Geographical location Dial Type
Vertical
Latitude/Longitude
52° 44'N 2° 24'W
St. Michaels Church,
Lilleshall, Shropshire

Photo By
P. E. Walker
British Grid Reference
SJ 728 153

  On the south wall of the church, high above is the sundial, difficult to read because it has not been restored for some time.However, below the sundial is this interesting bronze inscription explaining the difference between sundial time and Greenwich Mean Time or "Railway Time", as it was referred in the 1890's.
  Until the 19th. century, each town had its own time, based on noon as measured by the local sundials. As a result, the time in London was about 10 minutes different from that of Bristol, which is 110 miles west of London.

In the 1840s, the increasing use of trains and the need of accurate timetables made it necessary to have a standard time throughout Britain. In 1847, the railway company agreed to adopt Greenwich Time at all the stations, although the government did not made it law until 1880

In 1896, the congregation at Lilleshall Church arranged for a table to be placed below the sundial showing the difference, day to day, between the sundial time and Greenwich Mean Time, otherwise known as "Railway Time". For more details, see http://www.carnforth-station.co.uk/

Back to Shropshire Sundials

The bronze inscription is difficult to read, particularly since it is 100 years old. This is the detailed text :-

TO OBTAIN GREENWICH MEAN TIME OR RAILWAY TIME
FROM THE TIME SHEWN BY THE SUNDIAL
ADD TO THE TIME INDICATED BY THE SUNDIAL OR DEDUCT THEREFROM
THE NUMBER OF MINUTES GIVEN IN THE TABLES BELOW TO DATE
EXAMPLE JAN 18TH TO 22ND 12 NOON ON SUNDIAL IS 12H 21M MEAN TIME
OCT 14TH TO 18TH 12 NOON ON SUNDIAL IS 11H 55M MEAN TIME

    JANUARY           APRIL           JULY           OCTOBER    
  DAYS     MINS     DAYS     MINS     DAYS     MINS     DAYS     MINS
1 TO 3 ADD 14   1 TO 3 ADD 13   1 TO 3 ADD 13   1 TO 3 DEDUCT 1
4   5   15   4   6   12   4   9   14   4   6   2
6   7   16   7   10   11   10   18   15   7   9   3
8   9   17   11   15   10   19   31   16   10   13   4
10   11   18   16   18   9               14   18   5
12   14   19   19   23   8       AUGUST       19   31   6
15   17   20   24   30   7     DAYS     MINS            
18   22   21               1   10 ADD 15       NOVEMBER    
23   27   22       MAY       11   16   14     DAYS     MINS
28   31   23     DAYS     MINS   17   20   13   1 TO 16 DEDUCT 6
            1 TO 27   6   21   24   12   17   20   5
    FEBRUARY       28   31   7   25   28   11   21   23   4
  DAYS     MINS               29   31   10   24   27   3
1 TO 17 ADD 24       JUNE                   28   30   2
18   25   23     DAYS     MINS       SEPTEMBER                
26   28   22   1 TO 3   7     DAYS     MINS       DECEMBER    
            4   9   8   1   3 ADD 9     DAYS     MINS
    MARCH       10   14   9   4   6   8   1 TO 3 DEDUCT 1
  DAYS     MINS   15   18   10   7   9   7   4   5   NONE
1 TO 3   22   19   23   11   10   12   6   6   7 ADD 1
4   8   21   24   28   12   13   15   5   8   9   2
9   12   20   29   30   12   16   17   4   10   11   3
13   15   19               18   20   3   12   13   4
16   18   18               21   23   2   14   15   5
19   21   17               24   26   1   16   17   6
22   24   16               27   29   NONE   18   19   7
25   27   15               30     DEDUCT 1   20   21   8
28   31   13                           22   24   9
                                    25   26   10
                                    27   28   11
                                    29   30   12
                                    31       13
                  C.C W. 1896                          
                                             
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