New Sundial for Lews Castle at Stornoway, Isle of Lewis

New sundial for the cast iron pedestal found at Lews Castle, Stornoway

The new sundial explains the history of Lews Castle. It will be installed in the sunken garden as part of a regeneration project.

Lews Castle at Stornoway on the Isle of Lewis in the Western Isles is in the far north of Scotland. It once belonged to the wealthy overseas trader Sir James Matheson, who built the castle as a mansion home on the site of the ancient Seaforth Lodge in the 1840s. He planted woodlands to surround his property and laid out pleasure gardens with species imported from all over the world. An extensive programme of work to regenerate the castle grounds began in 2019. When an original cast iron pedestal was discovered at the castle it was decided it should be restored. It now has a new sundial, which is just finished, and will be installed in the sunken garden.

The history of Lewis, owned first by the Mackenzie’s in the 1600s, then in the 19th and early 20th centuries by the Matheson’s and later Lord Leverhulme, and finally the Stornoway Trust, is all explained in text on the centre panel. The sundial itself is designed for its exact location at the castle. The steep angle of the gnomon corresponds to the northern latitude N58°. The dial and gnomon are bronze, and the dial detail is achieved by precise photoetching. The dark brown nearly black patina is waxed for a lasting finish.