Illustrated Dictionary of British Churches - Scratch Dial Definition

History and Architecture

Scratch Dial

A very simple form of sun dial, usually in a circular shape. Scratch dials were scratched or carved into the exterior church wall and used to tell the time, especially the time of church services. In an age when clocks were unknown or exceptionally rare, such primitive sundials may have been essential as a way to determine the correct time for services. At the centre of the dial is a hole where a small peg was inserted to act as a simple sundial marker. They might have had only three or four radiating sections, rather than a full 360 degree of lines, as it was only necessary to tell the time of services, so extra lines were unnecessary.

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This devout king was the son of Aethelred the Unready and Emma, daughter of Richard III of Normandy



27 September, 1615

Death of Arbella Stuart

Stuart starved herself to death in the Tower, where she sent for marrying another claimant to the throne, William Seymour

He was killed by his stepmother to put his half-brother on the throne



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