is a fascinating history to the column which was made by the
sculptor, Edward Pierce, and originally erected in 1694 at the
junction of 7 streets in the parish of St Giles, London. It was
the centrepiece of the Seven Dials property development scheme
by the MP and entrepreneur Thomas Neale and was part of the
great rebuilding programme in London following the Great Plague
and Fire. The spiders web street layout is unusual, but it
maximised the property frontages so the reason for the design
was probably economic as rents were charged per foot of
On the top of the Doric Column was a Dial Stone
with six facets, each with sundials. There is a controversy why
it was called 'Seven Dials' and suggestions were made that the
actual column formed the 7th dial or two of the seven roads
entered the square at a similar angle so only six faces were
required. Sundials were used as public clocks in late 17th
Century London, simpler 4 faceted types were erected at Convent
Garden in 1688 and New Square, Lincolns Inn c1700.
In the 18th Century, the Seven Dials Area became
the haunt of cut-throats, thieves and prostitutes. In 1773, the
city commissioners pulled the column down to get rid of these
undesirables. Popular legend has it that the column was
destroyed in an attempt to find buried treasure which was
rumoured to be underneath.
The remains of the demolished columns were later
removed to the gardens of the architect, James Paine, at Sayes
Court, Addlestone. The collection in memory of the Duchess was
organised by a Mr Joseph Todd, landlord of the nearby Ship Inn.
When the monument was re-erected at Weybridge, it was decided
that the dial stone was too heavy to cap it. A ducal coronet was
used instead and the base inscribed to the Duchess.
The Dial Stone was used as a mounting block
before being moved to the old Weybridge Council Offices and
finally to the west side of Weybridge Library. In 1984, the
Seven Dials Monument Committee was set up and successfully
raised money to erect a replica of the original monument at the
Seven Dials between Shaftesbury Avenue and Convent Garden.