Sundials - World's Oldest Clocks

North American Sundial Society

Nashotah  

Sundial 845
State/Province:  Wisconsin Country:  USA
Dial Type:  Horizontal Condition:  Fair
Latitude:   43° 4.90 N Longitude:   88° 25.60 W
Location:
  • Nashotah House Theological Seminary
    2777 Mission Road, Nashotah, Wisconsin

    The dial is located in a little garden is known as The Dean's Garden that is adjacent to the Red Chapel, between the Cloister and the lake.
 
Description:
  • In a quite, shaded corner of the Nashotah House Theological Seminary is a copper alloy horizontal dial. The dial plate is a 10 inch square, 3/32 inches thick. The dial is engraved with several concentric circles with with large Roman hour marks on an outer ring from 5am to 7pm. Time is delineated in 5 minute increments on the outer circle, but includes an inner circle delineated in 15 minute increments. In the center of the dial is an 8-point compass rose with engraved directions. The quarter inch thick brass gnomon is a simple raised bar acting as style with an "S" shaped support.

    The whole dial sits on a stone pedestal with a 20-inch square plinth. A plaque on the north side of the pedestal, now missing, indicated that the dial was from the Nutter family. The Very Reverend Edmundson John Masters Nutter (1879 – 1953) was the Dean of Nashotah House from the mid-1920s to the late 1940s. Cut into the stone on the front (south) side of the pedestal is a family crest composed of a boar and 3 crescent moons.

    But there is more to this dial than first meets the eye. Measurements of the dial plate with Serle's Ruler and using photographic dial overlays, show the dial plate originated between 51 and 53 degrees north (London to Manchester). The gnomon, which has the top part slightly bent, has a latitude angle of approximately 52 degrees. A dial made in London in 1716 is consistent with these measurements. Was it brought to the U.S. by the Nutter family? No records have yet been found.

    On the eve of time change Saturday Nov 5th, 2016 the Seminary begins a tradition similar to that established in 1971 at Merton College, Oxford. The Mertonians ceremony is held from 2am to 2am acknowledging the end of daylight savings time and the return to standard time. At Merton the Time Ceremony is held by "walking backwards dressed in sub fusc [full academic dress] and drinking port...saving the universe by stabilizing the time-space continuum." The Wisconsin seminarians will surround their sundial in full regalia, and as we understand, they have a good supply of port.
 
General Information:Inscription:
  • Owner: Nashotah House Theological Seminary
  • On the dial plate along with the compass rose is a large "1716" under which is the inscription "Redeem Ye Tyme".

    On the top front face of the plinth is the inscription “The Morning Cometh And Also The Night”.
  • Designer: London
  • Builder: London
  • Construction Date: 1716
 
References: Web Links:
  • http://mertonmcr.org/prospective-applicants/social/time-ceremony/

Last Revised: 2016-11-03:15:15