in browsing our files and archives? Our extensive store of Dialling
Documents and related material is
HERE. It is regularly added to. ALSO our
earlier stories and
News Items are Archived
they are stored 'earliest-deleted' at the top, 'most-recently' deleted at the bottom.
Now reordered for greater
Equation of Time figures for 2018, with a one page
the image to be taken to our EoT page! where you can check the value of
Noon on any date in 2017 or 2018 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
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
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
The John Churchill Collection! SunInfo
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.
***More images by John C hurchill
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.
BSS 2016 Accounts finally available.
Owing to what is
presumed to have
been an administrative problem at the Charity Commission, anyone wishing
to see the 2016 accounts for the
British Sundial Society has up to very recently not been able to
view them on the Commission's website - only the Trustees' Report was
available. Both may be now viewed at the link above
(courtesy of the CC) or at the
Commission's website. The latest accounts show a welcome profit after
the earlier years of worrying losses.
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
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®
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
President Christopher Daniel's web site has now been seen
many more than
since it was set up only a little while ago. 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
of course you can always simply Google "Christopher Daniel Collection".
even see his pictures as a
04.07.15, 17.08.16, 21.12.16
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’
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.
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 article.
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 Webmaster
please. Photo courtesy of J Ingram.
SunInfo's Archive Page.
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 have archived most of the older entries so that
little or nothing is permanently lost. Our
is available!! Have a browse of it for yourself.
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 foremost Diallist.
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. Read the
Bulletin article dated 2006 for yourself here
Finding the sun in cloud.
An interesting device was made in 2011 in the University
of Rennes (France) by which the Vikings' ability to locate position of
the sun on cloudy days may be replicated.
Click the image for an interesting article on this
device which (as we now know) uses light polarisation with what the Vikings called a
'sunstone' crystal.. There are other
interesting links there too on the same topic.
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
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
Click the picture for more details!
Why 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
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 SunInfo to
present some examples of interesting but now lost UK sundials, starting
with the one at the Mansion at Bletchley Park in Buckinghamshire. Check
of a TRIPLE Horizontal dial for California by John Davis, more information and details of how it was etched
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!
Here are two dials that seem to be
They are both in Germany. The first is in Dörnthal, Sachsen
and the second in Nuremberg.
How many more do
A NEW Sundial Data Resource
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
Australia, owned and run by physicists and BSS Members,
Margaret Folkard and John Ward.
Sundials of New Zealand.
Rosaleen Robertson runs the Sundial Association of New Zealand and
also operates a Sundials Blog, (sundials-rosaleen.blogspot.com)
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 Association is
Want to know more about
sundials? Then there is no better place to learn about all aspects of
the topic than from Wikipedia! Click
to see this important article.
Then and Now...
page has been started here on SunInfo to show some of our sundials as they were long ago and as they are now. The
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
the fourth the 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.
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 many known sundials
in Norway but those that do exist are well worth looking at. Click
|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
armchair 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
An On-line Sundial Register.
Website is that operated by Dennis Cowan 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. Image used with
Groups and Websites of the World.
for a list of many Sundial related sites, their web addresses, when they
were founded and their popularity.
|Did you know?
Sundials made out of coffee cups?
At one time the Eden Project in Cornwall processed waste plastic
coffee cups to make and sell horizontal and vertical sundials! Sadly
these are no longer available.
Sundial in the British
Since 2010, the current UK passport has used a number of
background images on its pages. These are there to prevent
counterfeiting of course but in an imaginative move they contain images
of a wide variety of scenes. The Formal Park scene on page
20/21 is taken from the Italian Garden at Blenheim Palace and includes a
close up of the sundial there (SRN 2183 in the National Register)!
Sundials out of
The Daily Mail reported recently on BSS Trustee Jackie Jones and
her partner's design for a sundial made from a beer glass.
Another Beer Glass Sundial - though made in
Switzerland - is available for purchase
Make your own
sundial? You can easily
sundial that is far more accurate than many available from garden
centres using materials you can probably find in the home. It has the
potential to be accurate to the minute. You can use our sundial anywhere
in Europe or the US, and you can even set it to tell summer time.
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 look
►here ! 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
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
Edward R Martin's Mass Dial Database
compiled 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 included.
The recovered file (in PDF format) may be viewed
NB An Excel version (3.3MB) may be obtained upon
application to the webmaster.
|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.
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
10 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
Tried LightTrac yet? -
App for iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch and Android. LightTrac calculates and
plots the angle of the Sun and Moon on top of a map, for any location.
Pick any day and time and visualize the position and elevation of Sun
and Moon for any location and much more. Useful for judging sites
for dials. See it
Interested in some other dial
For the iPhone? Try:
For Android devices? Try
Et Umbra (SEU). It can be
downloaded through the
Google Play Store app.
In yet another strange decision
the BSS Council announced that it was (astonishingly) consulting members over the possible abandonment of its Grants Policy.
It was indeed later abandoned. Some
say this was an action made before finding out why the policy was as it
The Official Opening
of the Brighton Emmaus Community analemmatic
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 which 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
here. 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!"
