ONCE again it was regular contributor Cath Cooney who came straight to the point with last week’s Craven Curiosity.

She informs us: “I think that this week’s object is in the garden area of Kildwick Parish Church near to the war memorial.

“It is a sundial with the date of 1568 inscribed on it.”

That is exactly what it is - except Cath was not surprisingly100 years out with the date; the ravages of centuries of weather obscure the fact that it is actually dated 1668!

The sundial is roughly 40 inches high and made of gritstone.

It was apparently erected when a Francis Little was the vicar, a clergyman who was also responsible for the rebuilding of the Kildwick vicarage around this time.

Sundials, had, of course, been in use for many centuries before the 1660s, and seem to have been found in ancient cultures everywhere on the planet. They seem to have been invented independently across the world, and to have become increasingly sophisticated as a culture developed.

The time is indicated by using a spot of light or a shadow cast on the dial by the position of the sun on a reference scale. As the earth turns on its polar axis, the sun appears to cross the sky from east to west, rising at sunrise from beneath the horizon to a zenith at mid-day and falling again behind the horizon at sunset.

The sundial worked well in sunny weather, but was presumably the cause of frequent frustration in the climate of Britain! Before the invention of the clock the sundial was the only source of time. After the invention of the clock, the sundial was still important as the accuracy of the original timepieces was so poor that they needed to be reset regularly from a sundial.

This week’s Craven Curiosity, pictured above, is self- explanatory - but where is it? Send suggestions to: news@cravenherald.co.uk by 8am on Monday.