Natural History Handiworks
Aftermath Waterton Links Links - General Book Shelf
Overtown Miscellany - Charles Waterton
 site search by freefind  
The Boulby Sun Dial at Walton Hall

Click to enlarge"On the southern side of the mansion, on a slightly elevated mound, stands a most complete and very beautiful sun-dial, deserving of careful observation, inasmuch as it reflects a great credit on the sculptor, the late George Boulby, who was a common mason at the contiguous and rural village of Crofton, in 1813.A a work of art, and, especially when it was well known to have been executed by a totally uneducated man - by a common mason, not only devoid of inculcated literary attainments, but by one having had no guiding artistic instruction - by a man having to earn, 'by the sweat of his brow', the few shillings sufficient to enable him to secure some of the works of the philosopher of Athens - by one having to entirely depend upon self counsel so as to elevate him in his financial and social position. I venture to say, considering all these formidable disadvantages and impediments, that this specimen of sculpture is a wonderful development of innate talent, and must be admired and applauded, for generations in futurity, as a relic of the excellence of the scientific execution of the common stone mason.

This dial is composed of twenty equilateral triangles, which are so disposed as to form a similar number of individual dials, ten of which, whenever the sun shines out, and whatever may be its altitude in the heavens, are always in use, and ever faithful time-keepers. On these separate dials are engraven, severally, the names of cities in all parts of the globe, which are placed in accordance with their different degrees of longitude, by which arrangement, the solar time, at each of the cities recorded on the different dials, can be simultaneously ascertained.

On one occasion Mr. Waterton, having to pass Boulby's house ... saw this dial in the stonemason's yard, for which Boulby asked a mere trifle. The Squire, delighted with the execution and the ingenuity of this simple-minded man, generously presented Boulby with twenty guineas by way of purchase, when the ingenuous and unaffected mason was infinitely more delighted to have the honour of his own artistic skills exhibited at Walton Hall, under the patronage of the Squire, than with the douceur which the sculptor erroneously considered far beyond its value."

Extract from
Charles Waterton: His Home, Habits and Handiwork
Reminiscences of an Intimate and Most Confiding Personal Association for Nearly Thirty Years.
Richard Hobson MD. Published in 1866 and 1867.


Click to enlarge.
The Boulby Sundial - a fine piece of craftsmanship by a local Yorkshire lad. No longer in tip-top condition, but an impressive piece of work, all the same.
[April 2009]

Click to enlarge.
The points of the compass on the capital of the column supporting the sundial.

Click to enlarge.
The 32 cardinal points
of the compass.

Click to enlarge.
Examples of Boulby's points of the compass.

Click to enlarge.
Demerara on the sun dial. An echo of Waterton's time at the sugar plantations in British Guiana (Guyana) and his Wanderings in South America.

Click to enlarge.
On this face, Philadelphia, one of the American cities visited by Charles Waterton, where he met George Ord, Charles Willson Peale and John James Audubon. (More here.)

Click to enlarge.
Detail from the sundial - Oronoco (River Orinoco) in Venezuela. Another place visited by Waterton..

Click to enlarge.
George Boulby's sundial as drawn by Miss D. Hartley in Ye Sundial Book by T. Geoffrey W. Henslow. Published by W. & G. Foyle, London, 1935.

Halt I'll never,
Stop me if you can;
I move forever
In spite of man.

Books about Walton, Charles Waterton, Guyana, and more!
See a selection of
books about Walton,
Charles Waterton,
Guyana and more.
• click here •
(Offered for sale by

 Visit the Bookshelf.

OVERTOWN MISCELLANY (overtown.org.uk)  
© John S. Sargent, 1997 - 2021.  All rights reserved.  
• About this site  • Contact  
Squire Charles Waterton