THE FAVERSHAM DIAL
Christopher Daniel's latest sundial commission,
a Noon mark on Faversham's Guildhall in the Market Place,
was formally inaugurated by the Mayor at a ceremony at 12:45 BST on
Wednesday 3rd April 2013. It was followed by a viewing of an
exhibition at the Upper Gallery of
Gallery Studios, 1 Abbey Street, Faversham of Christopher's extensive
sundial works entitled
Time'. After the opening Christopher remarked to the local
press that it was quite an honour for the town council to give him
permission to paint a sundial on the Guildhall as, after all, it is a
listed building. He wanted it to be something special to mark the
Queen's Diamond Jubilee. The dial was painted by Simon Scamp, a
local sign-writer and it was funded by local brewers Shepherd Neame as
well as by a number of anonymous donors. See it installed
(Courtesy of This is Kent) in
here. Some background to the construction of this dial may be
See Christopher Daniel's own article about the dial
NOW See some
images of the actual dial in situ at our SunInfo Photogallery
David Payne's suggestion for a
Noon Mark gets approval!!
Regular visitors to this site will know of David
extraordinary project to place sundials of various types along the
Burlingham Woodland Walks in Norfolk. The walks are about 7 miles east
of Norwich and they can be accessed at a number of start points, including
that from North Burlingham.
Click the thumbnail for the impressive list of those sundials currently in
place or under construction. The next one will make use of
15 ft high
beacon which was erected in 2012 to mark the Queen's Jubilee on
playing fields nearby. This
will be a Noon mark, with an analemma on the ground that marks the months,
solstices and equinoxes.
We await further details with interest. SunInfo will provide
progress reports as we have them. Contact the
webmaster if you wish to
sponsor any of the dials.
Want to see summaries, photographs, programmes and delegate reviews of
previous BSS conferences or the plans for the next one?
- 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
Still the comments come in about the
issue of Christopher Daniel's books and the BSS
library. The Council recently issued members with what some see
as an almost completely incorrect
summary of the position, because it claims that it is Christopher who will
not negotiate and who blocks acceptance of a deal.. To many however, a
deeper analysis of it indicates that:
By anybody's standards it is surely the Council of BSS who have bullied Christopher, it is they who have
twice refused to meet him at his home on a one to one basis and it is they
who tried twice to insist that he travels to Cambridge when he now no
longer drives and at 81 finds train journeys a problem.
Then the Council has tried to insist that they, and only they, determine
the agreement process. It is they (not Christopher) who refuse to
negotiate, it is they who try to insist on no lawyers being involved and
it is they who have imposed their own arbitrary deadline for ‘agreement’ -
but, be it noted, only an agreement on their terms – after which they are
now trying to suggest that the matter is closed.
The reaction of the Membership was swift and predictable:
"[We] are now angry enough at Frank and Council to support a revolt!
Frank's last dismissive diatribe is not acceptable. The OED defines
"amicable" as "done in a friendly spirit" implying such applies to all
parties and has been the word applied by Frank many times to achieving
settlement of this matter. When I asked Chris Williams at the AGM about
the problem, his attitude toward me was not amicable. Nothing I am aware
of from Frank about this issue has been amicable".
extract published with permission
And Now (1),
in another twist
and three months after first being formally asked for its evidence to support
its stance that Christopher Daniel's books were indeed a gift, the Society had to be asked again. That was dated 16th July and
there was still no reply from BSS more than another month later!!!!! Members must now be wondering if this 'evidence'
really does exist. See the latest requesting letter from the solicitor
And Now (2), in
yet another twist it turns out that the Council, despite
having spent (in 2013 alone),
roughly the equivalent of 117
membership subscriptions on two London Legal firms' advice to change the
status of the charity to a CIO (Info
here), they appear only later to have discovered that they do not
own the BSS Trademark Logo! You really could not make this up.
And Now (3), One opinion seen by
suggests that it seems
that charity law fully provides for gifts to be returned to their original
donor! So, no matter what argument BSS chooses, there appears to be no
excuse not to return Christopher's books!!
And Now (4),
Keen to ensure that they can continue to use the BSS logo when the
new CIO (Info here)
came into effect, the trustees of BSS proposed a
swap of books for title to the logo - take it or leave it. So now we know. The
trustees are NOT after all prevented from returning Christopher's books! Just
why has this issue ever arisen and just what does it say about trustee
Remembering Andrew Somerville
Andrew was born in Paisley. He studied Organic
Glasgow University and worked on aniline dyes and later on
cancer drug research.
He retired in 1982 and resumed his interest in sundials. His book on
the elaborate Scottish sundials ‘The Ancient Sundials of Scotland’ is
still an important work. It was under his guidance that the British
Sundial Society was founded and he became its first Chairman. Sadly he
died in 1990 aged 67, only one year after BSS’s founding.
A memorial stone sundial was designed by Christopher Daniel, the
Society's current President, twenty-five years ago this year and it's
our pleasure to record that event as it was recorded in the
Bollington Arts Centre Magazine of Autumn
Archaeologists Find Rare Ancient
Roman Sundial Cambridge University
digging at the Roman town of
[between Rome and Naples] have uncovered a
near-complete Roman sundial still inscribed with its owner's name!
