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Acton C.o.I

A 750mm square, vertical south, slate dial 6 metres up on the tower of the Church of Ireland, Poyntzpass, 10k southwest of Banbridge on the A27. Almost identical to the dial on St. Joseph's Roman Catholic Chapel some 500 metres away. "MADE BY THOMAS M'CREASH" inscribed "THE REVEREND HENRY ASH'S GIFT TO THE PARISH" "A.D. MARCH 29 1819" "LATITUDE 54 D 12M N" There is a Latin motto "MEMENTO MORI" ( Remember you will die). The dial shows the time from 4a.m. to 8p.m. in 'bastard' Roman Numerals (see explanation below). There is a 5 minute fractional time ring inside the Chapter Ring with the half hours marked by 'crows feet'. There is a split noon to compensate for the bronze scroll gnomon thickness.
The dial is decorated with a small sun (dots for eyes, nose, and mouth) at the top, two rising suns with floral background, one in each bottom corner, and two half moons with a human face in profile at each side.
Thomas McCreash was the first schoolmaster in the local Chapel School (later Poyntzpass No1 National School) from around 1813 till 1826. Four of his dials adorn local churches and one other is in a private collection.

mirror image

The angular layout of the hour lines on a vertical south dial is the same as that for a horizontal dial of the same latitude. A mirror image of a horizontal dial will show the layout for a vertical dial and vice versa. When I 'mirror-imaged' the photo of M'Creash's vertical dial to make it appear as a horizontal dial, the Roman Numeral configurations are correct (see image on left). He also included the hour lines for times before 6a.m. and after 6p.m. which is correct for a horizontal dial but not for a direct south vertical dial.
It would appear that M'Creash used the mirror-image of a horizontal dial as his template and meticulously copied exactly what he saw and so produced his un-orthodox numerals.
He did the same on the nearby St. Joseph's Chapel dial which is dated 2 years earlier. We have no way of knowing how he explained this to his Reverend clients who must surely have recognised the error.

Lat 54° 19' North    Long 6° 23' West

Irish Grid    J  305800   339200

Thanks to Frank Watters of the Poyntzpass & District Local History Society for information on McCreash.
Visit their website

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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