Sundial, copper, c1652, shows eclipse.

Contributed by Paula Sunshine

Sundial, copper, c1652, shows eclipse.

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This small, formerly fixed (somewhere in the garden possibly) sundial was found buried in the earth floor of a Tudor house in Suffolk. It is engraved with a depiction of a solar eclipse and the date 1652. In April 1652 there was a solar eclipse in Britain and at that time many people would have thought this a bad oman, particularly as this was a time of great confusion in Britain, Charles 1st having been beheaded, the interregnum with Cromwell etc. The dial (which is missing it's gnomon, the bit that sticks up and casts the shadows) appears to have been burnt in a fire prior to burial, and this may have been part of the ritual of burial, perhaps in an attempt to destroy 'evil spirits'.

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Lawshall, Suffolk.




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