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Down Sundial

90Kb Photo

90Kb Photo

There is an octagonal slate dial in the garden of the Southwell Buildings, English Street, Downpatrick. It is available for viewing by visitors who are asked not to proceed through the second arch into the private part of the buildings. Sitting on a 1040mm high stone pillar it measures 300mm across the 'flats'. There are three fixing holes on the plate. The brass gnomon has been broken off and only a stump remains. It is inscribed "Made for MxFx Corran 1809" and around the top of the octagonal stone pillar "Let others tell of storms and showers I'll only mark your sunny hours" Meant to be read from 'outside' the dial (i.e. facing the sun), it showed the time from 4a.m. to 8p.m. in Roman numerals with IIII for four and it has a noon gap to compensate for the gnomon thickness. Inside the Chapter ring there are two fractional time rings, marked at 5 mins and 15 mins intervals. The continuous hourlines are embellished with thistles (a Scottish connection perhaps). The maker is unknown.
The meaning of the x above the initials M and F is obscure. I would have expected the maker to use the last letter of the name as an abbreviation but while Felix would fit its difficult to find a match for the M, Mannix or Max perhaps.

The Southwell Buildings (originally known as the Almshouses and Blue Schools), were built by the Edward Southwell in 1733 to a design by the Dublin architect Sir Edward Lovett Pearce who also designed the Parliament Buildings (now the Bank of Ireland) in College Green. They provided almshouses for six old men and six old women as well as schools for ten poor boys and ten poor girls. They now provide modern accommodation mainly, but not exclusively, for widows and widowers in accordance with the original 18th century trust

Special thanks to Billy Stranney for bringing this dial to my attention and supplying photos

Lat 54° 20' North  Long 5° 44' West

Irish Grid    J  347420   337260

If you know the location of a sundial in Ireland (NOT a mass produced DIY Store garden ornament) please email it to me (Click here to email M.J.Harley) - a member of British Sundial Society
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