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Down Sundial

Photo Copyright Down County Museum and M.J.Harley © 2001

The Down County Museum has eight slate dials, some of them damaged, in it's archives (restricted access - not on display). The photo shows one of these, a horizontal multi-dial 395mm wide by 490mm deep. The smaller of the two central dials is delineated for Jerusalem and the main dial is for Corbally, 9km east of Banbridge. The four subsidiary dials, one at each corner of the plate are for "SAVANNA and CALCUTTA", "BOTANY" and "NEW YORK". The Botany gnomon is missing, the others are bent. Made for a "JAs MURRY" in 1834 by "J.McNALLY fecit". There is a "Places    Lat    Long" table between the JAs MURRY and J McNALLY names for the five locations delineated. It has an 8 point compass rose at the base on the central gnomon and the Corbally chapter ring shows the time from 4a.m. to 8p.m. in Roman Numerals with IV for four. It has a split noon to compensate for the gnomon thickness and fractional time rings inside the chapter ring of 60 mins, 30 mins, 15 mins and 5 mins. The mottoes are in Latin and English

"I shew by the kindnefs & splendour of the sun"
" Sol gloria spheræ" (translation - Sun, glory of the earth)
"Life in it's greatest vigour is altogether vanity"
"Brevis hominum vita" (translation - Human life is short)

The method of showing the date is unusual in that it uses the ancient Greek Athenian numbering system found on monuments of the 1st Millenium B.C.

No Photo
McNally Dial

A rectangular slate multi-dial 370mm wide by 465mm deep, SW corner with it's gnomon broken off and missing. The four other badly bent gnomons are in place. "J.McNALLY fecit" No date as this would have been on missing portion
No Photo
Melvin Dial

A rectangular slate dial 290mm wide by 340mm deep. "Made for Latitude 54° 20' North June 22 1832" "For John Sandwich of Downpatrick" "By Richard Melvin" The gnomon is missing. There is a 32 point compass rose at the base of the gnomon. The Chapter Ring shows 4 a.m. to 8 p.m. in Roman numerals with IV for four. There is no noon gap. There are three fractional time rings between the chapter ring and the compass rose, 60mins, 30mins and 15 mins.

No Photo
Straney Dial
A large, roughly octagonal, 1200mm by 700mm, now damaged, horizontal slate dial with a loose brass gnomon inscribed "Made for Latitude 54 Degrees and 20 Minutes North May 1796" and "MADE BY WILLIAM STRANEY FOR WILLIAM HENRY OF BALLYHOSSET". There is a fully qualified compass rose at the base of the gnomon. The Chapter Ring shows 4 a.m. to 8 p.m. in arabic numerals. There is a split noon to accomadate the gnomon thickness. Between the compass rose and the Chapter Ring are three fractional time rings, (1) hours and half hours (2) Quarter hours (3) 5 minutes. Outside the Chapter Ring are two compass degree rings (1) reading 10 degree intervals (2) one reading degree intervals on the north west quadrant and five degree intervals elsewhere. On old maps the North point is sometimes shown as three stacked circles, big one at bottom, middle sized next and small on top. At other times a fleur-de-lis was used. There are three stacked circles with a fleur-de-lis in the centre of the biggest on the Straney dial. There are also two 'marigold petal' designs which were probably used for aesthetic purposes (to fill in otherwise blank spaces) as were two stylistic 'ships on sea' designs.
No Photo
A Dial

An undated dial - An octagonal slate dial with a brass gnomon. The inscription is illegible.
No Photo
Smyth Dial

An undated dial - An octagonal slate dial with a brass gnomon made by Edward Smyth for John Bradley of Ballyrolly.
No Photo
Brew Dial

An undated dial - A square slate dial made by William Brew a schoolmaster from Inch near Downpatrick, for Stewart Windsor. The gnomon is missing.
No Photo
Kerr Dial

An undated dial - A square slate dial made for Daniel Kerr. The gnomon is missing.

Located on the Mall, Downpatrick, the Down County Museum (once Downpatrick Gaol) has restored cells and exhibits on the history of Down.

Museum 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
This site is copyright M.J.Harley ©