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Rare Elizabethan sundial presented to Oxford University
8:30am Thursday 23rd August 2012 in News
A PRIVATE collector has given a rare Elizabethan sundial to Oxford University .
The pocket dial has gone on display at the Museum of the History of Science in Broad Street. The rare instrument was made in 1585 by England’s first commercial scientific instrument maker, Augustine Ryther, who lived between 1550 and 1593.
It was owned by Sir George St Paul, a magistrate who had studied at Corpus Christi College, Oxford, and went on to be a generous benefactor of the University’s Bodleian Library.
The sundial was inscribed with St Paul’s name and coat of arms, and was found by a farm labourer in the grounds of his father’s house in Glentworth, Lincolnshire, where it had been lost hundreds of years earlier.
Similar early pocket sundials are sold for many thousands of pounds.
Prof Jim Bennett, director of the museum, said: “The Elizabethans introduced commercial instrument making for science into England, so these early instruments are very important but exceedingly rare.”
The Ryther dial will be on show in the museum’s entrance gallery until September 9. An open study afternoon celebrating the dial takes place on Saturday from 2.30pm to 5.30pm.