Airth Castle Sundial (F2)

This sundial used to stand in the centre of the terraces to the south of Airth castle which were created in the 1720s.  It comprised of a head 1ft 4ins square by 1ft 9ins high, and a modern square-stepped base, the whole standing 3ft 5ins high. The head bore floral ornamentation below and into the chamfered lower corners with a cherub’s head at each of its upper corners creating octagonal panels.  Each of these four panels was dialled.  The south face bore the date 1690 at the top; the north one, below the dialling, a shield charged, for Elphinstone – a chevron between three boars’ heads erased.  The shield was encircled by the motto “FLORET QUI VIGILAT” (He flourishes who watches), and at the top was the further motto “SIC TRANSIT GLORIA MUNDI” (Thus passes the glory of this world).  On the top of the head was a square brass dial engraved with the sun’s face and the motto “HORA FUGIT” (Time flies).

Charles Elphinstone succeeded his father in the lands and Barony of Airth in 1683 and was also responsible for the new market cross in the Low Town in 1697.

The east and west faces also bore large vertical grooves suggesting that the sundial had gone out of fashion and that the head had then been used as a cheese-press until reinstated and provided with the rather clumsy base.  Unfortunately its whereabouts is no longer known.

Sites & Monuments Record

Airth Castle Sundial (SMR 172)                       NS 9000 8681

G.B. Bailey, 2021