Exterior Features

High on the South wall, this is believed to be the earliest sundial in its original position found in the UK, dating from the 7th or early 8th century.  The twisted element forming the lower curve is similar to the design on the Frith Stool in Hexham Abbey. The head of the creature / beast at the top is similar to those found at Deerhurst, Gloucestershire; the beast may come from Saxon mythology.  There is a fish/eel or serpent forming the curve over the face of the dial. Reptiles with similar tails occur in the doorway of Monkwearmouth  church , thus dating this sundial to around 700. The three lines might have denoted the monastic times of prayer, terce, sext and none.

The sundial on the right is believed to be early 17th century and has 12 hours marked out in Roman numerals. It is above the porch.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The oldest gravestone in the churchyard is dated 1663, as recorded in a plan of the churchyard of1912, but the inscription can no longer be read.

On the left is the next oldest gravestone, dated 1703. It shows many ancient Christian symbols;

laurel leaves = the tree of life
hourglasses = time passing
rose/ rosettes= an ancient Roman symbol
the skull and crossbones = the resurrection.

It can be found close to the porch door on the right hand side of the path. The name of the person buried is now obliterated.

The third oldest gravestone, opposite, is to the left of the path near the porch door.

“Here lieth the body of Ralph Simpson, who departed this life September 19th Anno Domini 1729.”

There is a Latin inscription “Blessed are the dead who die in the light of the Lord.”

This is the fourth oldest gravestone, dated 1730.

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