Thursday, September 08, 2005

Sundial


At Begbroke, a small village near Oxford, the Norman church boasts a sundial high up on the south wall of the bell tower. The style of it suggests it is a more recent addition to the architecture. My guess is somewhere around the Reformation or at the earliest, the high mediaeval period. More interesting however is the inscription on the left lintel of the main door as illustrated here. I was rather intrigued by this and thought it was some sort of mediaeval benchmark. The local verger put me right on that one. It is in fact a simple sundial and could well date back to sonn after the church ws built.
Apparently, when Mass was being celebrated, as stick was inserted into the hole. The shadow showed the hour and when the Mass would end. If the pole/stick was absent, then it showed the priest was not in the church building. Simple but effective.
This is from my sketchbook while staying at Yarnton a fortnight ago.

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