Using the Method of
Here is an interesting
method of Aristarchus for determining the distance to the Sun and
Moon. Aristarchus of Samos (c. 310 - c. 230 BC) was an ancient
Greek mathematician and astronomer from Ionia. Aristarchus’
revolutionary astronomical hypothesis was that the Sun, not the
Earth, was the fixed centre of the universe and that all the planets
revolved around it. He also said the stars were distant unmoving
suns and the universe was much larger than thought. Here his method
is used together with some of today's values to establish the
distance to the Sun and Moon for ourselves. Fascinating.
Click the image or
to read more.
British Dial found in New Zealand?
A sundial originally
for use in the grounds of Glamis Castle in Sotland -
childhood home of the late Queen Mother - and probably taken to NZ
as some sort of 'not now functioning' trophy has thrown up
aspects of Scottish dialling in the 17th and 18th centuries.
Here John Davis
tells the fascinating story of its discovery and analysis. Well
worth a read.
as retained and amended]
How to estimate the
by means of trigonometry and a model of the Phases of Venus by Lars
Petersen, Alan C. Pickwick, Rosa M. Ros, Mogens Winther (EAAE)
Level: Some mathematical ability is required.
Using the transit
of Venus to determinate the distance to Venus and to the Sun.
to follow the procedure based on the transit of Venus in 2004!!
The Stanier Family -
Railways and Sundials
Dr Margaret Stanier (who sadly died in 2007) was an esteemed member
of the British Sundial Society and her appointment as Bulletin
Editor after Charles Aked’s resignation, is still remembered for
her welcome and logical change to the Bulletins’ numbering scheme
and its implementation of a new fair rigour in the standard of
articles that were published. However she came from the highly
esteemed family of Sir William Stanier - the famous British GWR
and LMS steam engine designer. Her connexions are mentioned
in SunInfo's obituary to her and a new
Internet link has emerged that tells the Stanier railway story in
reminiscences from the Stanier family members living today. Click
on these links to read more about these
Margaret's Obituary Well worth a look - especially for steam
railway buffs with a co-interest in dialling!.
The Mystery of The
Dial in Dial Lane
Over in Aldeburgh,
there is a most interesting dial on the wall of Dial House. It is
known to the National Register as SRN 0596. It carries the motto
'Semper Fidelis'under the thriving foliage
HERE. It is a painted
vertical west declining dial - declining about 10 degrees - but it
has an elaborate metal(?) gnomon support in the form of a cast
four spiked sun which also appears to show some of the hour lines.
However these do not (seen from this angle) appear to align with
all of the painted hour lines lower down. Could this gnomon
support have come from another dial or perhaps the painted lines
are not accurate? Sadly the sun was not shining in this otherwise
very this clear photograph so the dial's accuracy could not be
determined. If any diallist can throw light on this matter
do let the webmaster know. Click
HERE or on the thumbnail
to see a larger version of the image.
this article was first posted 'Dial-finder extraordinaire' Ian
Butson has submitted his own close up of the gnomon support and
kindly given SunInfo permission for us to show it. (HERE).
It indicates that it was probably at the head of an original
Vertical South dial and from the slight damage at the top left, it
may well be hollow rather than solidly cast. Ian also wondered if
the material was lead. Given the slight rusting of some screws in
the surround, rather than the
body, it might seem that the top scrolling is separate and
possibly made from galvanised steel. How provision of no
fewer than 18 mounting holes - just for the gnomon support came to
be provided remains a real mystery. The present gnomon is not
fitted to align with any of these earlier lines. It has the
appearance of being possibly from a continental dial, perhaps of
Austrian, Italian or maybe German origin. Any reader who can
contribute more to this puzzle should contact the webmaster.
© VL Thomson 2021 and Ian Butson
The Hidden Dial of Ham House
Ham House is a 17th-century
set in formal gardens on the bank of the River Thames in Ham,
south of Richmond. It was completed by 1610 by Thomas Vavasour, an
Elizabethan courtier and Knight Marshal to James I, but came to
prominence during the 1670s as the home of Elizabeth (Murray)
Maitland, the Duchess of Lauderdale and Countess of Dysart and her
second husband John Maitland, the Duke of Lauderdale. Originally
the house was constructed in an 'H' shape.
retains many original Jacobean features and furnishings and is
claimed by the National Trust to be "unique in Europe as the most
complete survival of 17th century fashion and power." Today it is
a Grade I listed building
Lauderdale was granted by Letters Patent full freehold rights to
the Manors of Ham and Petersham and the 289 acres of leased land.
In 1672 Elizabeth and Lauderdale were married, and, with
Lauderdale's part in the CABAL, the family remained close to the
heart of court intrigue. The couple made extensive changes to the
house from 1673 extending the house into the south part of the
"H", making it "double pile", two rooms deep, across its breadth.
This filling in of the 'H' shape was what caused the original
painted declining sundial to be hidden but not destroyed. An
edition of the recent TV programme 'Secrets of the National Trust'
allowed a glimpse of the dial showing the 4am mark and part of the
scroll of the motto.
to glimpse two images of part of the painting of the dial.
DeVries was surely one of
eminent diallists of recent years. The first winner of
the NASS Sawyer Dialing Prize he sadly died in 2015, by then well
into his seventies.
Fortunately his website contents were preserved by De
Zonnewijzerkring, the Netherlands Sundial Society, so we still
have his legacy today. Fer's Legacy
is a treasure trove of 360 articles on every possible topic in
gnomonics. From 2003 to 2012 he put three articles together each
month, in three series: Sundial of the Month, Article of the Month
and Work by Members. They have even been translated into English
by member Ruud Hooijenga and SunInfo has
received permission from De Zonnewijzerkring to place some of his
works here for your interest and enjoyment. We are most grateful
to De Zonnewijzerkring for this. The link to the first of these
will be uploaded shortly. Watch this space! It will be very
Richard died in November 2016 - his obituary
is at this link and in the reference section below. However
recently it was discovered that his twitter account up to the time of
his untimely death has survived him. It was of course written for
his many followers and the topics range all over his interests from
daily events, television and to sport. His humour comes out
wonderfully in the many wry comments which also show his depth of
knowledge on so many topics. Those who remember him - and those
who perhaps do not - will surely be interested to look at this
fascinating resource. Click
to see more.
BSS Issues Apology to Members
An apology has been issued by BSS notifying its members that the
2021 Solar Data Card included with the December 2020
Bulletin contained a number of inaccuracies, in no way reflecting
on the accuracy of the information provided to BSS by Fiona
Vincent. A corrected version has now been included with the
March 2021 Bulletin. Although these cards are usually only
available to Members of BSS, this corrected version is also being
made available by BSS to everyone as a PDF
HERE. It can be printed on a single
sheet of A4 and folded to provide a two-sided A5 “card”.
|BSS Accounts Reporting Performance 2018 & 2019
The Charity Commission reports on its web
that the 2018 results were only filed at nearly the last minute.
It took about ten months - virtually the permitted limit - for the
2018 accounts and report to be filed.
accounts for the year ending 31st December 2019 were finally filed
in August 2020. Click on the image for the reporting performance
last year. The Accounts for 2019 can be seen
show a fall in assets and apparently a significant conference
and Climate in 2021
The science behind forecasting
both weather - and separately of climate - is increasingly being
shown to be faulted. Richard Feynman said that if an hypothesis
cannot be demonstrated by experiment or in reality then it is
wrong. Not nearly wrong or nearly right, but wrong. Then we
have suggestions that we should stop eating meat because the
animals being raised for meat emit too much methane. This
simple analysis of the science behind these things gives food for
thought. Do read to the end too. It's only 13 mins. Click
or on the thumbnail to find this interesting article.
of Satellite Data? Now it seems that even the published
satellite data regarding climate change is being manipulated.
Just see this latest
Then see more proof here about the same with temperature data.
Can you ever imagine Richard Feynman or Albert
Einstein agreeing to do this?
Want to see
the values of the Equation of Time 2021?
See all daily
corrections here together with a link to a PDF of the same data
all printed on one A4 page.
BSS 2018 Accounts
show a correction of an Accounting Error. The 2018
The British Sundial Society disclose an error
in the statement of Gift Aid for the previous year which was not spotted either
by the Trustees or by the Examiners employed to check the Accounts each year. The
Accounts for 2018 may be seen and
Is Pluto really a planet after all?
Scientists are now coming to argue that the
definition of a planet is ‘sloppy’ and that Pluto should never have been
downgraded in the 2006 review by the IAU (International Astronomical Union). The
2006 definition was devised (it seems) more to stop too many planets being
declared than ever it was to provide a sensible definition. The discovery in
2005 of Eris, a body more massive than the smallest then-accepted planet, Pluto
forced the issue and the new definition thereafter has required a 'true' planet
to be roughly spherical, orbit the sun and to clear its orbit. Pluto and Eris
fail, not surprisingly, to clear their part of the Kuiper belt and in any case
University of Central Florida’s planetary scientist Philip Metzger points
out that strictly speaking no planet clears its orbit not least because of
the newly discovered dust rings in the orbits of
Maybe the definition of a planet should be set by diameter and whether or not a
sundial can be constructed for it anywhere on its surface?
Time Lapse Videos of sundials and
shadows? YouTube is an
source of interest where sundials are concerned.
If you have ever wanted to see a time lapse video of
shadows moving with time and/or with the seasons and related aspects do take a
A Form of Violence?
Some climate scientists still struggle to cope with people
who disagree. So some time back, Cliff Mass – a Professor of Atmospheric
Sciences at the University of Washington as well as a radio weatherman – decided
to write something about the wildfires in California, and in particular, the
question of whether climate change had played a role. At the end of a long
analysis of climatological trends in the area, he drew his conclusions:
Was Global Warming A Significant Factor in California's Camp Fire? "The Answer
is Clearly No". [See
full article here]
take a look at some of
the replies! And you thought scientists were logical?
finally dawns about
urban warming! Now actually verified by NOAA (the
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration of the USA). Poor
weather station siting leads to artificial long term warming. How long
has it taken to get to this point? But here we really are - let all
real scientists rejoice.
All the links are here.
See "Impacts of Small-Scale Urban Encroachment on Air Temperature
Observations", Ronald D. Leeper, John Kochendorfer, Timothy Henderson, and
Michael A. Palecki
|Mike Shaw's Web Site
has sadly been discontinued but some of Mike's
contributions to dialling can still be found elsewhere on the Internet.
One such is his 'Really Useful Device', a slide presentation showing
ways in which you may construct a Diallist's Companion for
your own location. The presentation is clear and well worth looking
at. It may still be found for download as a PDF (12.5MB) at
Then click on the Orange button in the upper left of the screen marked
"DOWNLOAD PDF (12.3MB)". The file will then be downloaded to your PC. Get it
whilst you can!!
Tallman's Artisan Sundials
page is well worth a look.
Artisan sundials are specially designed and constructed to
provide accuracy as well as a genuine sense of presence in time and space. They
are authentic scientific instruments that are carefully constructed and capable
of telling very accurate time.
There's more here
Jay Campbell's New Dial
Have a look at Jay
new sundial in New Mexico USA. It (like his accompanying website) is just
nearing completion but there will be an article about it in the December issue
of Sky & Telescope magazine, available in late October.
about this venture
"Have you ever purchased a delightful
sun dial for your
but found it does not work? No problem". That is the encouraging beginning of an
excellent article in PDF format that discusses how to take a store bought
dial and then adjust it so it will work for you. Entitled
"REVERSE ENGINEERING STORE-BOUGHT GENERIC DIALS" It is just one
extract from the fascinating book "ILLUSTRATING TIME'S SHADOW" by Simon
Wheaton-Smith whose website
(already mentioned elsewhere on this page) is an incredible resource for all
The National Oceanic & Atmospheric
(NOAA) is well known for its research into greenhouse gas and carbon cycle
feedbacks, changes in clouds, aerosols, surface radiation, and recovery of
stratospheric ozone. In Sept 2018 it released a report claiming that the summer
of 2018 was the fourth hottest on record in the US, and it went on to claim that
this summer was just as hot as 1934. Yet, when this claim is examined it turns
out that it may not be correct.
Listen to a US
scientist's analysis of this and read about some of
Heller's other concerns about climate science misinformation today. Form
your own opinion.
Kevin Karney's new website
As well as Kevin's earlier site
which provides a wide variety of data for those interested in sundials and solar
parameters, a 2018 site
now up and includes three sections:
- The Equation of Time - 8 pages.
- Sundials that are (or can be) Equation corrected - 8 pages
- Mechanical Means to Simulate the EoT - 6 pages.
Well worth a look!
An On-line Sundial Register. There's an interesting
browse to be had of the
Website that is operated by
of Fife. As well as giving an excellent introduction to the sundials
of Scotland, the site includes a 92 page
Sundial Register of dials known to him, (not just those in
Scotland), five sundial trails, several safaris and seven articles about
dials and dialling. A really excellent site.
used with permission
Have a look at Karen's Page!
Want to make a
and compass from your own fingers, a sundial and compass from an embroidery
hoop. an origami sundial wristwatch. a horizontal sundial using only compass,
straight edge and protractor or use your hand as a nocturnal or even make a
Universal Capuchin sundial?
This is the
place to come!
This, our main page, gets larger and larger as time
goes by and of course the page would get slower to load. However, many of the
stories, comments and information in it are still of interest even though they
may not be recent. Accordingly we archive most of the older entries so
that little or nothing is permanently lost. Our
Archive Page 1
and, from 2018, our
Archive Page 2
are available!! Have a browse
of them for yourself.
04.05.15, 15.07.17, 06.05.18,23.09.18
Articles & Links
Is the answer simply Scientific
Apophenia - all along? Climate
are looking for evidence that supports the AGW hypothesis — and because they are
looking for it, Kip Hansen believes they see it in everything. The evidence, so
far, simply does not support the inference that the Earth’s climate is changing
dangerously. Perhaps only persons suffering from
Scientific Apophenia see dangerous climate change in the chaotic, random
patterns of long-term climate metrics? Click on the image for a bigger version
this for more.
A visit to Windsor..
In 1998 Jane Walker and her husband Peter
an interesting booklet that led them to a viewing of the Queen's Dial in Windsor
Castle. The dial stands on the North Terrace with the Queen's private
garden to one side and a splendid view over the town of Windsor to the playing
fields of Eton on the other. The gnomon is beautifully engraved and carries the
King's monogram "CR" intertwined so that the initials can be read from either
side. Read all about Jane's experience
Peter Daykin's Derbyshire Sundials Page is well
worth a visit
not least because it includes such examples as a cross dial and of course the
famous Eyam Dial. The website includes details of many Derbyshire dials
and even includes three sundial calculators. On almost every page there is a
description of the location as well as of the dial. A delight to peruse.
You can get to this excellent page
issues a new Trustee Welcome Pack
The Charity Commission has issued a
pack to welcome new trustees. They send it out to new trustees. Might be
worth making this a part of your induction pack as there could be a
delay advising the Commission of new trustees.