Read more about this unusual discovery
Huddersfield’s most popular rail
attraction? Brian Taylor – who died in 2009 – will
on at Kirklees Light Railway thanks to the unveiling of a fitting
memorial. The model steam vehicle enthusiast brought his hobby to life
in 1991 with the creation of the railway at Clayton West. The line was
first constructed to take passengers to Cuckoo’s Nest. It was later
expanded to Skelmanthorpe and then to Shelley where all journeys now
The Golcar-born man built all the locomotives and carriages for the
three-and-a-half-mile route himself in his home workshop. To mark
Brian’s involvement, a sundial memorial has been unveiled by his widow
on the platform of Clayton West station. It has a nautical theme of a
windlass with two sails on the top, the gap between which allows the
sun to shine a line over the dial face. The sundial was created by
Shepley sculptor Dave Bradbury. Images
31.10.17 [Dial kindly reported by SunInfo
reader Gerald Stancey]
The Siberian Times: Reports of
Siberian Times reports a giant glowing ball lighting the sky – in
There were fears
from locals of ‘aliens arriving’, but there is a surprising
explanation and, yes, there was indeed an unusual object in the sky.
There is more
Rochester's New Sundial.
That's Rochester in Michigan, USA of course and not
Rochester Kent, UK.
the celebration of Rochester’s bicentennial year, 200 years as a city.
To commemorate the event, they unveiled a sundial monument at Municipal
Park, located behind city hall at 400 6th St. It includes
materials such as reclaimed brick from the old Main Street downtown and
stone from a Michigan quarry. The gnomon has a brown rusted look and is
constructed of the same corten steel used throughout the old knitting
mills of historic Rochester.
Twenty rocks made with reclaimed brick from old downtown Main Street
encircle the gnomon; each weighing 1,000 pounds and representing one
decade. Click on the image for a larger picture and
A Courtesy for Meridian Line users provided
free by Spot On Sundials! The original brass
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]
A 'Mayan style' projection sundial
Courtesy of an article on the NASS website we learn that
Ruben Nohuitol of Queretaro, Mexico has built his own solarium which he
calls his “cosmic room” to observe the rays of the sun throughout the
Have a look at
his extraordinary website
here. There are several other pages of
intriguing displays to look at too.
The September 2017 edition of the BSS
Bulletin is available to Members. In this edition:
Modern Observations using the
1702 Meridian Line of the
Basilica of Santa Maria degli Angeli e dei Martiri (Rome) - Woodruff
Sullivan, Mallory Thorp, Guadalupe Tovar and Jennifer Look
How Long was I Walking? - Graham Stapleton
A Sundial Serenade - Wg Cdr James Hepburn Sindall DSO RAF, with a little
editing by Kevin Karney
An 80th Birthday Sundial - David Brown
Sundials in the Science Museum, Geneva - Doug Bateman
In the Footsteps of Thomas Ross. Part 20: The Other Dials of Lennoxlove-
Obituary: Peter-Jochen Kunath - Ortwin Feustel
Polar Sundial in Darwin - Margaret Folkard
A Missed Opportunity? - David Brown
A Pop-up Sundial for Wroxton - David Brown, Graham Stapleton and Jackie
An Interesting Slate Sundial by Griffith Davies, FRS - Sue Manston
Portable Dial in a Calendar Box - Mike Cowham
A DIY Garden Heliochronometer - Brian Huggett
A Standing Ring Dial by J. Sisson - David Hawker
The Esperance Stonehenge in Australia - John Ward and Margaret Folkard
Sundial on Mullachgearr Memorial, Mullaghrnore, County Sligo - Michael
Old Sundial Books: A Survey by Mike Cowham and Fred Sawyer
Nearly one year on...
It's now coming up for one year since Dudley Council reinstated a long
sundial which went missing from Stourbridge town centre in the 1980s and
which was unveiled at its new home in Mary Stevens Park on the 10th
The sundial, which had been erected in a small public garden next to the
town clock and market hall by King Edward VI Grammar School in 1952 to
mark the quarter centenary of its charter, became damaged before
disappearing from the town. It is presumed that the sundial was
removed in the early 1980s when the garden was replaced by the Crown
Centre shopping development. It's a pity that Medway Council in
Kent cannot do likewise with Christopher Daniel's wonderful Nelson Dial
which has been so ignorantly removed from the town centre of Chatham.
Dudley's council are indeed enlightened, and are to be
Medway Council most certainly are not.
Penrith's Unusual Sundial
In a garden near Penrith stands an elegant octagonal sundial
at first glance looks as if it is simply an example of a pleasant well made
sundial mounted on a rather unusual tapered stone pedestal.
Closer inspection however shows that it is anything but
See more about this most unusual sundial here
19.08.17, 12.09.17 [Images
© Robert Sylvester]
Here's an interesting Cumberland sundial
away in the West Lakes is this gem that is very well preserved.
Not only that but it appears to be one of only two existing dials made by Chadburn of Liverpool - Optician to Prince Albert no less - and it is
mounted on a quite extraordinary pedestal.
