given to the Prince
of Wales on his investiture in 1969, and a prestigious sundial
commissioned by the Victoria Cross and George Cross Association
and presented to the Queen Mother on her 80th birthday. This unbelievably
elegant dial shown here was delineated by Christopher Daniel and which has so
far escaped being included in the Christopher Daniel Collection though it is
recorded in the National Register as SRN2206.
Click the image for a closer look and Click Here to read Brian Asquith's obituary.
The September 2017 edition of the BSS Bulletin is available to Members. In this edition:
Modern Observations using the
1702 Meridian Line of the
Basilica of Santa Maria degli Angeli e dei Martiri (Rome) - Woodruff
Sullivan, Mallory Thorp, Guadalupe Tovar and Jennifer Look
Finding the sun in cloud.
An interesting device was made in 2011 in the University of Rennes (France) by which the Vikings' ability to locate position of the sun on cloudy days may be replicated.
Click the image for an interesting article on this
device which (as we now know) uses light polarisation with what the Vikings called a
'sunstone' crystal.. There are other
interesting links there too on the same topic.
Rochester's New Sundial.
That's Rochester in Michigan, USA of course and not
Rochester Kent, UK.
the celebration of Rochester’s bicentennial year, 200 years as a city.
To commemorate the event, they unveiled a sundial monument at Municipal Park, located behind city hall at 400 6th St. It includes materials such as reclaimed brick from the old Main Street downtown and stone from a Michigan quarry. The gnomon has a brown rusted look and is constructed of the same corten steel used throughout the old knitting mills of historic Rochester.
Twenty rocks made with reclaimed brick from old downtown Main Street encircle the gnomon; each weighing 1,000 pounds and representing one decade. Click on the image for a larger picture and More
Orologi Solari 14 Issued.
A new issue of the Italian magazine Orologi Solari is available for download from the usual site http://www.orologisolari.eu/.
A list of articles together with a short summary of each in English is here
material of Orologi Solari 14 is of course written in Italian.
|Did you know?
Sundials made out of coffee cups? At one time the Eden Project in Cornwall processed waste plastic coffee cups to make and sell horizontal and vertical sundials! Sadly these are no longer available.
A Sundial in the British Passport? Since 2010, the current UK passport has used a number of background images on its pages. These are there to prevent counterfeiting of course but in an imaginative move they contain images of a wide variety of scenes. The Formal Park scene on page 20/21 is taken from the Italian Garden at Blenheim Palace and includes a close up of the sundial there (SRN 2183 in the National Register)! ►More
Sundials out of
The Daily Mail reported recently on BSS Trustee Jackie Jones and
her partner's design for a sundial made from a beer glass.
Make your own sundial? You can easily make a sundial that is far more accurate than many available from garden centres using materials you can probably find in the home. It has the potential to be accurate to the minute. You can use our sundial anywhere in Europe or the US, and you can even set it to tell summer time.
Historic sundial back at Ipswich’s
Christchurch Park after nearly 100 years. An
sundial has been restored to its former glory – and has now been
dedicated to author and historian Dr John Blatchly. The armillary
sphere was previously in the Christchurch Park arboretum way back in
the early 1920s, but it fell into disrepair and was moved to the back
of Christchurch Mansion.
After decades at the back of the mansion, a dedicated fundraising project was launched by the Friends of Christchurch Park in June to bring it back to life. See the story here
A really historic sundial designed for and used in Manchester's Liverpool Road Station. This is the world's oldest surviving railway station and the world's first railway warehouse; now restored and serving as a museum.
Click on the image for a larger view. The dial measures 53 cms diameter and the gnomon is some 28cms high.
This Month's Dial of Interest
This time we have a private image of the famous
dial held in the National Maritime Museum and executed by Johan
Michael Uogler of Ellingen. It covers the full range of Northern
latitudes and is set with its own compass and a scratched value of the
then current magnetic declination. The hours are marked VI-XII and
I-VI and a scale for the equation of time at noon is displayed as a
figure of eight in the centre. A zodiacal scale is provided too. A
brass wire carries a small bead at its centre whose shadow at midday
yields the declination and the equation of time. A wonderful dial.
Click on the image here for a larger version or of course
go the NMM link for even more information.
24.11.17 (Image courtesy CStJH Daniel)
The Siberian Times: Reports of
a spectacular 'UFO'
The Siberian Times reports a giant glowing ball lighting the sky – in Siberia.
