Study of an old stone sundial on an estate in Fife

An old stone sundial in Fife

An original stone sundial with two dial faces dated 1746 found on an estate in Fife.

The owner of an old stone sundial on an estate in Fife wanted to know where it belonged. The stone was lying on the ground behind farm buildings and no one could say where it had come from. Was it the correct latitude for the estate, could we study it for them and find out more?

The date 1746 carved on the stone certainly confirmed this sundial was old. The carved initials “WC:GT” were unknown. The stone did have very clear hour lines on two vertical dial faces, and there were two broken stubs of the corresponding gnomons. We were able to measure and analyse the angles of all the hour lines and define the actual positions of the gnomons. By comparing the measurements with calculated figures we established that the latitude of 56°N in Fife was in fact correct for the sundial. The owner now has plans to repair the gnomons and to find a proper place for setting it up on a wall. For the first time in a long time this old sundial will be able to tell the correct time by the sun once again.