Sundial helps cast new light on Bede

A sundial where the observer becomes the pointer is to be unveiled at an historic site.

A sundial where the observer becomes the pointer is to be unveiled at an historic site.

The sundial, which is laid flat on the ground, has been installed in the Georgian-style tea garden at Bede's World in Jarrow, South Tyneside.

It will be inaugurated on Saturday and Sunday September 9-10 as part of a Farmers' and Craft Market, which also offers visitors free access to the Bede's World museum and farm.

The sundial reflects the astronomical work of Bede, who used a sundial to measure the date of the spring equinox in order to calculate the date of Easter. It is because of Bede's work that we celebrate Easter when we do.

The sundial, designed by mosaic artist Peter Flynn and sundial maker Tony Moss, was funded by Rohm Haas, which has one of its works in Jarrow.

An exhibition by artist Stephen Livingstone, Time and Tide, will also open on the Saturday. Bede's curiosity about the natural world - and his quest to calculate Easter accurately - led him to study the cycle of the moon.

Stephen has taken inspiration from the ebb and flow of tides, time and the cycles of the moon to develop artwork exploring these themes.

Bede's World curator Laura Sole said: "Bede's scientific work in calculating the correct date of Easter was fundamentally important to him and still influences the way our calendar works today.

"The Sundial and the Time and Tide exhibition represent the two important elements of Bede's astronomical work in solving the Easter problem.

"He studied in detail the movement of the sun and the moon to make sure that Easter fell after the spring equinox and in the correct lunar month.

"Although we now remember Bede as a historian, his scientific work was equally - if not more - famous in his own day."

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