Read it here
in browsing our library or our archives?
Our extensive library of Dialling Documents
and related material is
HERE. It is regularly added to.
ALSO our earlier stories and
News Items up to 2017
from 2018 onwards
.In both archives entries are stored 'earliest-deleted' at the top,
'most-recently' deleted at the bottom. We hope you enjoy them.
06.08.15, 13.10.17, 06.03.18, 06.06.18
Equation of Time figures, with a one
Click on the image to be taken to our EoT page! where you can check the
value of EoT at Noon GMT on any date in 2018 (or even some earlier years)
and can even print all the year's data on one A4 sheet too. There's
more there describing how to correct a sundial's solar time reading to
GMT/BST and even a way to buy a little card that allows you to do this
when out and about anywhere in the UK or Ireland!
Some Complications of Dial Refurbishment as considered
to the restoration of the Queens' College dial in 2006/7. This is an
interesting document which is well worth a read by those facing similar
problems! Includes the oldest known photograph of the dial and consideration of
the several issues that remained after the previous repainting in 1971.
To read the document click here:
The Queens' Dial
Somerville's Interesting Letter of 1986 concerning the
Queens' College Sundial in Cambridge was published in the BSS Bulletin in
1997 and those with an interest in dialling might like to read it again. One
matter concerned the marking of the dial with the word Longitudo and
whether or not there was an error in the dial's markings. Andrew was of course
the first Chairman of the Society and this correspondence was dated 1986 only a
few years after the Society's formation.
Read the correspondence here
is delighted to be able to present a collection of just some of the
photographs of dials that former BSS Trustee John Churchill and his
wife took during his lifetime. They represent an eclectic
selection of his interests and as well of course, a valuable and lasting
record of the condition of the dials up to the time of the millennium.
Click to be taken to the John Churchill page.
images by John C hurchill now added***
14.08.15, 14.03.17, 02.04.17
The Dial of William Hughes of Bryngola.
In what can only be
as a tour de force of investigation, John Davis recently studied a dial dated
1775 which was made for William Hughes of Bryngola in
Llangwyllog, a small village and ancient parish in the
centre of Anglesey, Wales. The church of St Cwyllog (illustrated) still bears
memorials to the family to this day. John deduces that the elaborately engraved
dial may have been made for Hughes by one of the Owen dynasty of clockmakers
perhaps using components from the clockmaking area around Prescot in Lancashire.
A fascinating BSS article which may be read at John's website at this link
Dial of William Hughes.
A lovely selection of Italian sundials
Here is a link to a whole
of images of Italian sundials that have been taken by photographer
Darek Oczki in the areas of Umbria, South Tuscany and
Rome between August 2010 and September 2018. Some (under the Activity
sidebar) are earlier.
Well worth a look!
these out here.
Great Circle was thought to be
Those diallists who liked to rely
Great Circle Studio's solar data calculator to obtain or print
off a table of solar parameters at any time interval have recently been troubled
by its apparent absence. Then it was thought to be found at
Great Circle Studio
Solar Data . However, it does not 'work', the server side links are not
made. But, after contact, the website owner claimed to be 'on the
case'. In the meantime you could try
MIDC SPA Calculator (max intervals of one hour) or
The Sundials at New College Oxford. In an interesting
Harriet James describes the dials that have existed at New College Oxford - the
college that was 'new' in 1379 - and gives an interesting insight to her
replacement of one that was on the Muniment Tower in 1696.
Read the text of Harriet James' BSS Article
in 2000 to know
more about the Sundials of New College past and present.
BSS Member Ian Maddocks has really started
something by finding a whole load more
that are apparently currently unknown to BSS! In two messages to the
International Sundial Mail List he announces his discovery that Twitter®
and Instagram® contain many mentions of UK dials that are not recorded in
the most recently published BSS Register of Dials - though of
course some may be held on file by the Society's Registrar ready to be
published next time. Whatever, this is excellent news for all those
interested in dialling. Not only that but Ian has combined a list of these
on his Google drive. They may be viewed
There is also a 'map' of their locations
Now with Graham Stapleton's help he has added even to this amazing number
and with pics too
President Christopher Daniel's web site has now been seen
since it was set up only a little time back. The site contains
images of all of Christopher's dials and images of other related matters taken
during his long and varied career.
To see this wonderful collection of several hundred images just follow
this link - or of course you can always
simply Google "Christopher Daniel Collection". You can even see his
pictures as a
04.07.15, 17.08.16, 21.12.16, 08.03.18
Courtesy of Ian Maddocks and the Objectivity
channel we are able to see a short video clip which, after half way, shows one
of the stone dials scratched by Isaac Newton into the walls of his home.
Click on the image for a larger picture,
Here to see the video and
Here to see the record
document of items like this from Newton's home.
The Mass Dials of Gloucestershire.
Tony Wood, in a reprint from Gloucestershire
History No. 21 (2007) pages 16-22, describes the many mass dials of
Gloucestershire. Mass dials, or scratch dials, are mediaeval sundials found on
churches. Chronologically they appear after Saxon dials (c650 — c1050) and
before the present day's ‘scientific’ dials,
which have a sloping gnomon, which appeared in the 16th century
but which only came to some rural areas in the mid 17th century.
Tony's article here
increasing importance of European Mass Dials
interest in mass dials in continental Europe is evidenced by a flow of
reports and photographs. BSS of course has quite enough to do without
compiling registers of overseas dials but the reports are filed and
available for comparison with dial types and locations recorded in
Here Tony Wood reflects on the
similarities and origins of mass dials in the British Isles and Europe.
Astrolabes, Cross Staffs and Dials. Way back in
Peter Ransom, later to be elected President of the Mathematical Association,
published a fascinating article extolling the use of old scientific
instruments when teaching geometry in schools. His article makes wonderful
reading and gives the background to (and the use of) the Cross Staff, a
Horizontal Sundial and even a quadrant. Click
here for a link to this article. NB
Free registration to MyJStor allows free on line reading of this
article. A small charge is required to download and keep the whole
Mystery of a Missing Dial. Way back in September 1992
super-sleuth John Ingram
this unusual and it is believed, unique, dial where steps on a triangular block
were used to tell the time. When he returned in 2004 to York Rd on the
South Bank in London to record it for the BSS Register, it was missing!
Enquiries of the Council were all to no avail. Was it stolen or was it
lost in the then recent Jubilee Line Tube works? Click on the image for a wider
view. The telegraph pole in the middle right of the larger image is said to mark
the place where the Festival of Britain Skylon stood in 1951. Anybody able
to tell us more about it, its designer and who made it? Replies to the
Photo courtesy of J Ingram.
SunInfo opens a New Page!
- listing the HUGE bibliography of BSS
Christopher St JH Daniel MBE. Listed
here are his published
articles, the full list of his many contributions to Clocks Magazine
and even a summary of the sales of his extraordinarily popular
Shire Publications book 'Sundials'. We are delighted to be
able to provide as an academic resource the incredible output of the UK's
Have a look at Illustrating Shadows. The
website of Simon Wheaton-Smith is an excellent dialling resource with
lots of downloads, presentations, dial designs etc. Most free and all well
worth a look. You can access it
|The Sundial Removed? Here
Harriet James tells the story of the 'Simmons Bequest' that threw
up the idea that the huge dial in All Souls College Oxford might
be returned to its earlier place in the College. The early history of
the dial is here, Christopher Wren and William Oughtred both make an
appearance and all is followed by the final decision by the College.
Bulletin article dated 2006 for yourself here
Sundials to see.
A new venture for SunInfo.
Here is a changing
of dials that are worth visiting.
This time it is the Millennium Dial in Greenwich Park
in London. It was designed by BSS President Chris Daniel.
Click on the picture for a larger image
BSS 2016 Accounts finally available. Owing to what
presumed to have
been an administrative problem at the Charity Commission, anyone wishing to see
the 2016 accounts for the British Sundial
Society had not been able to view them on the Commission's website -
only the Trustees' Report was initially available. Both may be now viewed at the
(courtesy of the CC) or at the
Commission's website. The latest accounts show a welcome profit after the
earlier years of worrying losses.
a little card to carry with you to help you check a
sundial's displayed time against your watch at ANY Longitude or
Latitude in the British Isles? Hurry if you want one of the few
remaining printed versions...
Click the picture for more details!
not get The Recorder's Reference? It
provides anyone interested in dialling with a way to estimate by how much
a non-direct-south vertical dial declines and also finds the design
latitude for any horizontal dial.
Click the picture for more details!
Hans Holbein the Younger's 1533 painting
of The Ambassadors is available to view at the
National Gallery in London. However it is also available on Google's Art
Project and at astonishing resolution too - probably better than even
if you were looking at the original! It shows all sorts of early
dialling instruments as well as the famous anamorphosis. Can you
identify the instruments? Check it out
discussing the instruments can be read for free on line
Check out Three New Additions made to
SunInfo's Historical Document Archive. They are
Bibliography of BSS President Christopher Daniel's written works,
including sales figures for his Shire Publications Book 'Sundials', details of
all seventeen of his
Restoration Projects undertaken up to 2010 and a list of all his
Yvon Massé's program Calcad
has been updated. Calcad is an
easy way to
draw sundials without knowing declination, inclination or even the geographical
coordinates!... The Freeware program runs on Windows, GNU/Linux and Mac OS
X. Download it
The instruction manual can be perused
Image used with permission. 07.10.14
Lost Dials of the UK.
A new feature has been instituted here on
to present some examples of interesting but now lost UK sundials, starting with
the one at the Mansion at Bletchley Park in Buckinghamshire. Check them out
Design of a TRIPLE Horizontal
California by John Davis, more information and details of how it was
The Holes and History of the Beccles Church Dial - an anniversary!
was ten years ago in 2005 that the mystery of the holes that are pierced
in the remains of the vertical dial on Beccles Church in Suffolk was
unravelled. The BSS Registrar at that time was Patrick Powers and in an
earlier article in the BSS Bulletin he had posed the question. Quick as a
flash, two eminent BSS diallists explained it all. A second article in the
BSS Bulletin was clearly necessary!
Read that article here to find out the answer and
to have a chuckle at Roger Bowling's succinct summing up!
Pareidolia or what? Here
are two dials that seem to be
They are both in Germany. The first is in Dörnthal, Sachsen
and pareidoliathe second in Nuremberg.
How many more do you know?
A NEW Sundial Data Resource has been
Kevin Karney. Available
the page provides a wide variety of data for those interested in sundials and
solar parameters. The latest addition is to provide a high precision
calculator for the Equation of Time and the sun's position. However the
page also contains links to dial designs of his own and to animations of dial
shadows. Well worth a look!
Did you know? An
astonishing number of pictures
sundials and their pedestals can be found by searching Google®. Try
here for one amazing collection. Here you can see
both sides of a rare Melvin dial, a few other very old dials, some
heliochronometers, modern dials and of course some non-working 'garden
centre' dials as well. Well worth a look.
Want to know something about Sundials in the
hemisphere? Then there's no better introduction than the web site of the
company Sundials Australia,
owned and run by physicists and BSS Members, Margaret Folkard and John
Sundials of New Zealand. Rosaleen Robertson runs the
Sundial Association of New Zealand and also operates a Sundials
which shows some of the sundials and sundial Trails in New Zealand.
Worth a look. A list of web addresses relating to the NZ Sundial
Want to know more about sundials? Then there is no
better place to learn about all aspects of the topic than from Wikipedia!
to see this important article.
Then and Now...
NEW page has been started here on
SunInfo to show some of our sundials as they were long ago and as they
are now. The
first entry is the unusual dial at Warwick Castle - a dial which on
the face of it looks unfinished to our eyes because it has no numerals.
Yet a 1912 drawing of it shows that it possibly never had! The
second in this series concerns the famous Countess's Pillar, the
third concerns a moved dial in Rye and
Pilkington & Gibbs dial at Thornton Manor. Have a look
to see for yourself and keep coming back to see what other dials have been
added as we explore more of these interesting sundials of the UK.
►Then and Now
07.11.13, 13.11.13, 24.12.13
The James River Studio website includes a section on
and more particularly includes some excellent sundial design software which is
easy to use and understand.
It can be downloaded to your computer or run from the website, it covers
the usual horizontal/vertical options but also includes analemmatic, bifilar and
cylindrical all with easy to understand notes and even (if you want them) the
formulae too. Have a look
Sundials of Norway. There are not very many known
sundials in Norway but those that do exist are well worth looking at.
|Sun Spot Pointers.
►Sun Spot Pointers is a
sundial related Blog operated by Perry Millward. Glance through
this for interesting new information about Sundials of the World.
The Sundials of Country Life Magazine. Why not take a
tour from your
of all six pages (well, five and a bit!) of the sundial photographs that are
in the Picture Library of Country Life? Some may not even be in the
BSS Register! The Elihu Yale dial of Glemham Hall is there in 1910
though! Have a look
Groups and Websites of the World.
for a list of many Sundial related sites, their web addresses, when they
were founded and their popularity.
|Make your own paper sundial.
Fabio Savian's collection of 13 amazing designs for paper
sundials are now available to all. He has designed several but others
like Valentin Hristove and the North American Sundial Society have also
contributed designs to this excellent Sundial Atlas project. Just have a
There's even a design for a solar compass.
Or you can go back to this 2004 BBC page for Norfolk
Children. It too tells
how to make a paper sundial. It will work for most of England though
you will need to correct the reading a little if you want to measure clock
Francis Barker's Instructions for Setting a Dial.
Francis Barker of Clerkenwell was an important dial maker at the start of
the 20th Century. In 1914 he contributed a chapter about setting up a
dial to Geoffrey Henslow's Book: 'Ye Sundial Booke', 1914.
This chapter makes interesting reading.
|Edward R Martin's Mass Dial Database was
by him over many years using an early computer and specialist software
written by his son. In fact all the data was at one time thought
to be lost following a computer failure not long before Edward died. In
2002 the factual detail of the database - though sadly not his novel
customised dial diagrams - were eventually recovered for him in 2002 by
Patrick Powers but, after his death, amazingly were again mislaid until
now. This database of some 1000 mass dials includes some details that
are not now recorded even in the BSS Mass Dial Register. A guide
to Edward's novel codes for the locations of the dials on the church is
The recovered file (in PDF format) may be viewed
NB An Excel version (3.3MB) may be obtained upon
application to the
|A Day out with Edward Martin
and Mass Dials. A rare record of a day which CLIVE FEWINS of the
Independent spent with the late Edward Martin. It was on
Saturday 20 July 1996, when they looked at the marvellous mass dials on
St Peter's Church in Hanwell near Banbury. Click
HERE to read it.
Spot dials from your Armchair!
Courtesy of Google Street View® have a look at some dials that can be
seen on it. Keep coming to look at what's new!
Just click on this link. Over twenty now recorded. One of the
dials to be added is
BSS Trustee David Brown's Olympic sundial. St
Botolph's Church double dial in Cambridge is another.
