Garden Street, Falkirk Sundial (F8)

This sundial was unearthed in the garden of 1 Garden Street in Falkirk (NS 8916 8008) in April 1991. It consists of three damaged stones and a putative plinth. The shaft is 0.21m square and 0.55m tall and had been broken in two. Some areas of the faces had been lost with the damage being worst on the south and east sides. The polyhedron head is more complete, although some flaking had occurred on the south side. It bore traces of black and white paint which appeared to have been the basal layers for a surface colour of green and red respectively. The paint, however, was later than some of the damage to the corners of the head. The remnants of iron gnomons were set in lead. The possible plinth took the form of a dressed stone 0.31m square and 0.10m thick with chamfered upper edges. Dowel holes occurred in the bottom and top of the shaft and in the bottom of the head, but none appeared on the suggested plinth which may have been a lower setting stone.

Illus: Measured drawings of the Garden Street Sundial.

The shaft is covered with side dials in the common shapes of squares, hearts and circles – the style of decoration is typically Scottish. The date appears in a central panel on the north face of the shaft along with the initials “IM/ MH.” This lettering is competent and crisply carved. Above this is another panel with more lightly cut initials, the first of which is badly damaged but may read “EB/ MM.” The poorer quality and positioning of these hint that they were a later addition.

The sundial can be seen on the 1862 Ordnance Survey map towards the north side of a formal garden set out with a series of north/south paths associated with the 6.655 acre nursery off Kerse Lane. In 1853 this nursery belonged to James Miller, wright, and was leased by Peter Booth. Miller has the same initials as those on the sundial and it would not be surprising if the same family owned it for a century.

Illus: 1862 Ordnance Survey Map of the nursery on Kerse Lane (National Library of Scotland). “SD” for sundial can just be made out in the formal garden.

Garden Street Sundial  SMR 2227       NS 8918 7905

G.B. Bailey, 2021