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Make your own Compass Sundial!

This summer, find the time to make your own Mary Rose Compass Sundial!


This model is based on a compass found on the upper deck of the Mary Rose. Our model is a bit bigger than the real one (33mm wide and 6mm thick), but you can always resize it if you’re a stickler for accuracy!


The original featured a collapsible brass gnomon, allowing a lid with a mirror inside to placed on the top, and had a sunken compass built in, allowing a more accurate reading. It’s been claimed that the Mary Rose sundials could probably give a reading accurate to within 5 minutes (our model, probably not!)

Pocket Sundial

Image of the original, taken from our Foto Friday gallery


An acorn was engraved on the underside. This symbol appears on one other Mary Rose specimen, and also a specimen found in London, suggesting this was a makers mark.


Download (PDF, 214kb)

Onboard ship there would be no need for sailors to carry these; timekeeping was done with a sand timer and the ship’s bell, but of the eight recovered, the majority were found in association with clothing, suggesting they were carried around at all times. Perhaps, like today, the men of the Mary Rose couldn’t resist a cool gadget!


With this model you’re going to need some cardboard, as you’ll need two discs to give the compass its thickness. A template is included in the download.


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