7. Moondial

What book still haunts you the most, years after reading it? For me, it’s Moondial by Helen Cresswell.

The Sundial at Belton House is the inspiration for the novel Moondial, written by children’s author  Helen Cresswell in 1987. The story tells of a young girl Minty who discovers that the sculpture is in fact a magic portal to the past, hence it becomes known as a moondial. Minty becomes a type of modern day seeker as she travels between past and present finding the secret behind the mysterious Devil’s Child. The book was adapted for BBC television a year later in 1988 and was filmed almost entirely on location at Belton House.

Belton’s sundial was created by Gaius Cibber, a renowned sculptor of the period who also worked on St Pauls Cathedral and Hampton Court Palace for Sir Christopher Wren. It was placed in the Dutch Garden by Sir John Brownlow sometime between 1721 and 1754. Carved from limestone, the pedestal of the sundial shows Cronus, god of time, and Eros, god of love.

With its clear themes of peace, equality simplicity and truth shining throughout, Moondial is a must read and the sundial at Belton House a must visit.

“Between the light and the dark there is always love.”

Image from www.nationaltrust.org.uk

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