When next in Northern Ireland why not visit the
sundials of Carnfunnock Country Park's Time Garden on the
coast road near Larne, Co Antrim, NI. See what's there
(New replacement link)
Reasons to revisit a Registered Dial. Many BSS Members
send in reports of dials to the Registrar for inclusion in the National
Register. Although at first glance it might not seem to be necessary to
revisit an already recorded dial, this is not the case since repeated
visits over time provide a record of a dial's changing condition and also
can provide more information about the dial than might have been noticed
earlier. In October 2007, BSS Member John Ingram
sent in his amusing and rather 'tongue in cheek' list of ten reasons for
revisiting a dial. Read them
The Official Opening of the Brighton Emmaus Community
conducted by Dr. Robert Smith (University of Sussex) on Saturday, June 29th
2013 at the Emmaus Open Day by uncovering the midday-stone at 1 p.m.
Sir Patrick Moore recorded the following instruction last September to be
played at the opening ceremony. “Congratulations, Here we go! Uncover the
Midday Stone.” See more
'Induce Animum Sapientem'.
There is an interesting sundial web site
is operated by dial makers
Peter and Yvonne Daykin. It is devoted to the sundials of
Derbyshire and is well worth a look. Their Home Page is
More than twenty five dials are shown, some modern and some old. The
famous Eyam dial is there too! Its motto is the one opening this paragraph.
It means (roughly!) "Cultivate an Enquiring Mind", something that
could be the motto of this webpage.
The Sundial at All Saints'
now been restored. Installation took place during Saturday 25th May
2013 and the sun actually shone for the occasion! A picture* of it complete,
but just before installation is
As well as the ordinary problems associated with any dial restoration this
one had a few more! Some initial information can be seen
BSS Members an article about the restoration is in the June 2014 edition of
the BSS Bulletin. Alternatively, a copy of the same article may
be read by everyone
*Perspective slightly adjusted in view of the difficulty of photographing
such a large object indoors!
10.01.13, 06.02.13, 09.05.13, 29.05.13, 17.06.14
Want to learn a bit about sundials? Here are a few
slides that have been taken from a presentation given recently to a UK
Probus Group. (2MB PDF download)
Click on the title:
"But it's Wrong!"
facts about BSS. Here
are details of the Society, the members of its Council and its erratic
management, its appointed and excellent Specialists, how to access its website
and its Facebook page, how (and why!) to join the Society, how to send
payments to BSS via credit card or PayPal and many recent annual accounts.
In fact more or less everything you need to know about BSS is here - warts and
all! There's even help for BSS Members who may like to understand the background
to some of the worrying oddities in today's management of the society.
A Disquieting Anniversary] [A
[Now the Disquieting Book
Interested to have access to more information about the
operation of BSS? Then why not go to our private BSS
Members page. [Password access available upon prior registration
Medway Council eliminates one of the Nation's most
important sundials! In an
move, Medway Council in Kent has chosen to take down one of the most famous
sundials in the country, SRN2936 in the National Register, which was in
Railway Street, Chatham and which commemorates both the day and the time of the
death of Admiral Lord Nelson. The dial was designed over twenty years ago by
Christopher Daniel MBE, the President of the British Sundial Society, and it has
been a major feature of the town since then. It is a dial known to thousands
both in the UK and overseas.
The worrying thing is that there is currently a
suggestion of it being placed in a museum - all rather suggesting that
the problem of reinstallation had never been considered let alone
planned. More can be found about this in the article in the 9th
March edition of
Kent on Line.
Click here to read more.
Click here to read Chris Daniel's
1995 article about the original installation and how Chatham regarded it
Hint: In 1995 it was then regarded as the
'Jewel in the Crown' of a £5.5M investment to improve the
environment of Chatham! How the Council's knowledge of the town has
see the further
Kent on Line
article about this -
here and go
here to read
NASS's comment of 14th April on this worrying development. BSS also became
involved in this on 15.03.17 and they too have written to the Council. Let
us hope that Medway Council reconsider.
Now the local MP (Tracey Crouch) is involved and the
Nelson Society has been informed.
If you wish to register your concern about
this most unwelcome development the contact is Alan Jarrett,
Leader of Medway
Council, Gun Wharf, Dock Road, Chatham,
Kent, ME4 4TR.
09.03.17, 16.04.17, 27.04.17 (Photo and article
C StJH Daniel MBE)
Just imagine! Places where
ordinary sundials work in the summer
but not in the winter - even when they might be bathed in sunshine
throughout the year? You might think this cannot be but in Viganella
in Italy and now in Rjukan in Norway that is so. How so?
A look at the Savoy Centenary Sundial The Savoy
Hotel was founded in 1889 and 100
later in 1989, Christopher Daniel was commissioned to design a dial to celebrate
that event and of course to mark its foundation by Richard D'Oyly
Carte. Look at some of the images of how it is today and read the
extensive description at its base.
The dial is 610 mm in diameter and takes the form of a
four ring type armillary sphere.
See more of this
dial today here
The National Trust and the 'Housewife's Trick'?
The garden at the wonderful Wisbech
'Peckover House' is especially lovely at this time of year. Not only
that but there is a sundial just outside the greenhouse which greatly
enhances that part of the garden. Odd therefore that when these
images were taken - it was at 09:21 GMT in March - the dial was showing
just over 10:30!
Surely the NT has not succumbed to AP Herbert's rather
unfairly named 'Housewife's Trick' whereby a sundial is turned so as to
indicate summer time? Given its age and the extent of corrosion
present it's hard to read this dial exactly and thereby to work out just
how much the dial has been turned but, despite every diallist's 'horror'
at such a practice, it has to be said that
in summer, in
the middle part of the day and at the latitude of the UK
it is not quite so inaccurate as one might think. At least it might help
to prevent the frequent comment made by members of the public when
checking a sundial with a watch, of 'It's wrong'. So maybe the
misjudged housewife has done us a service after all?
Check out the dials on the Burlingham Walks of Norfolk.
of Annabel Payne, see the new website, which covers some of her father David's
dials that have been carefully located in the woodland trails located North of
Lingwood Village. The 3,000 acre estate was acquired by Norfolk County Council
in the early years of the 20th century and became part of a scheme to provide
farms for heroes returning from the First World War. See more of this site
A Courtesy for Meridian Line users provided free by Spot On Sundials!
The original brass Spot-On
was designed by Piers Nicholson and introduced to the market in 2001. Since
then, more than 900 customers all over the world have bought them as presents
for big occasions or simply for their own pleasure. To help enable the set up of
any dial Piers also produced a very handy web based Time of Noon calculator
It's also useful as a free resource when
predicting when the image of the sun will pass any meridian line in the world!
The table produced
shows the local clock times (CET) for solar Noon every day of the year for the
meridian line in the Basilica S. Maria degli
Angeli e dei Martiri in Rome which is at 41.9031N, 12.4969E. Just add one
hour when your sighting is during summer when CEST applies. Neat.
11.10.17 [Published with permission P Nicholson]
Hitchin's Physic Garden Sundial This month's dial is
the most unusual one that is in
so-called Physic Garden. The garden commemorates the first commercial
production of herbs in 1846 by William Ransom, a member of a prominent local
Quaker family. It opened on 20th May 1990 in the grounds of Hitchin
library and museum in Paynes Park. It is divided into four sections: Household;
the William Ransom border; External Ailments; Internal Ailments. It contains a
most unusual 1990 sundial in the form or a mortar and pestle dedicated to a late
president of the Trust. The motto reads "Disease doth oft rise above
medicine". Click the image for a larger version. The dial was designed and made by Joanna
Migdal (now Lady White).
A chance to read about Seasonal Markers
for Analemmatic Sundials. In 2006
Bailey published his article on Seasonal Markers for Analemmatic Sundials.
Written to answer questions such as “Can a sundial be used to follow the sun
through the seasons?” or
"Is there a point in an analemmatic sundial that can be used with the
Zodiac date line to show where the sun rises?”. The answer is of course
Read Roger's account in this link to his own website
24.07.18 [EU C-466/12]
Previously unknown UK sundial location
revealed! The National Trust property of
Park in Nottinghamshire recently suffered from the drought. The building that once
stood on here was Clumber House - a grand 18th-Century mansion which was
demolished in 1938 after a series of fires and the then economic downturn.
In the present drought, rooms and corridors of the old house have
become visible as stone foundations left in the ground heated up more quickly
than surrounding material, scorching the soil above to a lighter shade.
Although the location of the lost mansion is well known, amazingly the
location of a previously unknown sundial in front of the lawn has been
see this image..
More about this and
other drought related discoveries from the BBC here
The Good News and Bad News about a
Dial. The discovery of a rarely seen great
dial is rightly good news, as is the fact that clearly the dial in question has
recently been carefully repainted. So, what then might be the bad news in the
heading to this entry?
This dial has only recently been recorded. It is in Amptill in
Bedfordshire, UK and the facts about it were the subject of an article in
SunInfo's Dial Time 2018. Read about its problems
Bodnant Garden in Tal-y-Cafn, nr Colwyn Bay, Wales
a National Trust property in the Snowdonia foothills.
nearly 80-acres (32 ha) it holds a collection made by several
famous global explorers. More importantly for some it is
also the home to an interesting Pilkington and Gibbs sundial,
complete with a bronze base plate which indicates compass
directions and the directions of some local landmarks. On 8th May
1906 George James Gibbs was granted a patent on a mechanical
‘universal’ equinoctial meantime sundial. Mr Gibbs went into
partnership with a William Renard Pilkington to form Messrs
Pilkington & Gibbs of Ribble Bank Mills, Preston Lancashire and to
produce the heliochronometer.
Click the image or HERE
for a close up image of this interesting dial.
13.09.21 Thumbnail © Copyright Richard Hoare, Main image
© P Strudwick
Elaborate Multiple Dial
Constructed by Gary Breeze from
Yorkstone, this fascinating dial stands on a circular pad set in
the lawn near the Cottage Garden at Chatsworh. It includes a
scaphe dial delineated for 6am to 6pm. a polar dial and an
equatorial dial. Interestingly dots are used to mark some
intermediate hours. Two equatorial dials follow and the two sides
display direct East and West dials. Additionally included on the
ediface are the names, directions and distances of over 40
Derbyshire stone circles and earthworks. The dial is registered as
SRN7645 in the National Register.
Click on the image or
HERE to see a
selection of views of this dial. The images can be magnified to
give a closer view.
VL Thomson, 2021
Fer De Vries' article
of the month April 2004
This month Fer discusses
Dials' - dials that use chimneys as their support and which often
- though not always use more than one surface to display a dial.
These in Fer's article are thought to date back as far as
Click the image or
read Fer's article.
BSS's First Chairman
- Andrew Somerville
This entry includes a link to the
of Andrew Somerville, first Chairman of the British Sundial
It is to be found as the first article of the June
1990 edition of the Society's Bulletin which also (courtesy of
BSS) includes a number of other interesting articles too.
HERE to read the PDF of this historic BSS edition as
it is on their website..
retained and as amended]
Five Years On at
It is now just over five years since SunInfo
the dial at Canons Ashby to find that when measured for accuracy
in March 2016 and with its displayed solar time duly corrected for
both longitude and EoT it proved to be a very acceptable 3m 30s
The dial was delineated by Richard Glynne who
served his apprenticeship under Henry Wynne and was admitted to
the Guild of Clockmakers in 1705. Click on the image or
a few views of how the dial is today.
If you want to see
what we said about the dial in 2016 and the measurements we took
click on the link HERE
An excellent dial.
The Sol Horometer -
A falling out of Directors?
In 1906 Gibbs applied for a patent for a
of sundial he had designed—the Universal Equinoctial Mean Time
Heliochronometer or Gibbs Heliochronometer for short—which was
able to accurately determine GMT to within a minute at any time of
the year and at any latitude.
The invention filled a gap in
the market created by the standardization of time in the 1880s
which was only truly alleviated with the broadcast of the BBC pips
in the 1920s. Unable to fund the business venture himself he found
a willing partner in his then employer, William Renard Pilkington,
and together they formed Messrs. Pilkington & Gibbs Ltd. in 1906.
The price ranged from £7 10s to £15 15s and promotional material
indicates they were supplied to a number of important patrons
around the world including HM The King. They were marketed
simultaneously as accurate time-keepers and garden ornaments and
were supplied to owners of large, country estates. As an ornament,
they fitted into the early twentieth century trends in landscape
architecture and were used in garden designs by Mawson and
The lucrative possibilities of the
Heliochronometer did not escape the attention of Gibbs' partner
Pilkington who applied for a patent in his own right for his own
"Sol Horometer" in 1911 and another two years
Gibbs obtained a copy of the patents and noted on
both: “First [and second] attempt to find a way to escape paying
royalties to GJG”. This might have become difficult except
that production of sundials by the company ceased with the
out-break of WW1 in 1914 from when there is no record of the
partnership continuing in any capacity after 1923. Roughly 1,000
heliochronometers were made before 1914 but many did not survive
the recycling of metal in the later WW2. Click on the image
for a larger version of the image..
. A new issue of
A new issue of Orologi Solari is available for download from the
http://www.orologisolari.eu/. Here is the list of articles
together with a short abstract:
1. "The horizontal sundial
of Euporus - The <intended> latitude" by Paolo Albèri Auber
horizontal sundial, studied by many researchers, was found in the
Circus of Aquileia. Some conclusions, completely wrong according
to the author, were published and misled even qualified personnel
of the museum environments. The present technical criticism can
hopefully be supportive of a correct interpretation of the
2. "The lunar sundial in Villafranca of Verona"
by Riccardo Anselmi
The layout and purpose of one of the five
sundials in Villafranca of Verona (Sundial Atlas IT5596) is
analyzed in detail. Upon examination, the sundial reveals to be a
dial to be used with moonlight and that, unique in the world,
indicates the hours missing to the sunset of the Moon.
"About the name of hours - For a more correct gnomonic lexicon -
first part" by Mario Arnaldi
Today many gnomonic terms are
used, unconsciously or not, incorrectly. The habit of a certain
phrase book has become so common – even among the gnomonists
themselves – and sediments so tenaciously in the collective
language that the reappropriation of a correct terminology could
recall the epic clash of Don Quixote with the windmills. In this
article the author proposes his meditations.
amplitude Marker in analemmatic sundials" by Giuseppe De Donà
The author describes the choice he made in positioning the Markers
of sunrise and sunset in the analemmatic sundial made at Follo of
Valdobbiadene. He recalls the authors who have already dealt with
this subject and compares the differences in terms of direction
and time resulting from the choice of a Solstice Marker compared
to other possible solutions.
5. "25 numbers of ‘Orologi
Solari’" by Editorial board
A brief report is made about the
content (quantity and type of articles, columns) and about the
readers use (online downloads and purchase of paper copies) of the
first 25 issues of the magazine ‘Orologi Solari’.
was a dark and stormy night - The true temporal hours and vertical
hours" by Fabio Savian
The time system of temporal hours
corresponds to a more complex definition than in the common
interpretation, enclosing an original conception of division of
the diurnal arc based on the vertical angle described by Ptolemy.
