Sussex Mass & Scratch Dials





In 1919 (S.A.C. lx) Mr. H. M. Whitley, our former Editor, had a very interesting article concerning these Mass clocks of former ages.
This note is to record two which escaped his observation :


This is worthy of more than a mere note of its existence, so much so that my friend, Mr. T. Ward, has made a sketch for reproduction.

Although facing S. and capable of service to-day it is not in its original position. In the 18th century a buttress was rebuilt on the S. side of the Church, probably in 1738 as on a central stone is legibly incised

John Paine April
ye 13 :: 1738

presumably the name of the Churchwarden of that date. The block of Caen stone on which this Mass dial was carved now forms part of the buttress.
The Dial has a diameter of 7 ins. and consists of a circle divided by meridional and horizontal lines. Each of the lower quadrants is divided by the Mass line (9 a.m.) in one case and the hour line for evensong (3 p.m.) in the other. They are again subdivided. There are also pits in the upper half placed for symmetry, certainly not for use. The exceptional features of this Dial are to be found in the deep grooves of the lower quadrants leading downwards to a circular opening almost 1 in. diameter, which itself slopes down to the style hole, in. diameter. The pits outside the circle, as well as the upper ones, are unusually large, 3/8 in. diameter. The unusual character of this Dial at Kingston will be best appreciated from a study of the drawing.


The Dial on this Church is on the SW. angle of the Tower, facing S. and about 7 ft. from the ground.
There is nothing remarkable about it. It consists of the usual series of small pits, marking the hours from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. divided by a noon line (the only incised one), the pits indicating Mass and Evensong and these subdivided as in the Kingston example. One pit at the top opposite the noon one ; no incised circle. Diameter about 7 ins.


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