Just take a closer look
here and judge
31.07.17, 12.09,17 [Images
© Robert Sylvester]
'Rescued' perhaps - But...
Nether Winchendon House, near Thame in Oxfordshire is a
crenellated, mediaeval and Tudor property with seven acres of gardens
and 600 acres of parkland. Not surprisingly it is listed Grade 1 by
Historic England. Outside the house is an attractive pedestal
surmounted by what can only be described as a 'rescued' stone sundial
which is in a sorry state. The stone dialplate is cracked and
clumsily repaired in the ancient manner by two forged clamps. No dial
furniture is visible and the gnomon is a modern attempt to make the dial
look like a dial. The pedestal is however quite charming and worth
seeing for that alone.
Click to see a series of three images
that show the sad outcome for what must
have been an interesting sundial. Guesses as to age?
28.08.17 - Photos
© VL Thomson 2017
Some Welcome Restoration News!
In our 2017 edition of Dial Time and courtesy of
NASS, it had been reported that the
sundial on the wall of the Jesuits' Church, next to the Old University
entrance on St. Paul Street in Valleta, Malta was in a severe state of
disrepair. Alexei Pace now reports that "Restoration of the 1695
sundial in Valletta, has now been completed. All the vegetation and
fungal growth/mould has been removed and the stonework re-pointed."
The Moorish Dial.
The origins of the sundial are lost in the mists of
antiquity; but there is no
that the very earliest civilisations made use of the shadows of objects
to gauge the time of the day and the season of the year. In 2008
Christopher Daniel published a page in Clocks Magazine about the Arabic
Origins of the Scientific Sundial.
There were many bright stars in the glittering Arabian
firmament of science and art; but these were perhaps the brightest of
those most able to invent the scientific sundial.
Read the article here.
There are two vertical declining
dials at Grimsthorpe Castle! Historic
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
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.
'Know Thy Time' - Heiner
Thiessen's 'Chime Dial'. This sundial was inspired
to mark solar midday by an acoustic signal, as happened with the noon
cannons of the early 1600s - though using rather more modern
This is effectively a solar alarm clock! Turn the small
hemisphere to the time of your choice and (if the sun shines at that
time) the dial will chime.
Read Heiner Thiessen's 2010 article on this dial and
also Tony Moss's description of how he constructed one of these dials.
The article is here
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
On the Design Latitude of Horizontal
A short note on how the design latitude of a dial plate, with or without
the gnomon present, may easily be determined, with graphs to allow a good
estimate to be obtained.
to read the article (PDF)
The June 2017 BSS Newsletter
reports a concern about declining society membership, about
Society might use social media to advertise itself and about the
possibility of establishing an online discussion forum. Since publication
of this Newsletter SunInfo has been contacted by several
members and former members to express their surprise since every one of
these issues was comprehensively discussed by Christopher Daniel's council
way back in 2011, a summary of ideas to remedy a reducing membership was
then given to the current council when they took office but from the
information so far received, it appears that little or none of these
has been considered let alone have any of the solutions been enacted in the
intervening years! More than that, the 2011 social media
implementation of the Society's Facebook page has never been updated for
over four years and, guess what? its designer had already
built in a discussion forum and even made provision for future advertising
facilities none of which have simply ever been tried, let alone used. Indeed former trustees
recall that the concept of using Facebook for any sort of advertising was
specifically abandoned almost from the time the present council took
office - despite the easy way costs for it could be limited.
Perhaps then, it's little wonder that these five (or so)
years of council inaction on such well understood and well documented issues
have finally led to today's problems? Maybe the Society would be
better placed now had other circumstances prevailed?
A Fine Example of a Cross Sundial
has been located in the SE of England. It is a particularly elegant
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.
Way back in 1991 The
UK's Cumbrian sundial super-sleuth Robert Sylvester first recorded the
sundial at the Parish Church of St Mary's Church in High Hesket, It was
designated SRN 1006 in the National register. By then the 700x800mm
sandstone dial had split, was missing its gnomon and it had been removed
from the wall and placed in store. Then, on Saturday 2nd April 2005 a
replica was rededicated by the Rev. Beth Smith after a three-year
restoration project by members of Hesket Local History Group. The
dial is notable for its two lengthy mottoes.
Have a look at it by clicking on the
Photos Trevor Harris, CC
Celebrating 115 years since the
discovery of the Antikythera Mechanism
On 17 May 1902, Greek archaeologist Valerios Stais
found a corroded chunk of metal which turned out to be part of the
world's first computer and became known as the Antikythera Mechanism.
The Google Doodle of May 17 2017 commemorates the 115th anniversary of
the device's discovery showing just how a rusty remnant can open up a
skyful of knowledge and inspiration.
Read more about this here
In 1925 The Perkins Observatory
was one year old. As a gift to Ohio Wesleyan
graduating class of 1925 raised money to present a sundial to the
observatory. The sundial itself was made of bronze and sat atop a
stone pedestal carved to represent the Mayan or Aztec sun god.
Sadly, that sundial was stolen sometime around 1944. But in 1998, it
was decided that it was time to do something about it.