The evolution in identical intervals, as understood today, is the
result of a process influenced by astronomy that led to the
construction of sundials with true temporal hours, although the
vertical angle was used in gnomonics until the beginning of the
7. "Peaucellier Hybrid Sundials: gnomonic
projects you’ve never seen before" by Fred Sawyer
investigates the various strategies to design an azimuthal
horizontal sundial with hour and diurnal rectilinear lines: it
follows the approach by Charles-Nicolas Peaucellier in the 19th
century, and then he expands the solution to sundials with
"almost" straight lines.
Fer De Vries' article
of the month March 2004
On a sunny day, a
in Utrecht stands on the analemmatic sundial on the Janskerkhof.
Not only does he read the time, but his shadow moves
clockwise, and he had not expected otherwise.
little experiment performed in Capetown would show the shadow to
move counter-clockwise. It is even more fun between the tropics.
Click the image or
to see more.
Fer De Vries' article
of the month February 2004
This month's article was
by Hans de Rijk.
This article shows what happened when
Hans discovered a misaligned sundial in a churchyard...
Click the image to find out...
Fer De Vries' article
of the month January 2004
This month's article
Fer De Vries shows a very special sundial, or rather a triple
sundial. It is barely visible on a buttress of the Large Church in
Yet there are three vertical sundials, facing
north-east, south-east and south-west.
This triple dial was
probably made in the 17th century.
The Frogner Park
Just outside Oslo in Frogner Park there lies the Gustav Vigeland
Park which is dedicated to the display of the many sculptures of
Adolf Gustav Thorsen who later changed his name to Gustav
Vigeland. Amongst these and designed and constructed in 1930,
is an interesting half armillary sundial with an Equation of Time
correction analemma appropriately positioned to be read by the
observer using the shadow of the attached nodus.
It is made of bronze on a granite
pedestal which has inset niches depicting the signs of the zodiac.
Click the image or HERE
for a larger view. There is also another sundial on the nearby manor
house. Be sure to find it when you next visit Oslo.
Fer De Vries'
article of the month December 2003
In this article Fer
his commentary about definitions relating to dialling.
This time he discusses style height again in a little more
detail and then looks at the 'Translation Rule' which makes it
possible to calculate or construct a randomly oriented sundial
simply as a horizontal sundial
Click the image or
to read his interesting article made available here courtesy of
the Dutch Sundial Society,
Was it really all
down to Railway Time?
It is often said that the need for
Railway Time was the reason that GMT was adopted throughout the
UK. That is of course partially true but there were several other
factors involved, not least the pub landlords of London and the
mill owners of Lancashire.
Courtesy of the most excellent
book ‘About Time’ by David Rooney we can really see how the use of
GMT arose and developed.
HERE to read a short summary about this.
Click on the image to see more of the picture of Blackburn's
former Market Hall and its Time Ball. Now sadly lost.
The Dial at
Another lost original dial has been replaced at
Court in the garden there. Heather Muir created the wonderful
garden, which until 1920 had consisted of a paved formal garden in
front of the portico.
Heather was helped and inspired by her
lifelong friend Lawrence Johnston of Hidcote Manor which is
close-by but it was Heather who decided that the garden should
develop organically, rather than by planning everything firstr.
This has given the garden a distinctly feminine feel, almost in
direct contrast to the more masculine lines being employed by
Johnston at Hidcote. A more recent development has been the
addition of the new water garden that was once the tennis court.
The original dial has long gone and the inset in the top has been
strangely filled but the replacement dial has character. Click the
image or HERE
to see more detail.
The Dire Dial of
The gardens of Hidcote Bartrim in
are deservedly well known and admired by all. In 'Mrs Winthrop's Garden' there is
a sundial (SRN 5903) which has, like so many others,
suffered from theft over the years. Today's version though is
frankly a bit of a mess. Set on a lovely 1789 pedestal is a poor
modern dial of the wrong size and with a rather twee motto. On top
of that the dial is not properly aligned. How much better with a
better dial but how much greater the risk of another theft?
Check out the
dial HERE and
judge for yourself.
Erin Beeston on his
'Relics of a Railway
Liverpool Road Station in Manchester has owned a quite spectacular
vertical sundial for over 180 years which has been an object of
fascination for over a century. In 1929 the sundial was removed
from a plinth outside and placed in the offices of Grundy, the
goods agent at the station until 1931. The sundial also featured
in the Liverpool Echo in 1937, when it was photographed outside
with a member of staff. We next see it in a 1939 Pathé film. Read
Erin Beeston's interesting article
HERE Click the image for a larger version
22.06.21 Courtesy Science &
Fer De Vries'
article of the month November 2003
This month Fer takes
look at what causes the shadow on a dial. The Style triangle, the
Gnomon, the Pole style, Substyle and the Style height
excellent shadow caster. this gnomon is a part of an old English
horizontal dial, but could also serve on other, randomly oriented,
Fer discusses some terms associated with such a
'shadow caster'. Click
read the article as a PDF.
Fer De Vries'
article of the month October 2003
For the month of
2003 Fer De Vries took the concept of Shadow Dials.
Shadow sundials was an idea
of Hans de Rijk, published in the Dutch Sundial Society Bulletin
of "De Zonnewijzerkring" nr. XI, 1982.
Read Fer's article
Theme & Variations -
Many British dials include mottoes and
of those have similar versions. Here attached as a PDF is
list of mottoes known to SunInfo and
found by many diallists over the years often from unrecorded
sources. Not only can the reader see here a list of these mottoes
but, in this presentation, you can see many of the variations that
can also be found on UK dials.
to see the list of dial mottoes as known so far.
If you know of
others or other variations please do let the webmaster know the
wording and the details of the dial on which it has been found.
Thanks especially to all who have so kindly contributed to this
A Collection of
Scottish sundials of the renaissance period
surely unique. Many are free standing stone sculptures of the 17th
and 18th centuries with many small dials engraved on them.
Accurate timetelling is often not the aim. Precision is sacrificed
for decorative effective and the mathematical complexity of the
dials is often decoration enough. The ancient sundials of Scotland
can be grouped into three main styles: lectern, obelisk and
facet-head though there are many more conventional ones too.
Have a look at this Scottish Dial Register of
over 100 Dials pictured
Fer De Vries' article of the month
This month's article
the late Fer De Vries concerns Bifilar sundials with negative
It is a comment concerning a (then) new(ish) development
in bifilar gnomonics.
The idea came from: Fabio Savian, Italy.
The horizontal bifilar sundial with two crossing wires as a shade
device was invented in 1923, by Hugo Michnik of Germany.
Read fer's article
Fer De Vries' article of the month
The latest Fer De Vries
in our series considers the matter of a wide style triangle
Flat pole style sundials usually carry a style
The straight edge is the actual style, the shadow of
which indicates the hour.
The designer is otherwise free in his
choice of shape.
Read Fer's article
An amusing garden
But in no way should this be described as a
sundial. Here's your challenge! How many aspects of
this garden ornament can you see that fail to make it a workable
sundial. This has to be one of the best yet.
Click on the image to
see a larger version from which you can see at least three generic
problems. Do you know of a dial that is similarly incorrect though
well made as an ornament. Send your images to the
Fer De Vries' article of the month
interesting article Fer
the confusion over the meaning of the word Analemma.
Ptolemeus who lived in Alexandria around 140 AD, copied the
Roman architect Vitruvius in using the word for an ingenious
projection of the celestial globe on the meridian plane.
Read Fers article
or click on the image to read the next in Fer's interesting
Fer De Vries' article of the month
do we count the hours? It sounds easy but is it?
It sounds simple enough, but in our daily lives, we use two
Read Fer's article of the month
or click on the image. It is in PDF format.
Treasures of Bromley House Library
Dr Anja Thompson-Rohde, who is the Senior Librarian
the Bromley House Library in Nottingham, regularly gives a short
talk on You Tube about some of the Treasures in the Library. The
library is one of very few remaining subscription libraries in the
UK and was founded in 1816. It holds the BSS Library and with it the
Christopher Daniel Book collection. In September 2020 talks
were presented about four books held in the BSS Collection. These
four talks may be heard
HERE. There is more
HERE too. As a subscriptionlibrary
Bromley House is only open to paid up BH members and to BSS
Graham Aldred first suggested that this
library might be an excellent venue for the Society's books since
the private house where they were then being held was being
sold (!) and a new place was clearly urgently needed. Particularly
appropriate was the fact that at Bromley House there is both a
meridian line and a Pilkington and Gibbs heliochronometer. Graham
spoke with a trustee of Bromley House who happened to be attending
a talk at a BSS meeting and an agreement was subsequently reached.
Graham then personally repaired and serviced the Pilkington and Gibbs dial -
it turned out that the EoT cam had been wrongly fitted - and now
BSS Members and all paidup Bromley Library Members may peruse
these books at their leisure and perhaps also observe the sun's
transit and even check the time by the sun during their visit!
31.03.21, 02.04.21 (Image thumbnail
courtesy Bromley House Library)
Fer De Vries' article of the month
May 2003 At what time is the
sun due south?
answer is often, "at twelve o'clock". That is correct when we mean
XII hours apparent solar time, but here, we want something else.
In order properly to orient a sundial,
it is necessary to know the north-south direction, and it is good
fun to find that direction using the sun and a good watch.
The question now becomes: What time does
our watch read when the sun is due south (north)?
And that will rarely be twelve o'clock
or on the image here to link to Fer's article.
20.03.21 © De Zonnewijzerkring, 2021
BSS Bulletin for March 2021 The
latest BSS Bulletin -Vol 33(i) - has recently been published by
the Society. This month's contents include:
Time for Recreation
and Re-Creation. Part 2: The Re-birth of a Large Polyhedral
Sundial - David Brown
Obituary: Mike Isaacs - Douglas Bateman
The Tetracycle Dial - Mark Lennox-Boyd
Newly Reported Dials,
2020 - John Foad
The Equation of Time at Kew - Andrew Hodgson
Restoration of the Kinloch Anderson Sundial in Edinburgh -
Square and Compasses- Jill Wilson and Christine
Daniel Nithsdale, alias Nistel - Simon Bateman
‘Large Acres’ Sundial - Sue Manston
Sundials, Guardsmen and
Scarecrows- Valery Dmitriev
In the Footsteps of Thomas Ross.
Part 34: Some Sundials from Cupar, Kinross and Alloa - Dennis
Also included in this edition is the
Trustees 2020 Annual Report and the BSS Accounts for
the Year Ended 31 December 2020, with associated other reports.
The Accounts show a substantial reduction in expenditure but still
with a small reduction in total available funds. A copy of
the Accounts will be made available here soon.
Fer De Vries' article of the month April 2003
This month's entry involves the
of the bands of an armillary sphere - using their latin
identification from long ago.
This clear description proves
an interesting way to discover the detail that is represented on
any properly constructed Armillary Sundial.
or on the thumbnail to see a PDF of the details.
07.03.21 © De Zonnewijzerkring, 2021
Clifton Park Dial, Rotherham
The refurbished Grade II listed Walker Sundial
Clifton Park has been unveiled in its new home–the park’s walled
The stone structure was commissioned and made by
sundial maker Samuel Walker in 1739.
Samuel (1715-1782) ran a
School at Grenoside until 1746, but boosted his income by making
sundials. Now they are regarded as of historic importance. In the
1970s, his sundial was moved from its previous home at Ferham
House and placed in the sunken garden behind the Clifton Park
Museum. It stood there until about eight years ago when it was
laid flat after being damaged by vandals. Click the image or go
HERE for more
details, its history and a larger image.
De Vries' article of the month March 2003 Fer wrote: It
just came to us
out of the blue.
"A drawing of a sundial with
calculations (1730), made for William IV, probably for the
construction the sundial in the Prinsenhof garden in Groningen".
That, to the Dutch Sundial Society,
not surprisingly was interesting! Click the image or
for the article
De Zonnewijzerkring, 2021
De Vries' article of the month Feb 2003
How much time is sundial time?
we design a sundial for an arbitrary plane, we will also have to
determine which hour lines to add.
This choice depends on two factors:
- The sun should be above the horizon
where the sundial is located, i.e. it should be day
- The sun should be on the correct side
of the dial plane
See how to solve for these issues.
or by clicking the image.
08.02.21 © De Zonnewijzerkring, 2021
Sundial Guide for the Extremadura Region of Spain.
The first edition of the
of Sundials for the Extremadura region (interior SW) of Spain was
published this last summer. An electronic version of this
guide (in pdf format) can now be downloaded free of charge.
Although this PDF is the full document in Spanish complete with
images, the online page for individual dials can be read in most
languages by simply right clicking and turning on Google
HERE to explore this excellent Register of
Dials or click on the image here.
De Vries' article of the month Jan 2003
Here is Dutch diallist Fer De Vries'
available article for the Dutch Sundial Society. It
introduces the reader to the analemmatic sundial and as usual with
Fer's contributions it add a little twist to our normal use for
this type of dial.
The article may be viewed in full by
clicking on the thumbnail image or
10.01.21 © De Zonnewijzerkring, 2021
The Möbius Strip Noon-Mark at Brown University
Several years ago (in the
Brown University alumnus Charlie Giancarlo presented
students at the University’s School of Engineering with a grand
to fund the installation of a sculpture to be placed in front of
Brown’s new Engineering Research Centre. He envisioned something
that would represent the rigour of engineering work, but have
artistic beauty as well. He wanted something that people could
touch and interact with, yet would last a long time, at least as
long as the engineering building itself. Most importantly, he
wanted it to be a means of telling time by tracking the sun — a
sundial. He challenged students to come up with a striking design
that met all those criteria and to then oversee its fabrication
A student group
took up the challenge, and the result of more than two years of
work — a stainless steel Noon Mark measuring 15 feet long and 4
feet high — was recently installed. The piece, titled “Infinite
Possibility,” is in the form of a Möbius
Strip with a Noon Mark analemma at one end..
Napier Dial At the southernmost
tip of Africa, about two hours drive from
lies the town of Napier, a natural and historical delight for
visitors to South Africa. This little town lies at foot of the
Soetmuisberg Mountain Range and is home to many tourist
attractions, not least the Napier Sundial.
Locally accepted as the largest sundial,
as well as the only vertical one, in South Africa.
The Napier Sundial was erected by Danie
du Toit in 1965, after years of observing the movements of the
sun. It was when he read an article written by CJ Langenhoven on
sundials which had been reprinted in 1936, that his interest was
piqued. This sparked in Du Toit a special desire to create his own
sundial. Click on the thumbnail
image for a larger version.
He duly approached the local
municipality, which provided the materials and allowed him to
erect the sundial outside the Municipal offices. It took him 18
months just to complete the markings for each minute - all based
solely on his observations of the shadow on the dial. A most
unusual example of a dial being constructed by observation.
accompanying table, which explains the corrections between the
sundial’s time and standard time, it seems the time of day can
still be determined to within an accuracy of 30 seconds.