There were fears from locals of ‘aliens arriving’, but there is a surprising explanation and, yes, there was indeed an unusual object in the sky.
There is more
'Know Thy Time' - Heiner Thiessen's 'Chime Dial'. This sundial was inspired by attempts to mark solar midday by an acoustic signal, as happened with the noon cannons of the early 1600s - though using rather more modern technology.
Read Heiner Thiessen's 2010 article on this dial and also Tony Moss's description of how he constructed one of these dials. The article is here
Obituary: Richard Mallett It is
with very great regret that SunInfo has to
that Richard Mallett, former BSS Trustee, Council Member and experienced
Webmaster for the Society, died on Nov 7th 2016. His funeral was
held at St Mary's Church, Eaton Bray, on Monday Dec 12, 2016. Our
sincere condolences go to his cousin, family and friends.
Read our obituary for Richard here.
11.12.16, 12.12.16, 20.12.16
The December 2017 edition of the BSS Bulletin is now available to Members.
In this edition:
A Quality Dial by Joshua Springer - John Davis
An Unusual Birthday Sundial. Back in 2012 Christopher Daniel took a commission to design a sundial for the husband of a friend on the occasion of the husband's 40th Birthday. It was to a very tight timescale yet nevertheless the outcome was not only a success but it also culminated in a very unusual inclined horizontal dial with some additional features of interest to all diallists.
Read about the commission in this edited account of Christopher's subsequent article which was first published in the BSS Bulletin here.
A West Side Story? In
1998 Christopher Daniel MBE
an article for the magazine of the Old Boys of Highgate School in North
London. It described the background to their most elegant vertical
West declining stone dial which is set above the main entrance.
Read the text of the article
The March 2018 Edition of the BSS
Bulletin is published.
A Gamble that Paid Off: A Horizontal Dial by Chadbum Bros, Sheffield - John Davis
How are the Mighty Fallen - David Brown
Andrew James: Master of the Worshipful Company of Clockmakers – Frank King
In the Footsteps of Thomas Ross Part 22: An Aberdonian Triad - Dennis Cowan
Introducing a New Mass Dial - Frank King
New Life for an Old Calendar - John Foad
A Wine for Diallists? - Jackie Jones and Rob Stephenson
An Illustration of Serendipity: the Relocated Detroit Sundial - Frank H. King
New Sundial Unveiled - Michael J. Harley
The Riddle of the Tower - Anthony Capon
A Second DIY Garden Heliochronometer - Brian Huggett
The 2017 American Eclipse: Postscript - Frank King
String Gnomon Dials - Mike Cowham
Orologi Solari No 15 Issued.
A new issue of the Italian magazine Orologi Solari is available for download from the usual site http://www.orologisolari.eu/.
A list of this issue's articles together with a short summary of each in English is here
material of Orologi Solari 15 is of course written in Italian.
The Formal (Re) Dedication of the Territorial Sundial on the Washington State Capitol Campus (USA) took place on January 30th 2018.
The Territorial Sundial is located between the Legislative Building and the Joel Pritchard Library and it has been restored and placed back at its original location after being taken to Seattle for repairs for the past 6 months. The restoration work included making a new stronger gnomon, a replica of the original with improved attachments. Repairs have also been made to the face of the sundial and other improvements to the mounting. Read more here
Tried LightTrac yet? -
App for iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch and Android. LightTrac calculates and
plots the angle of the Sun and Moon on top of a map, for any location.
Pick any day and time and visualize the position and elevation of Sun
and Moon for any location and much more. Useful for judging sites
for dials. See it
Interested in some other dial
Retrograde Asteroid Discovered
Asteroid 2015 BZ509 had already been revealed as
origins in another star system but it is now thought to be a permanent
member of our solar system. The 'visitor' is about 3km across and was
first spotted in late 2014 by the Pan-Starrs project at the Haleakala
Observatory in Hawaii. Experts quickly realised that the asteroid
travelled around the sun in the opposite direction to the planets – a
retrograde orbit. Additional studies now show that it has probably been
in this stable orbit for 4.5bn years and the discovery of a body from
another star system in the midst of the solar system is quite
Ancient stone calendar hidden for 900
years. Archaeologists suggest that a slab of
in Arizona’s Verde Valley may have served as a calendar or as a clock
hundreds of years ago, marking the passing seasons and the onset of
important agricultural periods by the position of the sun.