Perkins' Schmoyer sundial and the problem that it too had with
RHS Gardens at Hyde Hall are to be
congratulated! An April
visit to the
gardens at Hyde Hall near Chelmsford in Essex, by
one of SunInfo's
revealed that a floodlight had been positioned above the vertical sundial
on the gable end of one of the out buildings there. See the photo on the
When this was brought to the attention of the management of RHS the
problem was very swiftly addressed; the light removed and even two nearby
mature trees that screened the dial removed also.
As can be seen in the second image, the sundial now 'shines in its own
glory' one again.
Notification of the main problem to the final fix was accomplished in only
17 days! That really is amazing.
RHS Hyde Hall management are much to be commended.
SunInfo visitors might consider dropping in when next they
are in the area - there's even more to Hyde Hall than just the sundial!
Brian Asquith and a so far 'unrecorded'
Christopher Daniel dial!
Asquith, who died in 2008 aged 78, was a sculptor, designer and
silversmith whose work remained in the forefront of contemporary design
and manufacture for some 40 years. Asquith drew his inspiration from
artists and designers who had been shown at the 1951 Festival of Britain, and
also from European Modernism. He also designed a centrepiece in silver
commissioned by the British government and presented to Mauritius on the
occasion of its independence in 1966; personal gifts given to the Prince
of Wales on his investiture in 1969, and a prestigious sundial
commissioned by the Victoria Cross and George Cross Association
and presented to the Queen Mother on her 80th birthday. This unbelievably
elegant dial shown here was delineated by Christopher Daniel and which has so
far escaped being included in the Christopher Daniel Collection though it is
recorded in the National Register as SRN2206.
Click the image for a closer look and
Here to read Brian Asquith's obituary.
An Unusual Birthday Sundial.
Back in 2012 Christopher Daniel took a commission to
a sundial for the husband of a friend on the occasion of the husband's
40th Birthday. It was to a very tight timescale yet nevertheless
the outcome was not only a success but it also culminated in a very
unusual inclined horizontal dial with some additional features of
interest to all diallists.
Read about the commission in this edited account of
Christopher's subsequent article which was first published in the BSS
The National Trust and the
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?
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 then!
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 changed.
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 have 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 ar ticle
C StJH Daniel MBE)
Another Dial - Another Headache!
In 2013 the octagonal Luton Hoo Walled Garden celebrated
of its builder - the 3rd Earl of Bute. Scientist of his day,
though a particularly unpopular Prime Minister. It was he who, in
the 18thC, had been instrumental in the establishment of Kew Gardens. As
a part of the celebrations for this birthday celebration, an analemmatic
dial was commissioned and largely
constructed by the Garden's own team of volunteers.
However, what had
been a straightforward dial delineation task ended up
uncovering an extraordinary fact. The garden is nearly aligned to the
sunrises and sunsets at the solstices and equinoxes of its location -
and it is not clear why!
Read about the Earl of Bute and how, with 'Capability'
Brown, he moved his garden from near the river up no less than 200
feet to the top of a hill, arguably
the most inconvenient location for a huge five acre
garden and one that requires similarly huge amounts of water.
Bute combined interests of botany, astronomy and
philosophical instruments all of which appear to be significant in the
concepts behind the walled garden. But why was it built like this?
Read about it all here.
Christopher Daniel's 1981 Trigon!
A real discovery this!! Way back in 1981 BSS President
Daniel MBE drew out for himself a very simple design for a Trigon.
Such devices were used
long ago to lay out sundials on any fixed surface and they are useful
when the surfaces are not as accessible as one might wish. Modern
versions usually make use of theodolite mechanisms and a laser but such
isn't necessary. This hand drawn diagram explains the theory and
demonstrates the use of this device and all on one page too!
View the page here
- or click on the thumbnail.
Charity Commission confirms Donors'
Rights. In February and as a part of a public
response, the Charity
Commission of England and Wales issued a concise summary of the duties
of charities in respect of their activities and, more importantly
their accountability to donors, beneficiaries and indeed the public.
The short summary says:
It is important that the financial activities of
charities are properly recorded and their financial governance is
transparent. Charities are accountable to their donors,
beneficiaries and the public.
Donors to charity are entitled to have confidence that their money
is going to legitimate causes and reaches the places that it is
intended to. This is key to ensuring public trust and confidence in
SunInfo much welcomes this important
statement and all the policies that now lie behind it behind it, not
least those in respect of the operation of the BSS Library which -
after suggestions that it should even be closed - has only recently
been subjected to significant concerns as to its long term viability.
Oldest or second oldest surviving
portable sundial? Found in Herculaneum in the 1760s,
sundial in the shape of an Italian ham has been copied and a 3D replica
generated in order to test its design. The dial is hung from a
string so that the sun falls on its left side, allowing the attached
'pig’s tail' gnomon to cast a shadow across the grid.
The user aligns the dial so that the tip of the tail’s shadow falls on
the vertical line for the current month whereupon the hour may be
estimated from the number of horizontal lines from the top horizontal
line to the horizontal line closest to the tip of the shadow.