New Coulsdon Dial Peter Ransom
has recently prepared the calculations for a
to honour the history of the clock tower that stood pride of place
at the former Can Hill mental asylum hospital, Coulsdon. It
sits in the centre of what is now the Cane Hill Park development
and it represents the diverse history of Coulsdon whilst
acknowledging ‘noon’ not so much as 12pm, but the moment when the
sun is at its highest point in the sky above that specific place.
Richard Jackson, a committee member of
the residents’ association, called the sundial “exciting”, and
said of the designer of the dial: “Holly Graham has produced a
work of art that used historical documents left by the hospital
residents, which includes a useful sundial.
amillary sundial was erected in Edinburgh in
of the opening of the International Exhibition by Prince Albert
Victor of Wales on 8th May 1886.
Shields on the sundial
are carved with a crown, the arms of Edinburgh, a lion rampant and
a castle. One inscription on the sundial reads, " Tak tent o' time
ere time be tint" or 'Take account of time before your time is
Quarry names are also on the blocks making up
the shaft of the sundial. and on each of the lower facings several
sayings. source: www.rcahms.gov.uk)
GARDEN’S HIDDEN SHOPPING VILLAGE
When Seven is Six! Seven Dials was
laid out by Thomas Neale, MP in the early 1690s, who cleverly laid
out the area in a series of triangles to maximise the number of
houses as, at the time, rentals were charged per foot of frontage
and not per square foot of interiors.
The names of the
seven streets were chosen with the intention of attracting
affluent residents, however some of the names have subsequently
been simplified or changed because of duplication with other
streets in London. They were originally: Little and Great Earl
Street (now Earlham Street), Little and Great White Lyon Street
(now Mercer Street), Queen Street (now Shorts Gardens) and Little
& Great St. Andrew’s Street (now Monmouth Street). Some of the
original street signs can still be seen attached to buildings in
Neale commissioned England’s leading stonemason,
Edward Pierce, to design and construct the Sundial Pillar in
1693-4 as the centrepiece of his development in Seven Dials. The
Pillar was topped by six sundial faces, the seventh ‘style’ being
the column itself. [Click on the thumbnail for a larger version]
In its day it was regarded as one of London’s ‘great
public ornaments’ along with the layout and identity of the area
World Sundial Webcam
A project that aims to visualize the rotation of
earth and therefore produce a real sense of the rotation at the
observer is being established. It uses a website with live web
camera streams from partner stations showing shadows of gnomons as
they cross Noon LAT. The website displays the live stream of an
automatically selected web camera. The selection is based on the
actual availability, according L.A.T., and local weather
conditions. These partner stations transfer their live stream to
the server and hence to the Internet.
encouraged from anyone wishing to provide a webcam - details at
Mystery of an
Ancient Roman Gnomon Deciphered.
corrected a decades-old misconception about the famous
relationship between the Ara Pacis, consecrated in 9 B.C., and the
Obelisk of Montecitorio, a 6th century B.C. Egyptian relic that
was brought from Heliopolis to Rome by Augustus, the empire’s
founder. The researchers’ models revealed that the true
significance of the interaction between the monuments was not
after all, the shadow on the Ara Pacis, but the location of the
sun itself. Simulations showed that the Ara Pacis and the Obelisk
of Montecitorio were aligned so that, when viewed from the nearby
Via Flaminia, the obelisk would appear from behind the Ara Pacis
with the sun positioned at its tip. This celestial phenomenon
would have occurred not on Augustus’ birthday but on October 9,
the date of the festival of the Temple of Palatine Apollo.
Read more of this interesting discovery.
A Tale of Two Dials
Our picture here shows the very famous dial at Queens' College
but there was once a very similar look-alike in Copenhagen; so
similar that a natural question arises as to whether one
influenced the other, or whether they are both descended from some
It is not known who designed the look-alike
dial design but it is currently attributed to Christen Sørensen
Longomontanus (1562–1647), a pupil of Tycho Brahe, who became
professor of mathematics in the University of Copenhagen in 1607.
Click the image here to read more about the Old Court Dial in
and then turn to read about the Copenhagen look-alike!
WD& HO Wills
Several decades ago the cigarette companies
insert give-away cards in their packs of cigarettes to encourage
sales. These were issued on all sorts of topics in the hope that
customers would collect them and so keep buying their packs.
The practice didn't last but even in the 1950's Wills kept the
machinery maintained in case a 'cigarette card war' started again.
Here we have a link to the cards that they printed on Sundials -
with that for Wimborne Minster shown in the thumbnail. Click that
image to be able to see the obverse and reverse of these cards.
There is a short decription of each dial on the reverse of each
21.10.20 Courtesy picclick.co.uk
The Rousham Sundial
We last visited this dial in 2018 but it is always
another visit. This time with some close ups of the
dialplate and with the information (from the owner no less) that
it is currently quite badly misaligned after some boisterous
children had knocked it over a few years ago and, in the process
of properly securing it, it has simply been fixed upright again.
We have been told it will be looked at when time permits.
Click on the image for more information about
this lovely dial by Dolland which despite a little wear can still
be read in all respects. Its many scales make this a true
scientific instrument set in the lovely gardens of Rousham -
particularly with its marvellous dahlia display this autumn.
The Dial at Fountains
Fountains Hall is a Grade 1 listed country house in
(N Yorks) which has a sundial over the front entrance. Amazingly
the dial is not mentioned in the listing and this might account
for its current state. It is a Direct South Dial the gnomon of
which is currently slightly twisted. The lower part of the carved
sandstone dialplate is also badly weathered. Nonetheless it
is all still largely visible and it is well worth a look if you
happen to be in the area. Click on the image here to see a larger
to see its setting over the entrance door.
Images courtesy VL Thomson © VLThomson 2020
The History of the
Here's an interesting article about the
of the Countess's Pillar, one of the more famous dials in Britain
which was restored recently by Christopher Daniel. The dials and
the pillar were placed there by Lady Anne Clifford, the
last of all the Cliffords, who by her force of character and
charitable works left her mark on her property and a legend in the
county of Westmorland that remain to this day. The link here is to
chapter four of "A Tour In Westmorland by Sir Clement Jones,
published 1948". It makes interesting reading. Her
charitable gift is still in existence and is managed as a named
charity by the local council! Click the image here of the South
dial to read more about this remarkable 17thC lady and her works.
15.09.20 [EU C-466/12]
The Sundials of New
Twenty Years ago, the UK's famous dial
Harriet James, publlshed an interesting article about the history
of dialling at New College Oxford. She then magnificently
ended her article with a description of her own addition to the
College on the Muniment Tower.
This turned out to be a bit
of a saga which Harriet bravely reported for the benefit of all
diallists and she acknowledged the help and advice of others in
getting this quite magnificent dial installed. Those of us
who have our own experience of the design and installation of
large dials know only too well just what problems can arise.
Her end result of a 20 second accuracy is remarkable and her
account of this in her article linked below is well worth reading
or even re-reading!.
Harriet's article of the dials of New College
15.09.20 [EU C-466/12]
The Dennis Cowan
Over the years Sundiallist Dennis Cowan
put together a number of quite fascinating sundial trails of
Scottish dials. Readers will know that Scottish dials
frequently have a style all of their own but despite their
relative rarity there are many such that are well worth looking
at. Despite this they are not shown as much as you might imagine.
So, over the next weeks and with Dennis's gracious permission,
SunInfo intends to feature a few of these
Our first trail encompasses the dials of the
Royal Mile in Edinburgh including those to be seen there in the
National Museum of Scotland. The image here shows a lectern
sundial, dated 1781, from Cantray in Aberdeenshire, with the
monogram DD (David Duncan) and with dials for 13 locations around
the world. These are Cantray, Peking, Goa, Rome, Jerusalem, Cairo,
Naples, Syracuse, Ozaca, Troy, Smyrna, Bengal and Paris. This
sundial was gifted to the museum around 1931 by Miss EM Davidson.
It is of grey sandstone. Just compare the complexity of this
Scottish dial of 1781 with the English dial in Alnwick of the not
dissimilar date of 1737 which is shown lower down on this page.
Click on the thumbnail to see a larger image. The full trail can
be downloaded as a PDF
Enjoy your trip!
02.09.20 By kind permission of D Cowan.
Twenty years on!
To mark the Millennium Amble Council in
commissioned a firm of architects in Newcastle to turn their
asphalted car park into a civic amenity. A part of this was to be
a large central sundial and Patrick Powers was commissioned to
design it. During a recent visit to Northumberland a visit was
made to see how the dial has fared after nearly twenty years! It turns out to be in
remarkably good shape. Clearly the area is being very well
maintained and is well worth visiting if you are in the area. The
dial was set out on a N-S line which was also used to locate a
small amphitheatre and on this visit it was pleasing to see locals
seated in that to chat as well as others, including children
playing, in the square. The redevopment won the 2002
too. Click here or the
image for four images of the dial today and click
Here to see more about
the dial's development and installation and even about its
accuracy - at least at one part of the time scale! - when it was
Revisiting an old
In a recent visit back to Northumberland it was
to see again the old vertcal dial on the side of Willcox's
Jewellers in Alnwick's main street.
1737 and bearing the initials I.F. it is a Direct South dial in
slate, still in remarkably good condition and showing in Roman
numerals the expected 6am to 6pm in quarter hours with half hours
marked by fleurs de lys.
Click on the thumbnail for a
larger image which was taken at 13:33 BST on 20th August 2020.
Summer Solstice and a Dihelion Sundial
The Edinburgh sundial company
Hunter's latest newsletter reports that (surprisingly perhaps?)
the summer solstice 2020 in Edinburgh was a day of beautiful
sunshine. It really showed off their Dihelion dual sundial which
can read the solstice and the equinox seasons as well as the usual
The time shown here is before 8 in the
morning solar time, or nearly 9 am in British Summer Time. It is
still well before noon, when the horizontal rod is able to mark
the passage of the four seasons by its shadow. Read more of this
© Macmillan-Hunter Sundials, with
the astronomical background to the Summer
The Royal Museums of Greenwich recently released a
link to an article in their Discover and Explore
series for children and adults. This one relates
to the Equinoxes and it was released just before the
most recent summer solstice
which took place on Saturday 20 June 2020 at 21:43 GMT
Click on this link for more.
Bulletin - June 2020 The
June Bulletin of the British Sundial Society has
been issued to Members. The key contents are:
- Thomas and Joshua Mann: Engravers and
York Virtuosi - John Davis
- A Village Sign and a Sundial in
Lancashire - Irene Brightmer
- Restoration of the Drummond Castle
Obelisk Sundial. Part 2: Conservation and Restoration Work - James
Tate, Graciela Ainsworth and Alastair Hunter
- Newly Reported Dials, 2019 - John Foad
- A Bentley Gnomon – John Davis
- In the Footsteps of Thomas Ross. Part
31: East Coast Obelisks Dennis Cowan
- Who was EC? – John Davis
- Two Double Horizontal Sundials
Constructed at the Jesuit Academy in Polotsk, Belarus – Maciek
Freshly-excavated Sundial from Antiquity Found in Turkey - John
Join the Society if you wish to receive
a copy of this publication
Sad Dial at the Lygon Arms Hotel.
The Lygon Arms Hotel in the Cotswolds
of the UK lies in the High Street,of Broadway, Worcestershire.
It is an old and established high quality hotel build from the
local Sandstone. This explains why the often missed sundial
on the right hand front facade is no longer operational. It
does however still retain its unusual gnomon which is somewhat
more ornate than those usually seen. The dial must have been
a Vertical South dial but sadly few if any markings remain.
This must surely be one case where re-engraving would be worthwile
and not a violation of 'conservation' principles. Click on the image for a
fuller picture - Can you see the dial? See a closer image
and an even closer image
Dial in Italy's Sigurtà Garden Park.
Magda and Joseph Sigurtà have tirelessly
the garden that was first restored by the pharmaceutical
industrialist, Dr. Giuseppe Carlo Sigurtà from the 1940s.
In 1990 a sundial was constructed there and
surrounded by water. Click on the image or
HERE to see
larger images of this interesting sundial, seen here at close to the
2019 autumnal equinox.
News from Border Sundials The latest addition to 'News from
Sundials' can be read
This edition mentions the Sundial on Wilton Bridge, Ross-on-Wye,
Herefordshire. Read about its history, why it was moved and read its
depressing motto: "Esteem thy precious time; Which pass so swiftly
away; Prepare thee for eternity; And do not make delay". The
sundial was commissioned by Jonathon Barrow - originally from Monmouth
but who lived in Bridstow just outside of Ross-on-Wye.
Pauline Eccles & licensed for reuse under the Creative Commons
Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 license.
Sundials of the Castle and Collegiate Church of St. Michael
of the city of
Germany are shown here. Sadly few documents exist today concerning the
origin and history of either the clocks or the dials of the castle
church. Nonetheless, it is known that until the 19th century the
mechanical tower clocks had to be readjusted daily or weekly with the
help of sundials, which were mostly nearby and in some cases even only
as noon dials.
The existence of the sundials at the castle church can today only be
deduced from the beginning of the 19th century. The recently restored
sundials shown here make use of the southwest corner of the church,
because that area is illuminated by the sun all day long. They are
relatively large and ideally located to make the time fully visible
and they have been mounted high to discourage vandalism.
Unfortunately, it is not clear from existing illustrations just how
the original dials were executed. Even investigations during the
restoration of 2014/15 gave no indication. Only the attachment points
of the original gnomons could be seen. The dials here have been
wonderfully executed by Siegfried Netzband, (delineation) and Schorn,
Marxzell (painting). Click on the
image above to see both dials set around the corner of the
© & permission Siegfried
interesting new, painted Italian dial of classic
is a painted dial on a house on the Eastern side of Lake Garda in
Italy. On one of the houses overlooking the Lake and accessible
only along the very narrow roads of that area.
Constructed (or perhaps repainted) in 2009 it bears the motto
"Di ferro e' lo stil, d'oro il tempo". (Iron is the style, gold the
time). It displays local solar time from 9am to 8pm.
Images courtesy VL Thomson © VLT 2019
of Polesden Lacey Polesden Lacey is an Edwardian
house and estate, located on
North Downs at Great Bookham, near Dorking, Surrey. Built by Thomas
Cubitt Ambrose Poynter it is a designated World Heritage site.
