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The sundial of Milizac

Municipality of Milizac-Guipronvel

GPS : 48°27'60 N  4°33'69.7 W

Access : This sundial is placed above the entrance porch of the church of the village of Milizac. It is easy to park nearby.

The church of St. Peter and Paul was built in 1716, but the dial is much newer. Built on a rectangular slate plate, it dates from 1963. The dial maker signed it AFD in the lower right corner.

It's a vertical South-facing dial 1. The time lines are in relief and the Arabic numerals range from 5 am to 7 pm in a U-shaped band.
The style in steel is chevron-like and its projected shadow on the table gives the solar time.

Read the indicated time:

First there must be sun, which was not the case for the photograph above. A sundial cannot indicate anything in cloudy weather. Before 1816, when the average time was introduced in the major cities, solar time was sufficient everywhere. But since the Earth is round, it was varying throughout the territory. Everyone had his own time. To transform the time indicated by the sundial into legal time, it is necessary to carry out rather complicated calculations which are explained to you on the page giving the list of the sundials .

In the photo above, taken in early May, it is about 1:15 pm in the true solar time. The equation of time 2 must be added or removed from that time to obtain the legal time : -3 minutes for that part of year, a longitude correction of +18 minutes for Milizac (located west of the Greenwich meridian), 1 hour more due to the usual time imposed compared to Greenwich time, and another hour more due to summer time.
According to this calculation, it was approximately 3:30 pm when the photo was taken on May 3, 2015.

The ornamentation:

An inscription in a semicircle can be read overhanging the engraved decoration.
It is written in Breton: "ST PER DIGEMERET VA ENE" (Saint Peter, welcome my soul). It is followed by the date of manufacture: 1963.

As decoration, oak leaves with acorns, a sun and a moon, both humanized at the bottom of the dial, another sun with human face in the center of the style and two stars in the upper part.
In the central part, in a jail, representation of Christ maintained by two chains, a guard on the right and, above, what could be the Flamed Temptation or the Devil.
This fairly recent dial was therefore designed in the image of old dials such as those of Lanildut or Lanrivoaré.You can see there the will of a population to equip itself with a small patrimony with purely decorative vocation because in 1963, no one in Milizac no longer lived in solar time.

-1- A dial is called 'meridional' when it is a vertical South-facing one.
-2- The equation of time gives the correction to be made to the solar hour according to the time of the year when it is read. Indeed, the apparent movement of the Sun does not occur on the celestial equator but on the ecliptic and on the other hand, during its journey around the Sun, the Earth moves faster when the northern hemisphere is in winter rather than summer. The tables therefore indicate the correction to be made according to the period of the year.

Documentation provided by Pierre Labat-Ségalen, co-author of the book:

 "Cadrans solaires de Bretagne , Ed. Skol Vreizh 2010.


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