Callendar House Sundials (F3 & F4)

Two freestanding sundials were recorded on the South Avenue at Callendar Park by the RCHAMS in 1957.  The older of the two stood about 200yds south of the house, beside the summerhouse part of the way up the hill.  It was of a curious form consisting of a crude square base, a deep channel and then a truncated obelisk capped by a cube – 3ft tall in all.  Height and form suggest that it had been remodelled.  The obelisk element curves outward towards its bottom and has nodular swellings on the corners which may represent buds, two below and one above a simple moulding.  The “cubical” head actually tapers slightly in the opposite direction from the obelisk and the vertical angles are chamfered to allow them to support carved masks in relief.  One face (presumably originally the north face) bore the date 1677, whilst another had the intitial AN EC (RCAHMS 1963, 351).  The significance of the initials is not known but clearly the sundial was brought from elsewhere.  It was in the grounds of Callendar House by 1892 when it is mentioned in the Falkirk Herald as a fragment of a second sundial – the first being that below.  By 1972 it was again described as being in fragments.

Illus: Callendar House Sundial II.



The second sun-dial stood about 80yds south of the mansion just to the south of the ornamental canal. The square shaft rose from a square moulded base to support an octagonal dial-head in the form of a bulged capital.  Both shaft and head contained a number of geometrically-shaped sunk dials known as hollow dials. The structure was 4ft 1in high, but the shaft was shorter than in most sundials of this type and may have been truncated.  The north face had, carved in relief, a shield charged: Quarterly, 1st and 4th, three gillyflowers within a double tressure, for Livingstone; 2nd and 3rd, a bend between six billets, for Callendar; en surtout an escutcheon, now blank.  Above the shield there was an earl’s coronet together with the incised initials E/IL, presumably for James, 5th and last Earl of Linlithgow, who succeeded to the title in 1695.

A later copper dial by Andrew Adie of Edinburgh had been inset into the top of the dial-head, but was removed by vandals c 1970.

The grounds of Callendar House are now a public park and although the sundials were transferred to Falkirk Council their present whereabouts is not known.

Illus: Callendar House looking north with Sundial II in the foreground and a fountain further along the avenue.

Sites & Monuments Records

Callendar House Sundial I       SMR 563         NS 8983 7928

Callendar House Sundial II      SMR 564         NS 9881 7921

G.B. Bailey, 2021