It has several dials the main one was stolen some years ago and a
rather poor replacement has been put in its place on the original
elegant cherubic pedestal.
dials here: Dial 1,
Images courtesy VL Thomson © VLT 2019
Kiftsgate Sundial Kiftsgate Court Gardens is
situated above the village of
in the county of Gloucestershire, England, in the far north of the
county close to the county border with both Worcestershire and
Warwickshire. The gardens, famed for its roses, are the creation of
three generations of women gardeners. This wonderful pedestal
supports a perhaps less wonderful dial but is nevertheless worthy of
There are more images of the dial's details
coursesy VL Thomson, 2019
The Vaux-Le-Vicomte Surprise...! A visit to the
Chateau de Vaux-Le-Vicomte in
near Melun, 55 km SE of Paris in the Seine-et-Marne département of
France is always a delight. However when visiting the Grand Salon
there you are in for a surprise because the tiled floor of the Salon
is set out as a dial without an obvious aperture gnomon. Sadly nothing
available to read about the salon mentions this nor does the plan
being carried out for restoration. Can diallists in the area
please let SunInfo know the history of the dial or meridian
line and whether it will be restored to its former glory? Click
on the image for more detail and see more of the floor markings of the
Images © VL Thomson 2019
The Chantilly ‘Dôme’ Sundial
is certainly rarely seen! It is at the Chantilly Gardens
of Paris - inside the outdoor manège there, an extraordinarily
interesting part of the stables few otherwise get to see - unless
there to witness an equestrian demonstration of course. The key equestrian
shows and demonstrations take place beneath the 28 metre high majestic
dome of the Great Stables, with its ring and its spectators' stands
that can accommodate 600 people. Its recently restored fountain
features the dates of construction of the Great Stables (1719-1735).
The almost invisible sundial in the outside manège faces due South but
has an horizontal gnomon.
It is dated
Click on the image to see a better version with
more detail. A nice dial.
Images © VL Thomson 2019
this Dial still showing the time? The
Colorado Transcript Newspaper dated 21st
1909 had a small column remarking that sundials were still in common
use in Mexico.
The article showed a line drawing of one such high on a building but
sadly its location was not identified so we are at a loss to know if
the dial still exists. Can any reader throw light on the
location of this dial and say if it might still be in existence?
The newspaper entry
may be read here.
It makes interesting reading.
SunInfo is very sad to report that the sundial enthusiast Reinhold
died on Saturday 23th March 2019 in Dessau. Over his lifetime he made many
contributions to the field of gnomonics. For those who remember his
extraordinary web site it still available to view and is at
http://www.ta-dip.de/ or more
specifically for his dialling work at
In there he describes his on going interest in the Reinhold
crater on the moon - not of course named after him but still precious to him
nonetheless! Just one of the many comments says it all: "Kriegler exemplified
the best of what a community of dialists would be like. The most civil,
civilized, inoffensive, polite, considerate, member. Those attributes stand out,
aside from his impressive website with its wide coverage of dials and dialists
worldwide, and his own artistically-aesthetic dials". RIP.
The Delightful Dial of Dalemain in
Cumbria The well known octagonal dial
Dalemain Country House by Richard Whitehead is dated 1688 and shows the time
from 4am to 8pm in half, quarter and eighth hours on scales that lie inside the
chapter ring and in minutes (with Arabic Nos) on the outer edge. Some of the
actual hour lines on these inner scales are missing [eg 6 and 7pm]. There are
both inward (arrow with H form) and outward (line and dot form) half hour
markers. An elaborate inner 32 point compass with all points named [eg SEbE] and
on an adjacent (outer) scale with its reciprocal [eg NWbW] so as to give the
sun's bearing. the compass was designed to be used with vertical rod (not
present) which was passed through holes in the gnomon. and centred on the
compass. Markers on either side of the main 32 points indicate the width of this
shadow for accurate centring. Two scales further divide each of the 32 points
into 4 and 8 intervals. A half division is provided outside these scales (to the
inside of the dial) and marked by an inward line with a three dot arrowhead.
Wonderful pierced gnomon with scroll pattern, the whole mounted on an excellent
panelled octagonal stone pedestal which is slightly fluted and with no visible
base. Design Lat N 54d 40m.
More detailed pictures HERE dated May
The Huge Dial at Grieskirchen,
huge sundial was erected to
the 400th anniversary of the town's elevation to municipal status. Click
on the thumbnail image here for more details. The dial now even has its own
Read more about this interesting and educational
dial, its connexion with Kepler and the live view of the new web cam
The Two Tatton Twins
. Yes, we know that the word 'twins' implies
'two' but we
like a bit more alliteration! Whatever, there are no fewer than two
horizontal dials at Tatton Park in Cheshire. Not discovered for a long
time - and one of them not apparently even yet recorded in the
NT collections of such either - these sit there waiting to be
admired. One is in the Rose garden (sometimes only on view from a distance
because of the roses) and one is near the Italianate garden at the back of the
house. They are well worth a look. Click on the thumbnail images here for
larger views and for a couple of close ups of the second dial. Two
© VL Thomson 2019)
Bridge End in the Snow!
The dial that is located in Francis Gibson's Garden
Bridge End, Saffron Walden is unusual in that it is rarely seen by dial
enthusiasts. This is odd since the gardens are very well worth a visit and
indeed are listed Grade II* in the UK Register of Parks and Gardens.
Gibson lived 1805–58 and he constructed a long view from
the Pavilion along the Pavilion path to steps and two vases, then to the
sundial, seat and balusters. The tapered pedestal is elegantly
sadly today's dial is without its gnomon. The
dial plate is however competently laid out with an eight point compass,
sun motif and complete with the slightly depressing motto 'Night
The pedestal my be viewed in more detail
the dial plate itself
10.02.19 (Images copyright
A Sundial Tartan - how about that?
Recently the 1890 Kinloch Anderson Sundial
in Inverleith Park, Edinburgh was
restored by Macmillan Hunter Sundials. As a part of the 150th
Anniversary Celebrations in June this year, a unique Commemorative Tartan Cloth
- The Sundial Tartan - was produced. Stationery publishers Waverley Books were
asked by Kinloch Anderson to produce notebooks in the style of their Tartan
Cloth Commonplace Notebooks using the same Sundial Tartan.
These Sundial Notebooks are now available, as an exclusive limited
edition, to collectors and friends, from Kinloch Anderson. The background to
the creation of The Sundial Tartan is a fascinating story which is told in a
booklet enclosed with the notebook.
When you are next in Dún Laoghaire,
do take a stroll out to the East Pier and there
will find an interesting analemmatic sundial. In an article in the Irish Times
some years back there was a mention by
Peter Lynch, Professor of
Meteorology at the School of Mathematical Sciences University College Dublin.
In it he describes the dial which had been delineated by Irish dialling
enthusiast Captain Owen Deignan in 2006.
Read the Irish Times article here. Sadly the article does not
show an image of the dial so we are here much indebted to Michael J Harley who
has developed his own extensive register of Irish sundials and which is well
worth a look and well worth bookmarking too.
here to see the
Laoghaire dial in more detail and
Go here to visit Michael
Harley's Register of Irish sundials. We'll be back soon with a few more
Irish dials all courtesy of Michael Harley's Register,
The Sundials of the Parks and
Gardens of Edinburgh. Here we mark the Autumnal Equinox with
an entry about some dials in Scotland! Alastair
of Macmillan Hunter Sundials, a company based in Edinburgh, recently organised a
three hour summer walk around four parks in the City: Grange Cemetery, The
Meadows, Fettes College and Inverleith Park .
All proceeds were in favour of the charity YACHT —'Youth
At CHurch Today'.
Read all about it at the Hunter Macmillan web site here.
The Sundials of Wisley
The Royal Horticultural Gardens at Wisley contain two sundials.
The first is located
at the entrance to the gardens - almost as you come in - and the
second is in the Herb Garden. Both are now modern dials though one
replaces an earlier horizontal dial by Barker.
The gardens make a lovely day out and the two dials
are interesting too. Click
Here or on the
image for more information and some images of the dials. Then admire
The Sundial Society of Flanders,
"Zonnewijzerkring Vlaanderen" has published all copies of
Bulletin from 1995 - 2017 as PDFs. They are in Dutch but can be read by those
unable to read the language by using the usual Google facilities.
These editions may be examined
here and the Flanders Society Web site
may be found
A Sundial Trail of the dials of Rupelmonde is
The Dial at Boughton House
In the lovely rose garden of Boughton House can be seen
Henry Wynne sundial. Displaying a 32pt compass, the times of noon at twelve
cities and all set in a 'secured' dial plate of some 425mm diam which is mounted
on an octagonal plinth. The cities are marked as Mexico, Charlestown, New York,
Barbados, Tenerife, Dublin, Paris, Rome, Jerusalem, Babylon, Surrat and Bantom.
The dial shows 4am to 8pm with its numerals read from 'inside' the dial.
Enjoy these images of it:
VL Thomson, 2018
Charles Darwin's Sundial
at Down House is still to be seen at the head of the garden.
It is to be found near
the verandah although currently and sadly, it is not quite correctly set
up. It is a commendably simple but accurately delineated, dial set
on a lovely baluster pedestal - clearly positioned for use in earlier
times to set the house clocks.
It displays the hours
4am to 8pm in 30, 15, 10, 5 and 1 min divisions.
See more of this lovely dial
A chance to see a real Merkhet
The Merkhet (or merjet "instrument of knowing") was
Egyptian timekeeping instrument. It involved the use of a bar with a plumb line
and could be used during both morning and afternoon hours. A short video
clip shows one such in a museum
Here Two of these instruments could also be
used, together, to determine North. The merkhet consisted of a string with a
weight attached to one end, enabling a straight line to be measured. For the
operation to work, two merkhets were required, one aligned with Polaris, the
North Pole star. If erected properly, and if a merkhet was on hand, one
could estimate quite accurately the time by observing the transits of certain
stars as they crossed the meridian and came into alignment with the two merkhets.
Britain's beautiful secret sundials
An article by Sophie Campbell in the Daily Telegraph in January 2018
attention to the many 'secret' sundials that exist in Britain.
"They are simple, yet
complex, a marriage of form and function, often beautiful, frequently
unusable (no sun) and they require for their creation a particular
combination of skills: mathematics and artistry.".
Read the article and see its other links
Then read another article
this time from the Financial Times - this time all about the sundial
designer putting a modern twist on ancient technology and the dials of
A Fine Example of a Cross Sundial has been located
in the SE of England. It is a particularly elegant example
a rare dial type since only some 35-40 such dials are known in the
This dial further excels in having its own equation of
time scale on its 'front' (South) face, a motto on its base and time
markings of 30,15 and 5 mins.
Now a little overshadowed by trees it is nevertheless
still 'operating'. Click on a thumbnail for a larger image.
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are frequently dated with their original dates of insertion/amendment on the
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SunInfo web page. But why not browse the Archive
anyway? There's a lot there.
In 2003 Werner Riegler
his recent presentation entitled A Novel Sundial with
Double Indicator and Calendar. This novel dial solves the
"sundial problem", it shows the time to the minute and the date to
the day over the whole year without intervention.in addition the
dial is universal. It can be placed at any point on earth where it
will show the time from sunrise to sunset.
HERE to view a PDF of the slide show.
NASS Conference 2021
North American Sundial Society Conference was
held at the Hilton Garden Inn, Philadelphia Center City, 1100 Arch
Street, Philadelphia PA 10107. Many attendees planned to spend an
extra day or two in Philadelphia as the hotel is within walking
distance of Independence Hall, The Liberty Bell, The Benjamin
Franklin Museum, The Museum of the American Revolution,
summary of the meeting - it is called the
NASS Conference Retrospective - 2021
- can be found
25.04.2 1, 06.07.21, 08.08.21, 14.09.21
The Moot Hall Dial
In Aldeburgh in Suffolk, now very
to the sea stands the lovely
Moot Hall which today houses the Aldeburgh Museum. It
is a superb timber-framed 17C building, erected by the Burgesses
of Aldeburgh at a time of great prosperity as a manifestation of
civic pride. Today it is still treasured by the people of
Aldeburgh as the centre of their community and a symbol of their
heritage. The dial
declines about 14.4 degs W and shows a little 'restoration drift'
as may be seen from a
comparison with a recalculated image of the hour
lines. Please do explore the links given here to appreciate this
lovely Hall and its dial.
© VL Thomson 2021
A Modern Dial in
In 2007 a dial was
in the Benthills area of Thorpeness, a town near the coast in
Suffolk. It is a West declining dial with four declination lines
and it is quite elegantly designed, presented and maintained.
HERE or on the
thumbnail for a larger image of the dial. Click
HERE to see a
comparison of the dial with a calculated
version based on
the Lat/Long and Dial Declination. The details of the nodus are
not known so positioning details of the declination lines are
necessarily approximate. Note that there appears to be an
anniversary date line included..
© VL Thomson 2021
Conference of 2021 was held as
a 90 minute
Conference via Zoom on the 17th April 2021 and some 150
participants from around the globe logged in. Feedback about the
event has been very positive and all the speakers (Roger Bailey,
Woody Sullivan and Fred Sawyer), were very highly rated. Frank
King introduced the event.
A YouTube video
of the conference, lasting a little over 90 minutes, is available
The Dial at Bosworth
After the remarkable
of the remains of King Richard III a sundial was designed to mark
the event, his life and legacy. In August 1485 King Richard
III was killed at the Battle of Bosworth, and buried by the Grey
Friars, a Franciscan Holy order, in their friary church. In August
2012, Leicester City Council, the University of Leicester, and the
Richard III Society began a search underneath a car park in
Leicester, to find King Richard III’s remains and the Grey Friars
Church. This coincided with the 527th anniversary of the date King
Richard III was killed at the Battle of Bosworth.
after the dig began, the University of Leicester confirmed a
skeleton unearthed by archaeologists was in fact Richard III.
Later a sundial was commissioned. It has a central gnomon topped
with a crown. At ground level is an inscription which tells the
story of the Battle of Bosworth derived from the chronicle of
Polydore Vergil, an Italian at the court of Henry VII. The sundial
marks the points of the compass and the distances to other
battlefields of the Wars of the Roses. Around the outer dial are
three thrones bearing the names of Richard III, Henry Tudor, Earl
of Richmond and Thomas, Lord Stanley. Click the image or
for a larger version.
The Sundials of Cluj
An excellent book on
dials of Cluj County in the Transylvanian Region of Romania has
just been published by Dan-George Uza. At 69 pages, it makes a great
addition to one's library of books relating to European dials and
also makes, of course, a welcome present for any
Available from Amazon
now. Two other books are also available "Cadrane
solare din Transilvania, Banat, Crişana şi Maramureş" ("Sundials
from Transylvania, Banat, Crișana and Maramureș") again by
Dan-George Uza (2014, 276 pages, Romanian language with an English
"Erdély napórái" ("Sundials from
Transylvania") by Miholcsa Gyula (2020, 419 pages, Hungarian
language with an English abstract..
Is there a Trifilar
A query was raised
on the sundial mail list as to whether or not a Trifliar Sundial
was possible. It turns out that it exists! Bernard Rouxel of
France designed it.and got him second prize in the Italian "Le
ombre del Tempo” contest of 2008. It is here limited to showing true
Noon and the date. Read Fer's article by clicking on the
image to download the PDF of it courtesy of the Dutch Sundial
Society and Frans Maes.
Luigi Ghia recently posted to the sundial mail list a link to a
showing Rouxel's trifilar dial in operation.
was made by him with help from Tonino Tasselli and it has been
computed for the summer solstice.
On the sundial plane the
shadows of the three wires crossing each other, form a moving
triangle. The triangle becomes smaller and smaller until it
collapses into a point exactly at noon.
