29 Sufficient perhaps to prompt some to question
their validity. For Table 5’s original prevalence of scratch
dials to be considered suspect, argumentation and evidence
(outweighing that presented) is required to both, overturn the
presumed universality of scratch dial diffusion, and indicate
scratch dial loss to be overstated. This dual requirement is a
logical consequence of the methodology employed. It is
interesting to note Ovens and Sleath, op. cit., in the
introductory discussion to their recording of Rutland’s
scratch dials, favour the presumption they were originally
present on all churches, and intuitively speculate less than 30
per cent have survived.
30 Winzar’s photographs, line drawings, measurements of
dimension, line angles and position constitute a benchmark
unsurpassed nationally. His thoroughness is exemplified by the
fact that on a quarter of the churches surveyed he has recorded
the most dials (Annex).
31 Church limewashing and dial painting renders the estimated
original prevalence of multiple dials less inexplicable. Only
one or two would be in active use, the rest being limewashed
32 More complex categorisation (based for example on gnomon hole
– between stones or separately drilled, lines or pock marks,
presence of a circle) has appeared in the literature. Horne
1929, op. cit., has twelve. There are severe practical
and methodological difficulties with such taxonomies. The more
multivariate the greater the challenge of defining a taxonomy
that is both exhaustive and mutually exclusive i.e. capable of
statistical analysis. Moreover the taxonomies developed in the
literature are biased towards surviving, rather than original,
dial appearance. A simpler categorisation orientated toward
broad original, rather than the detailed vagaries of surviving,
appearance, offers the prospect of more meaningful insight.
33 Additional counties, especially those near to Kent, need to
be examined before the/any regional context can be determined.
Kent also appears to have far fewer dials with scratched
enumeration around their edge compared to other counties.
34 Half and circle dials share a common maximum dimension –
the diameter of a circle.
35 Ovens and Sleath, op. cit., report similar results for
Rutland: 76 per cent with mass, and 84 per cent with noon lines.
Compared with this paper their figures contain offsetting
effects – the inclusion of quarter dials and the adoption of
36 Missing mass and noon lines can be attributed to the
weathering out of the scratched line or it being painted only,
not also scratched, on the original dial. None hour lines can be
attributed to badly set out dials, walls badly off east-west
alignment or the time/event indicator for various activities
undertaken by the priest.
37 Although the radial lines of individual scratch dials have
been examined in the literature, systematic statistical
consideration is rare. An exception is C.M. Lowne, ‘An
Analysis of Some Mass Dials of Sussex and Kent’ The British
Sundial Society Bulletin, Vol. 97(ii), April 1997, analysing
70 scratch dials from East Sussex and south-west Kent.
Comparison is hindered by differing methodologies (a single
stage discriminatory analysis versus this paper’s staged
segmented approach) and sample size (only half Winzar’s) both
contributing to over a quarter of Lowne’s dials being
statistically indistinguishable by time system. As however
two-thirds of Lowne’s distinguishable dials conform to this
paper’s Fig. 2, the broad thrust of his results is not
inconsistent with this paper.
It is appropriate to note L.G. Welland ‘Scratch Dials and a
Suggestion of their Working’ Bygone Kent, 1981
principally because of Welland’s contribution to listing Kent
scratch dials. However the paper is neither definitive nor
conclusive, believing ‘… the whole puzzle may be insoluble’.
38 See C.H.K. Williams ‘Charing Clocks, Clockmakers and
Clockkeepers’ Archaeologia Cantiana, CXXV, 2005, and
C.H.K. Williams, ‘Seventeenth & Eighteenth Century Clock
Demand, Production and Survival: An Economic and Statistical
Analysis’, Antiquarian Horology, Vol. 28, March 2005.