Stenhouse (Carronvale) Sundial (F13)

A rather unusual freestanding sundial was first recorded at Stenhouse where it was drawn in 1908 by Flora Sherriff for Gibson’s book on the history of the Larbert estates.   It consists of a spherical upper dial head attached at a jaunty angle by a metal rod to a lower eight-sided dial block which in turn surmounted a tapering four-sided column with widely chamfered angles.  The section of the column is then reflected in a two-tiered basal plinth and two steps.

Illus: Stevenson’s published image.


Its position in the centre of the walled garden at Stenhouse is shown on the 1915 edition of the Ordnance Survey map (revised in 1913).  It did not appear on the 1897 map, though this may have been due to a change in surveying policy it is probable that it was brought to Stenhouse by John Bell Sherriff of Carronvale who bought Stenhouse in 1888.  What appears to be the spherical top of the sundial is now in the collections of Falkirk Museum and it could provide a clue to its original location.  Engraved in small letters near the top it has “LAT.E 55o D 38”” which would place it on a latitude just to the south of Hawick in the Scottish Borders.

During the Second World War the Prudential Assurance Company occupied Carronvale House and temporary huts were erected in the walled garden.  The sundial is reported to have been seen lying in pieces and at some stage it is believed that it was moved by friends of the Sherriff family who no longer lived there.  In 1946 the house was acquired by the Boys Brigade and the links with the past were severed.  It was possibly when the sundial was lying in pieces that the upper spherical head became detached and eventually found its way into Falkirk Museum.

Illus: Aerial view of Carronvale House, c1920, showing the sundial in the centre of the walled garden.
Illus: Projected drawing of the spherical sundial head in Falkirk Museum.
Illus: Photograph of the spherical sundial head showing the faceted top set at an angle.

Sites & Monuments Record

Carronvale House        SMR 209         NS 8671 8198

G.B. Bailey, 2021