The point where the
triangles collapse during the year migrates up and down along the
green lines in the animation so this line is the meridian line and
it may easily be annotated with dates or zodiac symbols.
different arrangement of the three wires (for example with a
rotation of the whole wire system about the polar axis) sets the
triple crossing point at different points along the hour lines
other than noon.
Revisiting a Triple
Not to be
by the trifilar dial design above it seems appropriate to revisit
John Davis's remarkable and ingenious Triple Horizontal Dial made
some time ago for a client in Redwood Valley USA. It comprises a
double horizontal design rather after Henry Wynne but adapted for
the more southerly latitude by moving the second scale Northwards.
The centre of the dial revealed by this process then is used to
display Pacific Solar Time where a nodus allows five family
anniversaries to be displayed.
Download John's article from his website here
BSS Virtual Conference 2021:
The British Sundial Society’s Annual Conference was to have
between 16-18 April 2021 in Exeter. There had been no conference
held in 2020 owing to the Covid-19 pandemic and the 2021
conference had also to be cancelled for the same reason.
However in 2021 there was held an abbreviated VIRTUAL
conference online in April. The event was about 90
minutes in length; it was hosted by Frank King and featured an all North American
'cast', Roger Bailey, Fred
Sawyer, and Woody Sullivan.
This BSS Zoom event was held on 17 April 2021.
were welcome - at no charge. But you did have to REGISTER in advance.
|Marking A Meridian Anniversary!
On 22 October 1884 the
Meridian located at the Royal Observatory was selected to be the common
zero of longitude & standard of time reckoning worldwide. Click on
the image for the decision details.
The Pittsburgh Blog!
Fred Sawyer, President of NASS
alerted the Sundial Mail List to the fact that Glenn Walsh, the author of
the American Space Watch Tower Blog, was at the NASS Conference 2018 throughout
most of the sessions and he later contributed an article on his blog which
summarises the recent meeting quite well.
Take a look here at what Glenn wrote.
The Jantar Mantar monument in
Jaipur in Rajasthan, India is a
of nineteen architectural astronomical instruments built by the Rajput king
Sawai Jai Singh II, and completed in 1734.
The instruments allow the observation of astronomical positions with the
naked eye. The monument expresses architectural innovations, as well as the
coming together of ideas from different religious and social beliefs in
Visit this site to find out more about many of the instruments
The 'Dials' of Konark.
There is a 13th-century sun temple
Konark near Odisha, India which is attributed to King Narasimhadeva I of the
Eastern Ganga Dynasty of about 1250 AD. Dedicated to the Hindu sun god Surya,
what remains of the temple complex is a 100-foot high chariot with 24 immense
wheels drawn by horses, all carved from stone and quite accurately aligned E-W.
Once over 200 feet high, much of the temple is now in ruins. The structures and
elements that have survived are famed for their intricate artwork, iconography,
and various themes.
wheels, spokes and other divisions of the wheels are arranged in a form and
number similar to modern time keeping and consequently they invite use as
sundials. A simple calculation of the angles of the spokes between 6am to
6pm on the South wheels shows why. Click on the images for more!
The Nazeing Church Sundial
- a restoration project
Barrie Winter and reported here by Ian Butson.
It was in 2009 that funds became available to
restore/replace the relief - carved wooden sundial on Nazeing Church
near Harlow in Essex. Read about this remarkable 2010 project
reported at this link
HERE in 2014
Lower income and higher costs at BSS!! The 2017
Report & Annual Accounts for the British Sundial Society have
recently been published and may be examined at the Charity Commission Website or
courtesy of the CC. Compared to the
position in 2016, they show a reduction
of overall income in the year of £3,258 and at the same time an increase in
expenditure of £2,053. As a result, only £2,192 was added to Total Society funds
in the year. Fees for independent examination of the accounts and (new for this
year) for professional preparation of the claim for gift aid, have this year
soared by 127%. Indeed, something approaching 8% of all membership fees
currently appears to be being spent on such bought-in professional services.
|Comment received from a
"I am at a loss to understand how they justify spending on professional
Unusual Dial in
We were first made
of this interesting dial in 2017. It is in the one-time 'Clockmakers
District' of Grantham at the junction of Welby Street and Westgate. It was
delineated by Charles Westwood in 1790 as a west declining dial that would
also show the equinoxes and solstices. It has only relatively recently
been recorded in the National Sundial Register where its reference is SRN
6705. Unusually for such an old dial it still retains its original pin
Read more of an analysis of this dial, its features and its 'oddities' by
going to this link
If you can contribute to this analysis or even resolve some of the so
called oddities do contact the webmaster.
19.06.17, 09.07.17, 09.06.2018
2018 "Dial Time"
was once again delighted to publish its
FREE Spring Newsletter
to accompany the 2018 Conference Season.
Here you can find a few stories taken from the
SunInfo web pages in the past months, some new topics and some
updates on older stories too.
In the usual PDF format, this four page Newsletter contains news and
items of interest to any diallist.
Download it free HERE.or
read it on Ussuu
(use Ussuu's full screen mode to read it)
2017 "Dial Time"
again SunInfo was delighted to publish its
FREE Spring Newsletter
to accompany the 2017 Conference Season.
Here you can find a few stories taken from the
SunInfo web pages in the past months, some new topics and some
updates on older stories too.
In PDF format, this four page Newsletter contains news and items of
interest to any diallist. For a little more about the
Ripple Restoration that is mentioned on page 1, click
it free HERE.or
read it on Ussuu
2016 "Dial Time"
again SunInfo was delighted to publish its FREE Spring
Newsletter to accompany the 2016 Conference Season. Here
you can find a few stories taken from the
SunInfo web pages in the past months, some new topics and some
updates on older stories too.
In PDF format, this four page Newsletter contains news and items of
interest to any diallist.
Download it free HERE.
Read it in 'Ussuu' HERE
SunInfo's 2015 "Dial Time" Newsletter
SunInfo's first FREE Spring Newsletter was published to
accompany the 2015 Conference Season. In PDF format the four page
Newsletter contained news and details of interest to any diallist.
View or Download it HERE.
STOLEN! Do you suspect
that a dial known to you might have been stolen? Sadly many dials have been
over the years. A few recent thefts are mentioned in the boxes below.
The BSS has a list of stolen dials (sadly not updated since 2010) which is
here. There are some 44 dials listed. If when you can get to
see them and you recognise any, do let the
BSS Registrar know.
stole a sundial from a plinth in a Morley churchyard, where it had
stood for 250 years.
The dial had been made by clockmaker and scientist John Whitehurst
and had been in the grounds of St Matthew's Church, in Church Lane,
The instrument, which was made from bronze, was reported stolen on
Sunday, February 23 2014 and had last been seen at the start of
January. Please inform the webmaster if you have seen this dial.
in Blickling Hall's secret garden lifted and made off with the
sundial and pedestal which is of carved Portland stone and stands
Jo Bosch, Blickling’s marketing and visitor manager, said the bronze
sundial a replacement for an earlier dated from the late 18th or
early 19th century, had a metal plate on it which said “Brookbrae
The theft happened between 10am on February 6 and 10.15am on
February 7 2014.Please
inform the webmaster if you have seen this dial or pedestal.
An historic vertical sundial
(National Register No SRN 2136 - click on image) has been stolen from St
Mary's Church in Prestwich, Manchester. The dial is dated 1781 and is a
vertical direct south dial which carries the motto "Sic Transit Gloria
Mundi". There is some confusion as to the material of the dial; it may be
stone or iron. Anyone with further information should contact the police,
and send a copy to
Police are appealing for help in tracing a valuable
sundial stolen in Sunderland between noon on Monday, May 5, and 2pm on
Friday, May 9, 2014 from a rear garden.
The stolen sun dial is a distinctive brass Grande Armillary Sundial
Ensemble, 56 inches tall, believed to be as per the image and made by
Henri Studio of Illinois, USA. It is worth hundreds of pounds. Click on the
image here for a larger view.
Police are hunting thieves who stole a unique decorative sundial
from a £4 million mansion near Potters Bar., Herts
Between Dec 22 2014 and Jan 18 2015, a large brass armillary sphere
sundial disappeared from Rabley Park, a historic 12-acre estate in
Packhorse Lane, Ridge.
Police say the large ornament can only have been moved by a vehicle.
It has several engravings, including “Do not squander time for that is
the stuff life is made of’, ‘Clacton-on-Sea’, ‘Hemel Hempstead’ and
Anyone with any information should contact the police
2017 Grade II sundial
STOLEN from Conwy churchyard
A Grade II listed sundial dating to 1761 has been stolen from a
churchyard in Conwy and its stonework smashed.
The stonework holding the bronze sundial at Conwy church was smashed
into three pieces.
Rev David Parry, vicar of Bro Celynnin, said the theft was noticed on
Friday morning and reported to police.
"It's very sad. In taking the top, the thieves have severely damaged
the stone. It's been part of Conwy's history for a long long time," he
"It's a well known landmark, listed in its own right, and we're at a
loss to know why someone would want to damage this."
The dial is believed to be SRN 3262, dated 1765, 360mm dia includes an
EoT scale and was made by Mereidh Hughes, of Conwy.
|The NASS 2019 conference
was held in Denver, Colorado
20th - 23rd June
2019. It included presentations and a tour of sundials. Early
registration is recommended at the Hilton Garden Inn - Denver Downtown. NASS had a discounted rate of $179/night (plus 15.75% tax). This rate
applied 5 days before and after the conference if rooms were
Full NASS registration until April 14th was $310-$322 depending
upon dinner selection. After April 14th the cost increased to $335-$347.
BSS Bath Conference 2019 This year the conference
is being held
at the Bailbrook House Hotel in Bath from 26 to 28th April. One of
the top hotels in the city, Bailbrook House Hotel is an historic grade II*
listed mansion, located just a few minutes from the centre of historic Bath with
on-site complimentary parking. As BSS is an English Charity the
Conference is Open to all, not just to BSS Members.
Day Delegate Rate - £160
Full Package for two nights Double - £525 Single £340
Extra nights - £95 single and £135 double.
(The North American
Society) held its 2018 Annual Conference from Thurs 16 Aug - Sun 19 Aug in
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA. The conference was held near the famed University
of Pittsburgh campus with its Cathedral of Learning at the Hilton Garden Inn,
Pittsburgh University Place 3454 Forbes Avenue, in Pittsburgh.
Read the Conference Blog here.
The BSS Conference 2018 took
the Society to Norwich - to the Maid's Head Hotel there. The Conference ran from
Friday 20 April to Sunday 22 April, 2018. See a summary of the
BSS 2018 Programme. Only 57 delegates attended. On arrival one of two short
walks were planned in Norwich itself for the Friday afternoon and in what
for many was a welcome break from recent venues there was a coach tour to view
David Payne's sundial trail on the Saturday afternoon.
See more about
what dials were seen. Full package prices were £340 for single
occupancy, £520 for double. The Day Delegates rate is £160. As usual the
conference was open to non-members as well as members and at no difference in
delegates out on the tour.
02.02.18,16.04.18, 20.04.18, 27.04.18
ULTIMATE Sundial Conference of 2017! 2017's
year's NASS Sundial Conference really was the one to visit.
The meeting took place in the Clayton Plaza Hotel,
7750 Carondelet Ave, Clayton, Missouri 63105 August 19-22 2017. Why was it
one to attend? Well, during the conference there was a total eclipse of
the sun! Delegates
3+ days of gnomonic presentations and sundial discussions. There were some
tutorial sessions for Aug 19th and the tour this year was very special
with a ring side seat to watch the August 21st Solar Eclipse.
NASS had reserved space at Jefferson Barracks that allowed an unobstructed view
of the eclipse away from the expected crowds..
30.05.16 , 17.11.16, 22.07.17, 20.07.17, 28.08.17
Reprise of the 2017 BSS
21-23 April 2017
2017 BSS Spring Conference took place just outside Oxford. Have a
look at our special web page at the link below to see where it
what the hotel is like, how to get to it, delegate rates,
what else to see and do,
how the conference was arranged and the two planned visits to
dials and the conference dinner. All Information is updated
Our Special BSS Conference page
included notes written to accompany Dr Philip Pattenden's
conducted tour of
The Sundials of
Oxford Colleges which were visited during the
BSS Conference in 1990! Compare then and now!!
Only on SunInfo!!
See our Special
Conference Page - 2017
09.05.16 15.09.16, 05.01.17,21.03.17, 23.04.17, 02.08.17
Reprise of the 2016 BSS Liverpool Conference
You can find information about this
here (or click on the image
above). Only about 55 delegates attended in 2016, even fewer than last
year. Read news of what happened there, the programme and how the conference was
arranged, the plenary lecturer, how easy it was to get there by land and air,
details of the hotel itself, where you could find parking, the conference
format, what there was to do, how to get taxis, where the bus stops are, find
nearby sundials and even how to see the sights of Liverpool too.
out our page about the
BSS Cheltenham Conference; a conference that was
held over eight years ago.
The level of interest is little short of amazing. Mind you,
our page does include summaries, photographs
and the results of delegate opinions - sadly things that
are no longer published about its conferences by the current BSS Council.
Indeed, and by way of example, there is still no website
entry of consequence on the BSS site about the 2013 meeting in Edinburgh
nor one about the 2014 Greenwich Conference nor the 2015 Nottingham one
nor the 2016 Liverpool, nor even yet the 2017 Oxford meeting nor that of
2018 either. Why ever not you may ask? Well, it might appear
to you as a desire for secrecy. A number of issues arose at the Cheltenham
conference which may be behind what appear to be moves by the present
Council towards ever greater secrecy about their many blunders. Blunders
that continue to surprise the dialling community. Their omission from
their notes of the problems with the membership survey, of Graham Aldred's
evidence in the Christopher Daniel book saga, the successive losses of
society assets and their recent quite extraordinary attempts to block
you from linking from this web site to
theirs. Hmmm, Shakespeare's
Hamlet (1.4 ), Marcellus to Horatio comes to mind...
BSS Conference was it?
Are you a long standing member of BSS? Can you
remember at which
the delegates were given this little notebook? When closed it measured 4¼
x 3 ins and contained a pad of
equation of time chart and a two year calendar! Click the image
to find out!!
Articles & Links
Recording a Dial's Declination. An easy
to estimating the declination of an existing declining vertical dial.
is a PDF of a few self-explanatory slides presented by BSS Member Patrick Powers
at the 2005 Newbury Meeting of BSS. (5MB PDF).
You can buy a copy of a Reference card relating
to this to carry with you. Click on the link...
BSS's Net Current Assets Fall
in a year. The Charity Commission has received BSS's
accounts for 2015.
those wishing to see how the Society fared in those past twelve months, they may
be examined Here.
A drop of 5¼%
in Net Current Assets has been reported in the last year
It is thought largely to be because of conference losses. Earlier Accounts
can be conveniently checked and compared in our Document
Archive below, see the section 'Policy, Guidance, Rules, Information
Sheets & General Documents'.
