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Centenary Gift

to the City

To commemorate our 100 years in York,

York Rotary members have funded the restoration of this

SUNDIAL  (c.1730)


in collaboration with

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Restoration work in progress

The Grade II listed sundial dates from around 1730 and was brought to York from Drakelow Hall, Burton-on-Trent in 1934, being erected on College Green in 1955.

The 2020 refurbishment was a joint project between York Rotary, The Dean and Chapter of York Minster and York Civic Trust.  


This centenary gift to the City of York, funded by the members of Rotary,  follows continue the tradition established 50 years ago when the Rotary Clock was erected in Minstergates, and other such ‘gifts’ including, in 2001, the provision of the tactile map of York outside the Minster.

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The sundial in 1955

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Nick Bielby, of York Civic Trust, explains..

"The Sundial, a gift to The Minster, gives character to College Green. It is a fine specimen of what is known as the ‘Scottish’ form of sun-dial, with 4 vertical faces facing the 4 points of the compass.

Mention of its erection in the Records of The Friends of York Minster states ’It actually comes from Drakelow Hall Burton-on-Trent. Its date is 1730 so adds to the Georgian treasures of York.



It stands 3.5m (11'6") tall and is topped with a ball finial. The central fluted Doric column is made of limestone, at the top of which sits a multiple/cube sundial comprising four dials.  The base of the column is encircled by a stone seat supported by four carved lions'. 

The clearance took place in 1860s when Duncombe Place cleared at the Minster East End to create College Green outside St William’s College  - where the frontage now fully restored".

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A sundial is designed for its specific latitude as it is the position of the sun in relation to the sundial that enables it to be used to tell the time. As the sun moves across the sky, the shadow cast on the dial by the gnomon indicates the time of day, in a similar way to the hour hand on a clock.

This dial can be used from sunrise to sunset, providing it is not overshadowed. In summer the very early morning sun will be on the North dial; as the day progresses it will move to the East, South and West, then back to the North.

Each dial faces a cardinal point (North, South, East and West) and has a 30cm /12” metal gnomon, the shadow-casting edge of which lies parallel to the Earth’s axis of ro-tation. The base of the column is encircled by a stone seat supported by four carved lions.