The Abbey library holds a wonderful collection of books on the subject of sundials and the ‘art of dyaling’ a subject which was close to the hearts of many members of the community. 

In particular, Dom Ethelbert Horne was an expert on sun and scratch dials, touring Somerset on a motorbike in the early 20th century visiting any he could find. The literary collections however form a part of the Gillow collection, a selection of texts focusing mainly on sacred subjects. 

This particular volume, ‘The Art of Dyaling’ is written by John Blagrave, a Tudor mathematician and astronomer. He also created many instruments for mathematical and astronomical purposes, hence the amount of sundials within his book. The work is well known for containing one of the first known descriptions for making sun dials. 

This edition is also extremely interesting in that it is Blagrave’s own handwritten copy of the book with his own hand made sundials and annotations for the printer. It is assumed this copy would have been the one which the printer worked from when making the first edition. 

To find out more about the library collections here at Downside, click here