A few days ago, we discovered that some of the plaster had fallen off the wall in the church. To our delight it revealed a mass dial….

Mass dials are generally sited on churches’ exterior south walls to catch the sun. They may be on the smooth cornerstone or quoin of the tower, nave or chancel, above a porch or on door and window jambs. They are normally set at eye level.

However, mass dials may be found anywhere on a church even inside the building as here. If a mass dial is found anywhere other than the south elevation of a church, this usually means that it has been moved from its original location, often as part of a Victorian ‘restoration’. In such cases the dials were sometimes rebuilt into the fabric upside down, making them unreadable. This one is the right way up, but obviously useless indoors.

As you can see, there is also a ‘slot’ that has been cut into the stone to the left of the dial. We have no idea what this is for, so answers on a postcard please…..

By Diane Seddon

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