Wesleyan University’s Christopher Parslow, a professor of
classical studies and Roman archaeology who made the 3-D reconstruction
claims it does represent a knowledge of how the sun works, and it can be
used to tell time.
Read more of the dial The original as found in the
Villa dei Papiri has been
dated to the 1st Century AD and can be seen
Historic sundial back at Ipswich’s
Christchurch Park after nearly 100 years. An
sundial has been restored to its former glory – and has now been
dedicated to author and historian Dr John Blatchly. The armillary
sphere was previously in the Christchurch Park arboretum way back in
the early 1920s, but it fell into disrepair and was moved to the back
of Christchurch Mansion.
After decades at the back of the mansion, a dedicated fundraising
project was launched by the Friends of Christchurch Park in June to
bring it back to life.
See the story here
The Istiwak clock that shows
dhuhur and asr prayer times. The Grand Mosque of
in Central Java still uses a sundial, locally known as an ‘istiwak
clock’, to determine the exact time for Muslims in the city to perform
dhuhur (midday) and asr (afternoon) prayers.
Although Muslims now use modern clocks for prayer time guidance, the
istiwak clock remains the main attraction for people to visit the
Surakarta Grand Mosque.
Read more about this interesting dial from the Jakarta Post.
'Enid Blyton's Dial' - Rediscovery
and Restoration For the last 30 years of her life
lived at Green Hedges, 42 Penn Road in Beaconsfield. The house
had been built by one
Charles Maggs around 1912 and it was he who commissioned
a sundial which was originally positioned high up on the south gable of
the house. All trace of the dial was lost after the house came to
be demolished in 1973. Then in 2013 it was found, bought by Kari
Dorme, a committee member of The Beaconsfield Society and it has now
been restored and installed at Bekonscot Model
Village in Beaconsfield - a place much loved by Blyton.
See the restored dial and read about its
discovery and the restoration here.
Enjoy a spell at the Gaol House!
That is enjoy the outside of the Gaol House in
Lynn, Norfolk! Sitting as it does next to the wonderful Town Hall
in the area of the Saturday Market, it sports on its roof line, a
majestic vertical west declining sundial dated, it is believed, to 1784
and delineated by S Bunnett. It has as its motto 'Tempus Fugit'. Click
on the image for a close up of the dial face. The dial declines 10
degrees West of South and is marked with tall Roman lettering, quarter
hours with the half hours having inward extending trefoil ended lines
and rather less commonly, with an individual marker for each half hour
engraved in the chapter ring. A really elegant dial.
© VL Thomson 2016)
The Dial at Sherborne Castle
is listed as SRN 1929 in the UK's National Register. It was first
in 1992 and hasn't been recorded frequently since. Also it isn't easy to study.
Set high on the tower to the left of the entrance to this delightful
castle it is a pedimented vertical declining dial which declines slightly
Click on the image here for a close up.
taken 13.10.16 at 13:38:46 GMT
Although these images do not show it well, an observer at the tower can just discern
traces of its Roman numerals which are now only faintly visible. Oddly,
these numerals appear to be recessed rather than proud so suggesting that
the dial was originally engraved as well as painted rather than simply
painted on a flat ground. (Usually formerly painted dials protect the
background from erosion so resulting in raised lettering).
Apart from this, the dial, its mounting and its gnomon are in good
condition. A pity that it hasn't yet been restored to its earlier
The Dollar Academy Sundial
Dollar is one of the Hillfoots Villages of Clackmannanshire
lying as it
does between Stirling and St Andrews. Its famous school, the
Dollar Academy lies in the town and its main school building is a
striking neoclassical design by the eminent Scottish architect William
When an additional school building was needed for modern
languages and economics, the Westwater building was designed and
completed at the end of June 2015. It is named after George Westwater, a
private in the 1/4th Battalion, Royal Scots QER, who was killed at
Gallipoli on 28 June 1915 at the age of 21, almost one 100 years to the
day prior to the building’s completion.
In time for the formal opening on the 23 March 2016 by
Lord Brodie, a declining vertical sundial incorporating a sphere, was
commissioned. The sphere demonstrates how the sun's light travels round
the Earth in the course of the day. The two sided panel carries text on
the reverse showing the Equation of Time and the longitude and latitude
and the back half of the sphere emerges from the the reverse of the
Dial of the Month. Church of St.
Vincent Ferrer, Ragusa, Sicily.
month we show the sundial that is on the facade of the Church of St.
Vincent Ferrer in Ragusa, Sicily. The dial is delineated in Italian hours
(shown in black). The red lines show the equinox and mid summer
declination lines and the
Taurus/Cancer zodiac symbols. The dial lies at 36.93N, 14.75E and appears
to decline approximately S105 degs W.
At the bottom are the words 'LINE S. VINC. Ferreri'.
Click the image for two photographs.