Roughly 1,000 petroglyphs were carved into the rock as far back as 900 years ago by the Southern Sinagua people. As the sun’s position in the sky changes, the light and the shadows cast by features in the rock line up with specific images that each hold agricultural or ceremonial significance. More can be seen about this here
The Dial of Ahaz
December 2017 marked ten years
Christopher Daniel wrote his article covering the mystery of the Dial of
Ahaz in his then regular column of 'Clocks Magazine'.
Read the article for yourself Here and see what some others have concluded about this ancient mystery.
BSS Newbury 2018.
This annual one day meeting, open to all not just BSS
Members, will take place TODAY Saturday 22 September 2018 from 9am to 4pm at Sutton
Hall, Stockcross near Newbury RG20 8LN. No entry fee but a door donation
of £10 is suggested to cover expenses. Rough Programme:
Morning: Informal gathering and display of exhibits, Bookstall, Short 10-minute talks from 10:00 am.
Bring a picnic lunch and chat with friends indoors or in the lovely grounds. Hot and soft drinks provided.
Afternoon: Further short 10-minute talks/chats. Tour around all exhibits. More information from David Pawley.
MARKING TIME; A JOINT EXHIBITION
BY TIM CHALK AND SASKIA
“Marking Time” is an exploration of the passage of time through
artworks, some overtly measuring time, others expressing different
experiences of it through the medium of sculpture, drawing and
Mark your diary for 'Marking Time' - NOW!
In the meantime click on the image here to look at Tim Chalk's website
A 'Mayan style' projection sundial
Courtesy of an article on the NASS website we learn that Ruben Nohuitol of Queretaro, Mexico has built his own solarium which he calls his “cosmic room” to observe the rays of the sun throughout the year.
Have a look at his extraordinary website here. There are several other pages of intriguing displays to look at too.
Way back in 1991 The UK's Cumbrian sundial super-sleuth Robert Sylvester first recorded the 18C sundial at the Parish Church of St Mary's Church in High Hesket, It was designated SRN 1006 in the National register. By then the 700x800mm sandstone dial had split, was missing its gnomon and it had been removed from the wall and placed in store. Then, on Saturday 2nd April 2005 a replica was rededicated by the Rev. Beth Smith after a three-year restoration project by members of Hesket Local History Group. The dial is notable for its two lengthy mottoes.
Have a look at it by clicking on the thumbnail here.
Photos Trevor Harris, CC BY-SA 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=13691987
The June 2017 BSS Newsletter reports a concern about declining society membership, about how the Society might use social media to advertise itself and about the possibility of establishing an online discussion forum. Since publication of this Newsletter SunInfo has been contacted by several members and former members to express their surprise since every one of these issues was comprehensively discussed by Christopher Daniel's council way back in 2011, a summary of ideas to remedy a reducing membership was then given to the current council when they took office but from the information so far received, it appears that little or none of these has been considered let alone have any of the solutions been enacted in the intervening years! More than that, the 2011 social media implementation of the Society's Facebook page has never been updated for over four years and, guess what? its designer had already built in a discussion forum and even made provision for future advertising facilities none of which have simply ever been tried, let alone used. Indeed former trustees recall that the concept of using Facebook for any sort of advertising was specifically abandoned almost from the time the present council took office - despite the easy way costs for it could be limited.
Perhaps then, it's little wonder that these five (or so) years of council inaction on such well understood and well documented issues have finally led to today's problems? Maybe the Society would be better placed now had other circumstances prevailed?
Nearly one year on...
It's now coming up for one year since Dudley Council reinstated a long
sundial which went missing from Stourbridge town centre in the 1980s and
which was unveiled at its new home in Mary Stevens Park on the 10th
The sundial, which had been erected in a small public garden next to the town clock and market hall by King Edward VI Grammar School in 1952 to mark the quarter centenary of its charter, became damaged before disappearing from the town. It is presumed that the sundial was removed in the early 1980s when the garden was replaced by the Crown Centre shopping development. It's a pity that Medway Council in Kent cannot do likewise with Christopher Daniel's wonderful Nelson Dial which has been so ignorantly removed from the town centre of Chatham. Dudley's council are indeed enlightened, and are to be congratulated. Medway Council most certainly are not.
Christopher Daniel's 1981 Trigon! A real discovery this!! Way back in 1981 BSS President Christopher Daniel MBE drew out for himself a very simple design for a Trigon.