Members attending the 2016 Society AGM got few answers to this further BSS
03.04.16, 05.04.16, 19.04.16
Every time the sun shines
in Seattle, it sheds light on
Sullivan and his mission. "I am out to make Seattle the sundial capital of
North America, I just love the irony of it," said Sullivan. More
Waymarking.com is a super way to see the dials of the world
your armchair and to read a little about them too.
Have a look at SunInfo's new Waymarking page
It includes links to the waymarking website and to
specific sets of dials.
All courtesy of waymarking.com
An early English
'Scientific' Sundial with exactly
unequal hour angles has been discovered at Scadbury Manor, home of the
Walsingham family. The very family that was so connected with the
Tudor Court. More information
Rostov 'Slab' discovered in 1991 may, it now seems,
be an ancient Bronze Age attempt at a combination of sundial and moon
dial. The slab is marked with round divots arranged in a circle,
and an astronomical analysis suggests that these markings coincide with
heavenly events, including sunrises and moonrises. Larisa
Vodolazhskaya of the Archaeoastronomical Research Center at the Southern
Federal University in Russia suggests that the people in the Northern
Black Sea region were astronomically savvy with a technology on a par
with what was seen in ancient Egypt around the same time. Amazing,
Sundial replaces Floral Clock at Swadlincote's Eureka Park
Derbyshire. Sited in the same place as the original 1937 floral clock, a
new sundial has been installed as a part of restoration work being carried out
on the whole park by South Derbyshire District Council and funded through a
£547,316 grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund and the Big Lottery Fund.
Image courtesy Burton Mail
The Polish Sundial Register now records 1369 dials!
of the sundials of Poland has well exceeded 1100. BSS Member Darek
Oczki is the Registrar and his website
http://gnomonika.pl/ lists them. (Sept 2020)
Meridian lines 1
Calendars and things
from the past
SunInfo Calendar is still available here!!!
one A4 page for each month, this FREE PDF pictorial calendar can be downloaded
and printed off to give you images of twelve UK sundials to look at throughout
2015. Each month includes the equation of time correction for each day and a
separate page allows longitude corrections to be estimated for anywhere in the
British Isles. Check it out and
download it here. Only a 4MB download. Just print it on
suitable paper stock.
With one A4 page for each month, this FREE PDF pictorial calendar
can be downloaded and printed off to give you images of twelve UK
sundials. Each month includes the equation of time correction for
each day of 2014 and a separate page allows longitude corrections to be
estimated for anywhere in the British Isles.
Check it out and download it here.
Only a 3.7MB download. Just print it on suitable paper stock.
still been downloading this
beautiful calendar long after 2014 !! Why don't you have a look
too? Then look at our 2015 one!
A Calendar for 2002? Why ever
should sundial enthusiasts wish to look at - let alone keep - a copy of a
calendar for 2002? Have a look at our photogallery
here to see why!
John Knight Fotheringham FBA (14 August 1874 – 12
December 1936) was a British historian who was an expert on ancient astronomy
and chronology and who established the chronology of the Babylonian dynasties.
In 1929 he wrote a 13 page monograph
which concisely and clearly describes the history of calendars from that of the
Egyptians to the present day.
It is now out of copyright and worth reading
Articles, Links and
facts about BSS. Here
are details of the Society, the members of its Council and its
management, its appointed and excellent Specialists, how to access its
website and its Facebook page, how (and why!) to join the
Society, how to send payments to BSS via credit card or PayPal and many
recent annual accounts. In fact more or less everything you need
to know about BSS is here - warts and all! There's even help for BSS
Members who may like to understand the background to the worrying
oddities in today's erratic management of the society.
A Disquieting Anniversary] [A
Disquieting Delay] [Now the Disquieting Book
Interested to have access to more information about the
operation of BSS? Then why not go to our private BSS
Members page. [Password access available upon prior registration
BSS's "1960's" management approach.
the incoming secretary of BSS suggested using a S.W.O.T analysis of the
Society's Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats. This is
now a rather discredited approach to management (because it can actually
limit performance) which was first mooted in Stamford in the 1960s. It is
therefore more used nowadays to summarise the
outcome of a more professional analysis of a business.
However one good use of it is to provide an historical perspective and allow
outsiders to judge for themselves what progress has been made in any
intervening period. Two analyses were prepared in 2011. Have a look at
the more detailed of the two
here and check which
of the suggestions in it have subsequently been adopted and which not!
|Quotes of 2013... From the UK
Charity Bulletin No 122, May 2013 published by IEL - who happen to be
BSS's appointed Independent Accounts Examiners:
Integrity: There's no better test of a person's integrity than
their behaviour when they are wrong. (Marvin Williams).
Destiny: Don't confuse poor decision-making with destiny. Own
your mistakes. It's ok; we all make them. Learn from them and move on.
Now, even after 2017 might not these form useful advice for today's
BSS Council - and from their own Examiner no less?
David Brown Sundials
offers a Blog/Website about their recent projects.
Worth a look
Dial 'Restored' by BSS President Christopher Daniel!
In 1969 the 'Meridies Media' noon mark mean time
sundial, designed by Dr Tadeusz Przypkowski, with amendments by Christopher
Daniel, was installed on the south wall of the Meridian Building in what was
then the Old Royal Observatory at Greenwich. Over the years it deteriorated
and had to be taken down. In 2009 a movement was started to reinstate a
replica. Chris Daniel, who had been curator of the sundial collection of the
National Maritime Museum at the time of the original installation and who is
now the President of BSS, was asked to design the replacement. This he has
undertaken without a fee. The dial was formally opened by BSS Patron, Sir
Mark Lennox Boyd on Wednesday 10.10.12 at 12:30pm. It represents a fitting
Diamond Jubilee dial in Greenwich Park. Some early notes about the
and further details of the ceremony can be found
here. An image of this
dial appears in the Wikipedia article about Sundials.
New Images and an article are available of the most
recent dial commission by
BSS President, Christopher Daniel MBE.
This is the Noon mark on the
Guildhall in Faversham, Kent which was declared 'open' by the Town's
Mayor in April 2013. We are now pleased to be able to present a
photogallery of the results of this commission and an
article about it. More details in the panel opposite (see: "The
Faversham Dial"), or go straight to our
Photogallery and/or to Chris's
Noon Mark article. To learn even more about this sort of dial
consider joining the
British Sundial Society. You will surely not regret it.
See the Christopher Daniel Sundial Collection as a
Just sit back and relax!
how sometimes you might not get a reply from the BSS
Trustees. Here, after four years and coming up to five, is one of
those. In the past the trustees have objected when their
professionalism has been questioned yet STILL there are examples of
quite serious blunders which some might think of as being in this
category. The related issues with the permanence of the Library and
with the President's book collection mentioned above are probably two of
the longer lasting ones for members of the Society but the mistaken
financial transactions to a non-member is really quite serious, is
worrying to those of us who place trust in charities and of course it is
contrary to duty for any Trustee. No apology or even an
acknowledgement, has been received in respect of this letter - now nearly
five years later. More important is the secrecy with which this is
enveloped - like so many of the other issues with BSS. Yet again, the
membership of BSS have not so far been informed. Why ever not?
Odd thing 'professionalism'. Not much unlike 'Integrity'
really... There's more on the matter of BSS Integrity
Linking to the BSS web site if you find you
'Forbidden' from doing so by BSS!
Direct hyperlinks to
the BSS website from SunInfo were at one time being
blocked by BSS. That stopped for a while when the new BSS web site opened
then from late 2015 some visitors to SunInfo reported that
this was happening again.
You might well wonder
why any professional entity like BSS should want to make it hard for visitors
like you to reach them. The more so when the advisory 'error' messages you
receive actually says in print what they are doing!
All our visitors will know
very well that this web site is, and always has been, very supportive
of the concept and importance of a British Sundial Society;
although it has never had any truck with the many apparent blunders,
secrecy, cover-ups or obfuscations that some might have come to see as
emanating from the Society in the recent past.
The latest issue to report is, we feel, another rather
unprofessional and ineffective attempt by BSS to bar linking from this
SunInfo website (and not apparently from others) to pages of the BSS
web site. Clearly the concerns expressed by so many contributors
on SunInfo about BSS and its management must have real
merit if BSS would rather you did not read them.
So, what is happening? Who would ever want to
block visitors from a website if there's nothing odd going on and especially
when what is being said is true?
Well, if you do find a BSS page 'Forbidden'
to you - without any reason
simply select the
whole link, right click and select 'Open Link in New Tab'.
It's as easy as that!
Sometimes you might get:
"The owner of this
website (www.sundialsoc.org.uk) has banned your access based on your
browser's signature (24ddd725bccc3452-ua32). CloudFlare Ray ID:
24ddd725bccc3452 • Your IP: 188.8.131.52 • Performance & security by
In this case simply set your browser to Incognito and
go back in.
You can also go to our special links page
►BSS links . Indeed, this
new SunInfo links-page is now in a limited way, a sort of
'One-Stop-Shop' for some key BSS pages; so you can use it from within
SunInfo to peruse as many of the provided pages of the BSS website
as you like.
Give it a try and thank
you for staying with SunInfo. It is very much
Remember: SunInfo does not restrict
any of its pages by any website and SunInfo reports
E &O.E 25/26.02.14, 05.03.14, 06.07.14,30.11.15, 23.12.16
Want to see summaries, photographs, programmes and delegate reviews of
previous BSS conferences or the plans for the next one?
- Sundial trail information here
- Information here
- (Authors, papers, Issues and other details)
(Authors, papers, Issues and other details)
Greenwich (2014) (Authors, papers, other
Edinburgh (2013) (Authors & Papers),
Cheltenham (2012) (Full summary)
Wyboston (2011) (Full summary)
Exeter (2010) (Full summary & Video)
20.04.12, 16,01,13, 02.03.13, 27.04.14, 01.08.17, 22,04.18
The Nice Dials of Newstead There is a
wonderful ruined abbey in the Gothic style at
in Scotland. It was no longer maintained after 1544 and indeed it is
recorded that the last monk there died in 1590. Part of it was destined to
rise again to be used as a parish church from 1610 -1810 and it was presumably
in this period that many stonemasons were needed. Whatever, it is recorded
that many of these stonemasons lived and were trained in the nearby town of
Newstead and whether or not that is the reason, there are several stone sundials
in Newstead mostly dated to the 1650s - 1780s. Denis Cowan (of course!) visited
Newstead in 2011 and he later published a fascinating
article about these dials in the BSS Bulletin.
Well worth a read. There is at least one
with its mason's mark, one was previously thought to have been a date-stone and
one that is now stored out of the weather. Nonetheless there are two still
thought to be missing. Maybe they are yet to be found?
There are two vertical declining dials at Grimsthorpe Castle!
Details for Grimsthorpe Castle in the parish of Edenham in Lincolnshire,
appear to only show one vertical declining dial at this property, yet
there are two - both in 'reasonable' condition for their age.
More than that, the larger one is still showing accurate Local Solar Time
Read a little about the castle, find out where the
dials can be seen on the building and have a look at two photographs
of them. Then, marvel at just how well the larger one is
telling the time even today.
A 17th century
brass sundial was prised from its stone plinth outside the
of St Tysilio's Church between Llanymynech and Four Crosses in Powys.
Churchgoers noticed it was missing on January 11 2018 but they can not say when
it was last seen. Dyfed Powys constable Rhodri Treharne said it was an unusual
artefact that police wanted to re-unite with the church.
Mrs Carol Davies, churchwarden, said the sundial is about eight inches
in diameter and is of a golden brass colour.
The San Marco Noon Mark
In our Dial Time Newsletter for April 2016 we published
about the rarely noticed Noon Mark that exists in St Mark's Square in Venice.
It is damaged, rusted, drooping and possibly even now loose as well yet it still
shows solar noon to within 13 mins and that after something like 630 years!
Seen again in
November 2018 - in this picture taken at a solar time of approx 11:51
am - though the shadow has just passed the noon line. Click on the
thumbnail here for a larger image.
the original 2016 Dial Time article here
An Aberdonian Triad!
Three lovely sundials from the Aberdeen region are here
by Denis Cowan in a paper submitted to the BSS Bulletin in early 2018 and
available to read on his website.
The dials are respectively in Ellon Castle Gardens, about
seventeen miles to the north of Aberdeen, in Pitmedden Garden, just a
few miles to the west of Ellon, and the third is in Duthie Park in
Read Denis's article here
The History Section of the Société
Jersiaise The History Section of the Jersey Society
the Channel Islands, runs programmes of historical interest to the Islanders.
Sometimes these are published on their web site. Two in particular from
the early years of the millennium are of interest to a wider sundial public and
we give their links to these here.
Catching the Shadow An Illustrated Talk on The Sundials of
Jersey by David Levitt on 29 November 2001
2. A brief description of
The Sundial at The Parish Church of St Peter In the Island of Jersey
which was designed by Harriet James in 2004.
The amazing Coade Stone Dial Discovery -
AND we made it!! Recently Weston
Head Gardener made a remarkable discovery. Whilst sorting out an area used
for their equipment, amongst the detritus of old urns and shoulder high
nettles, they found this sundial base. It is no ordinary plinth, though,
being a rare Coade Stone piece which was last seen at Weston in the early
twentieth century when it appeared in a photograph of Margaret Countess of
Bradford and her children. Coade stone is not a real stone but is an
eighteenth century man-made ceramic. It was perfected by Mrs Eleanor
Coade in the 1770s and was notable for being twice fired. Examples
exist in a few places in London but only one other at Weston Park.
Only in recent years has this ceramic formulation been rediscovered and
restoration made possible. Look at the pedestal and listen to why it
To restore the plinth and to make a dial for it will cost £20,000 - an
amount close to 10% of the total park maintenance available to the
charity that runs Weston Park, so a crowd funding approach was started
and we at SunInfo asked if you who read SunInfo could help
Appropriately and on the very day of the summer
solstice 2018 it was announced that the project has been funded!!
The Hugget Heliochronometers
Brian Huggett and his wife enjoy visiting gardens, in
to gain inspiration for their own. Such outings in the summer of 2016 led him to
consider installing a sundial in their garden. Knowing little about sundials, he
inspected those they encountered and was dismayed to discover that none agreed
with his watch. Even those that claimed to reflect clock time required
additional consultation of a table or graph. ‘What we need,’ he said to his
wife, ‘is a sundial from which clock time can easily be read by anyone.’
‘Why don’t you make one?’ she replied. See the consequences of this
suggestion here in two excellent articles.
Summer Solstice at the Duomo
The other day Jim Tallman
alerted the sundial community to the
'event' that occurs at (and near) the summer solstice in Florence's Duomo in
Italy. There is an aperture high up in the dome of the Cathedral which,
around the summer solstice lets a spot of light fall to the floor and pass over
a meridian line that was installed in 1756 - though the aperture might have been
installed as early as 1475!. It was designed partly so that "the measure
of the year and the date of Easter be more accurately determined", according to
the inscription still visible on the wall near the choir. If you cannot be
there, look at this video of an earlier
'transit'. Thanks Jim for alerting us all to this excellent spectacle.