Athens' Tower of the Winds
Opens The so called Horologion of Andronikos
is an octagonal Pentelic marble clocktower and early timepiece situated in
the Roman Agora. It still features a combination of sundials, a water
clock, and it probably held a weather vane too. Thought by some to have
been built by Andronicus of Cyrrhus around 50 BC but possibly by another
even as early as the 2nd century BC, the Athens Ephorate of Antiquities began
cleaning and conserving the structure in 2014 and this has just been
completed! The North American Sundial Society NASS has an excellent
article about this fascinating building. Read it
A Cumbrian Riders' Dial
can be found in the lovely churchyard of Hall
on the shore of the Esk Estuary. Installed in 1830 in memory of the
Rev J Stanley, it is mounted on a pedestal five or so feet high, placed
there for horse riders!
The dial is well made by Watkins & Hill and is nicely and accurately
delineated. Set on a moulded square plinth, turned upright, and moulded
square top with inset circular brass plate and gnomon.
Read about it in a recent Guardian article
Frans Maes has
recently recovered the information prepared by the late Fer de Vries
the construction of an Hemispherium.
He has now very kindly placed it on his own website
Linking to the BSS
web site if you find you are being
'Forbidden' from doing so by BSS!
Direct hyperlinks to the BSS website
were at one time being blocked by BSS. That
stopped for a while when the new BSS web site opened but now in late 2015
some visitors to SunInfo are reporting that this is 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 today. (A list of just some of the more recent ones
compiled from all of your inputs - and sadly there are rather a lot - will
be available on this site in due course so you may soon judge for yourself).
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 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
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?
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: 22.214.171.124 • 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 linking to
any of its pages by any website and SunInfo reports
25/26.02.14, 05.03.14, 06.07.14,30.11.15, 23.12.16
Term future of the BSS Library FINALLY assured. BSS members will have noted the
recent and welcome change of heart by the Council of BSS Trustees that was
announced by BSS Librarian Nick Orders in the December 2014 Newsletter. In this the security of the BSS
Library was affirmed at last and the on-going commitment of the trustees to its support and maintenance was finally confirmed.
As a result of this BSS President Christopher Daniel has decided that his loaned
collection is not now at risk of unauthorised disposal and accordingly at the
2015 Conference he confirmed his
intention to leave his highly valuable works at the BSS Library in Bromley House,
As a part of that address Christopher
disclosed that he had asked Frank King, as Chairman (and Chris Williams, as
Secretary) to put their signatures to the document to endorse it.
Churlishly in the circumstances, it
seems they refused to do so. Members will simply not understand this
extraordinary attitude, one which has already led to such dissension within the
Society. Nor will they understand why such earlier misguided calls for the
dissolution of the library had not been thrown out MUCH earlier by the Council.
today's management of the BSS seem to many members to be occurring far too
frequently and the absence of any apology is not only worrying, it is
A few copies of the donation document
were circulated - see this copy below.
To see more of the 2015 BSS Conference please click
13.04.13, 09.05.15, 22.06.15
NOW, Christopher Daniel has replied
to the unfounded comments made in a Member's September
Council which has already been reported below and which
is to be seen in our special page about the
Books Issue. Read Christopher's reply
of course confirms what all members of the Society - except apparently the
complainant - already knew. Yet most BSS Members will surely also be
baffled as to why such comments - which are entirely irrelevant to the
Books issue and are in any case incorrect - came to be raised in the first place.
17.11.14 Published with permission
Yet again, the BSS Council says 'take it
or leave it'. Prominent BSS Member and fellow
academic, Dr Martin Jenkins, recently wrote to BSS Chairman Frank King
suggesting a meeting to help resolve the matter of the ownership of the
President's books. The approach was rebuffed and the Chairman's reply was once again
only to 'urge Chris to accept the original
offer'. This was the unreasonable, non-negotiated 'take it or leave it' offer made a
long time ago. There was no mention let alone discussion of Christopher's
generous alternative 50 year loan offer which would be of such importance
to the membership. BSS Members will surely be appalled at what they
must see as the clear contempt being shown by their Council over this
important issue. Not only that but can anyone really believe that
even now the entire BSS
library contents are STILL at risk of an ill-considered
majority decision by any board of trustees in the future. This is unacceptable.
Now in connection with the matter of
Christopher Daniel's Books, SunInfo has received
two copies of what can only be described as an
astonishing document, one
support of the Council by a BSS Member. See if you agree that it demonstrates the
paucity of logic that such a stance brings with it and the need of some to resort
to unnecessary and even quite unfounded criticism in an attempt to lend
what might be considered misguided support to the Council's
argument. The ordinary
BSS Member will surely be aghast at this sort of attack which does the
Council no credit over its handling of the matter of Christopher's Books.. Visit our special
page on this matter for more details
Then look at just how much Christopher has actually written to date
Some of the BSS Membership have now responded
to the Council's extraordinary letter that was emailed to them by Frank
King on 11.09.14. Follow this wholly unnecessary saga at our
devoted to the way in which the BSS Council is still treating its
eminent President, Christopher Daniel MBE
news is at the bottom of that page. Or simply jump to
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Remember an entry that used to be here?
Go to our Archive Page. We place the older stories from the SunInfo page
there after they have been
removed from the main page to make room for more recent news. So, if you want to look for something you
on SunInfo which is not there now, here's the place to look. Entries are frequently dated with their original dates of insertion/amendment on the
SunInfo page and they are placed here in order of their removal from the
web page. Why not browse the Archive anyway?