Such devices were used long ago to lay out sundials on any fixed surface and they are useful when the surfaces are not as accessible as one might wish. Modern versions usually make use of theodolite mechanisms and a laser but such isn't necessary. This hand drawn diagram explains the theory and demonstrates the use of this device and all on one page too!
View the page here - or click on the thumbnail.
Charity Commission confirms Donors'
Rights. In February 2017 and as a part of a public
response, the Charity
Commission of England and Wales issued a concise summary of the duties
of charities in respect of their activities and, more importantly
their accountability to donors, beneficiaries and indeed the public.
The short summary says:
SunInfo much welcomes this important
statement and all the policies that now lie behind it behind it, not
least those in respect of the operation of the BSS Library which -
after suggestions that it should even be closed - has only recently
been subjected to significant concerns as to its long term viability.
Here's an interesting Cumberland sundial
Hidden away in the West Lakes is this gem that is very well preserved. Not only that but it appears to be one of only two existing dials made by Chadburn of Liverpool - Optician to Prince Albert no less - and it is mounted on a quite extraordinary pedestal.
Just take a closer look here and judge for yourself.
31.07.17, 12.09,17 [Images © Robert Sylvester]
Penrith's Unusual Sundial In a garden near Penrith stands an elegant octagonal sundial which at first glance looks as if it is simply an example of a pleasant well made sundial mounted on a rather unusual tapered stone pedestal.
Closer inspection however shows that it is anything but ordinary.
19.08.17, 12.09.17 [Images© Robert Sylvester]
The Moorish Dial. The origins of the sundial are lost in the mists of antiquity; but there is no doubt that the very earliest civilisations made use of the shadows of objects to gauge the time of the day and the season of the year. In 2008 Christopher Daniel published a page in Clocks Magazine about the Arabic Origins of the Scientific Sundial.
There were many bright stars in the glittering Arabian firmament of science and art; but these were perhaps the brightest of those most able to invent the scientific sundial.
Dr Frank Evans. At
the end of 2017, SunInfo was sad to report the death of Dr Frank Evans, an eminent Marine
and a British Sundial Society member of long standing.
Frank suffered a stroke aged 91 whilst on his way with his daughter to go ice skating in North Shields.
An esteemed member of the British Sundial community, Frank was the life and soul of any party bringing as he did his own humour to any conversation!
obituary to Frank here
THE FAVERSHAM DIAL
BSS President Christopher Daniel's latest sundial commission, a Noon mark on Faversham's Guildhall in the Market Place, was formally inaugurated by the Mayor at a ceremony at 12:45 BST on Wednesday 3rd April 2013. It was followed by a viewing of an exhibition at the Upper Gallery of Gallery Studios, 1 Abbey Street, Faversham of Christopher's extensive sundial works entitled 'Marking Time'. After the opening Christopher remarked to the local press that it was quite an honour for the town council to give him permission to paint a sundial on the Guildhall as, after all, it is a listed building. He wanted it to be something special to mark the Queen's Diamond Jubilee. The dial was painted by Simon Scamp, a local sign-writer and it was funded by local brewers Shepherd Neame as well as by a number of anonymous donors. See it installed here and (Courtesy of This is Kent) in 'close up' here. Some background to the construction of this dial may be found here. See Christopher Daniel's own article about the dial here.
NOW See some images of the actual dial in situ at our SunInfo Photogallery Here
In yet another strange decision the BSS Council announced that it was (astonishingly) consulting members over the possible abandonment of its Grants Policy. It was indeed later abandoned. Some say this was an action made before finding out why the policy was as it is. More on this here.
RHS Gardens at Hyde Hall are to be congratulated! An April visit to the gardens at Hyde Hall near Chelmsford in Essex, by one of SunInfo's correspondents revealed that a floodlight had been positioned above the vertical sundial on the gable end of one of the out buildings there. See the photo on the left.
When this was brought to the attention of the management of RHS the problem was very swiftly addressed; the light removed and even two nearby mature trees that screened the dial removed also.
As can be seen in the second image, the sundial now 'shines in its own glory' once again.
Notification of the main problem to the final fix was accomplished in only 17 days! That really is amazing.
RHS Hyde Hall management are much to be commended.
SunInfo visitors might consider dropping in when next they are in the area - there's even more to Hyde Hall than just the sundial!