The Dial of Ahaz
This December marks ten years
Christopher Daniel wrote his article covering the mystery of the Dial of
Ahaz in his then regular column of 'Clocks Magazine'.
Read the article for yourself Here
and see what some others have concluded about this ancient mystery.
Great Circle was thought to be back!!
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 is 'on the case'.
In the meantime you could try MIDC SPA
Calculator (max intervals of one hour) or
Unusual Dial in Grantham
We have recently been made aware of this
interesting dial which
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 appears to retain its original nodus.
***Another image received - taken at the Solstice
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. More very soon!
2017 "Dial Time"
again SunInfo is delighted to publish its
to accompany the 2017 Conference Season.
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
Download 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
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 accessible
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
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.
BSS Newbury Meeting 2017
The Annual BSS One Day Meeting in Newbury took place on
Saturday 23 September 2017 and ran from 9-4. All were welcome not
just BSS Members. BSS President Christopher Daniel MBE attended too.
More information was available on our
Newbury 2017 page.
ULTIMATE Sundial Conference of 2017! This
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 the
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 was held,
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
Information is updated regularly.
Our Special BSS Conference page
included notes written to accompany Dr
Philip Pattenden's conducted tour of
Sundials of Oxford Colleges which were visited during the
Inaugural 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 this year, 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
Conference; a conference that was held over
The level of interest is little short of amazing. Mind you, our page
does include summaries,
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 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
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!!
Interesting News, Articles
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 has fared in the 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,
New Polar Sundial designed by BSS Member David Payne
has now been placed in Farrows Wood as a further extension to the
Burlingham Walks Sundial Trail in Norfolk, UK. The dial has
been dedicated to the memory of Kevin Pettigrew with the quote from
Sylvia Plath "There Was a Beautiful Time".
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
A really historic sundial
designed for and used in Manchester's Liverpool Road
Station. This is the world's oldest surviving railway
and the world's first railway warehouse; now restored and serving as a
This sundial was made in 1833, only four years after the purchase of land
for this Manchester terminus of the Liverpool & Manchester Railway (L&MR)
and still years from the eventual introduction of mean time.
Click on the image for a larger view. The dial measures 53 cms
diameter and the gnomon is some 28cms high.
The Polish Sundial
Register now records 1156 dials! The
of the sundials of Poland has well exceeded 1100. BSS Member Darek Oczki
is the Registrar and his website
http://gnomonika.pl/ lists them. Here are the totals by dial
type found so far
Meridian lines 1
No data yet 3
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 downloading this
beautiful calendar even in August 2015!! 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 here
©HMSO, 1929 07.08.16
Capt. Michael Francis Aston Maltin, DFC. Wartime pilot of
Spitfires and then Lancaster bombers,
pilot for BOAC and then British Airways and a long time horologist and
sundial enthusiast, died peacefully in North Woodchester on 25th January
2015, aged 94 years with son Christopher, daughter Elaine and his
beloved Vera by his side. Michael was the son of the late Rev Arthur
Frank Maltin, former vicar of Stroud and of Amberley, the much loved
husband of the late Christine Maltin and a cherished father, grandfather
and great-grandfather. A lovely, unassuming man and Spitfire
fanatic who will be much missed by those who had the privilege to know
SunInfo's Obituary to a great man.
The 2015 BSS Newbury Meeting included a fitting display to the memory of the
life and times of Michael.
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 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 in 2017 might not these form useful advice for today's BSS Council - and
from their own Examiner no less?
Just imagine! Places where 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?
Martins Gills of Riga in Latvia has an interesting
more than two hundred pages altogether but within that, no fewer than 41
pages of lovely images of dials around the world, several other links about
dials and dialling and a map showing the location of more than twenty dials
in Latvia. Saules pulkstensis is the Latvian for 'Sundial' and the
web site is in Latvian but Google Translate does a reasonable job of making
it understandable to those who do not read the language. Well worth a
look. It may be found
Martins Gills has a second website which
describes a unique post card dial and a few of the dials that he has
designed himself. Have a look
Martins presentation at the recent 2014 BSS Conference may be
David Brown Sundials
offers a Blog/Website about their recent projects.
Worth a look
The first sundial to be made in Montreal?
question. In April 2009 a fragment of a sundial was displayed at the
Pointe-à-Callière museum in Montreal. Thought to date from the late
17thC and with a delineation that despite displaying lines above the horizon
shows it might have adorned a wall on a building on the estate of Montreal's
fifth appointed (rather than acting!) governor Louis-Hector de Callière, it
may even be the first sundial to be made in Montreal.
Read more of this enigmatic discovery
Image©Montréal Museum of Archaeology and
Dial 'Restored' by BSS President Chris Daniel!
In 1969 the 'Meridies Media' noon mark mean time
sundial, designed by Dr Tadeusz Przypkowski, with amendments by Chris
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 now available of the
latest 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!
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
how sometimes you might not get a reply from the BSS
Trustees. Here, after two years and coming up to three, 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
three 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