Remembering Andrew Somerville
Andrew was born in Paisley. He studied Organic
Glasgow University and worked on aniline dyes and later on
cancer drug research.
He retired in 1982 and resumed his interest in sundials. His book on the elaborate Scottish sundials ‘The Ancient Sundials of Scotland’ is still an important work. It was under his guidance that the British Sundial Society was founded and he became its first Chairman. Sadly he died in 1990 aged 67, only one year after BSS’s founding.
A memorial stone sundial was designed by Christopher Daniel, the Society's current President, twenty-five years ago this year and it's our pleasure to record that event as it was recorded in the Bollington Arts Centre Magazine of Autumn 1992.
Huddersfield’s most popular rail
attraction? Brian Taylor – who died in 2009 – will
on at Kirklees Light Railway thanks to the unveiling of a fitting
memorial. The model steam vehicle enthusiast brought his hobby to life
in 1991 with the creation of the railway at Clayton West. The line was
first constructed to take passengers to Cuckoo’s Nest. It was later
expanded to Skelmanthorpe and then to Shelley where all journeys now
The Golcar-born man built all the locomotives and carriages for the three-and-a-half-mile route himself in his home workshop. To mark Brian’s involvement, a sundial memorial has been unveiled by his widow on the platform of Clayton West station. It has a nautical theme of a windlass with two sails on the top, the gap between which allows the sun to shine a line over the dial face. The sundial was created by Shepley sculptor Dave Bradbury. Images here and here.
31.10.17 [Dial kindly reported by SunInfo reader Gerald Stancey]
The Sundial Mail List
reported the death of Gianni Ferrari on the
March 2019. Gianni's definitive contributions to dialling discussions raised
over many years on the Sundial Mail List have contributed much to the
education of diallists everywhere and have delighted them in equal measure. His
book about Islamic sundials has been acclaimed by many as a masterpiece but it
will surely serve as only one aspect of his amazing dialling legacy.
The gnomonic world has indeed lost a leader.
28.03.19 [Image©NASS and used with permission]
and Gordon Taylor SunInfo is
sad to report the recent deaths of two important British
David Young who was a founder member of the British Sundial Society and during the early days with what might be described as an 'all hands to the pumps' regime, it was he who took on multiple roles at the same time being the first Secretary and the Society's first Registrar. He and his wife Lilli took amazing care of the fledgling society alongside Christopher Daniel at that time to the point that he would take time to visit and effectively interview potential members of the Committee that may have been proposed and had agreed to serve. David was a prolific reporter of sundials for the newly established Register, vying alternately (it then seemed) with Tony Wood as the two BSS Members who had arguably discovered the most dials in the UK. Always friendly towards new members he was supportive of any new ideas by which the society could be improved and so, perhaps unsurprisingly, he became highly critical after a new Committee took over following Christopher's retirement as Chairman, when he perceived a succession of mistakes in charity management. In later life David moved more towards his other passion, that of the history of his local area. David will be much missed by all his friends in British dialling.
Gordon Taylor was another early committee member of the Society who provided much expertise and academic flair which materially helped the acceptance of a new professional Society and moreover one which was seeking to change the then habit of the National Trust in using dials as ornaments that could be moved from garden to garden. Thankfully and to the credit of the Trust, that was quickly corrected and today both the Trust and English Heritage are most vigilant in that regard. Gordon will be particularly remembered by BSS Members for his design of the first public Equiangular Dial in the UK and for his 1975 book on the topic. Designated SRN 1773 the dial was designed for the Royal Greenwich Observatory then located at Herstmonceaux Castle. After a temporary move to Cambridge the dial is now back there at the castle once again, as a fitting memorial to a memorable diallist. See more here
The Dial at Mackerye End is rarely seen since it is a painted stone declining vertical dial dating back to the 18/19thC and mounted on an end wall of the manor house, deep inside its own grounds. In truth it is not a particularly unusual dial though it does indicate time intervals down to 5 minutes and is well constructed. The images here also show a pre-WW2 drawing of the house - with dial in place and an approximate calculation of the dialplate using the declination of S13W established here by using Google Earth and the alignment of the roof line of that wing of the house. It shows a close correlation though interestingly, it is slightly different to the original - probably indicating that the actual wall on which the dial is mounted is not quite in line with the roof and in turn, there is a small difference in estimated declination! Such are the vicissitudes of 18thC architecture... Click on the images for larger versions.
03.06.18 [photo © CPowers, 2018]