Sundial on the hill

Posted: 17th July 2019

Telling the time…

Miss Daya has definitely left her mark on the school – it has been set in stone!

The school and grounds overlook the Surrey Hills and is therefore a perfect spot for the location of the new sundial here at St Augustine’s Priory.  We can all now enjoy the benefits of our very own analemmatic sundial.

Linking the world of the twenty-first century to the ancient world, the use of sundials reaches back to ancient Greece, Rome, and to the shadow clocks of ancient Babylon.

The brainchild of Miss Daya, Prep and Junior teacher, she has masterminded its design and installation which, as she says, was, ‘inspired by the analemmatic sundial near where I live.  Every time I walk past it I can’t help but go and have a go and see where my shadow falls!’  Apart from teaching, Mr Daya was also this year the Cross-Curricular leader for Juniors and this project has proved ideal for her post involving, as it does, many subjects covering mathematics, science, history, classics, astronomy and R.E.










An analemmatic sundial, such as the one at St Augustine’s Priory, is a horizontal sundial and this one involves humans casting shadows to tell the time.  Set in the middle of the sundial is a date scale on which are engraved the the months of the year.  To tell the time, stand on the month of the year and your shadow will then tell the time – as long as it is sunny and between 5.00am and 9.00pm!

This project has been a year in the planning; the sundial was made to a bespoke design by David Brown Sundials,  (Mr Brown designed the sundial in the Olympic Park), and the School Council was involved in its design from the beginning, even choosing the quotation that is set in the middle of the sundial.  By St Augustine of Hippo, our patron saint, it reads, ‘‘Faith is to believe what you do not yet see… the reward for this faith is to see what you believe.”


On Monday 1st July pupils from across the school assisted Mr and Mrs Brown in the laying of the stones of the sundial, made of Forest of Dean sandstone, on the Chapel Terrace and Miss Daya commented, ‘the sundial is an area of outdoor learning, interactive and for the use of all ages.  It is a lasting legacy’.

The first stage of the sundial is complete but, if we so wish, further stones can be added in the future – to commemorate significant times and events in the life of the school.

Funded by the St Augustine’s Priory Parents’ Committee the sundial project has received wholehearted and enthusiastic support from everyone at St Augustine’s Priory. As Ms Daya said, ‘I would like to thank the Parents’ Committee for generously funding the sundial, the Estates staff, the School Council, Mr and Mrs Brown and Mrs Raffray for their enthusiastic support.’

Mrs Bennet, Head of Maths, commented, ‘I love the sundial.  It is beautiful.  I am looking forward to trying it out!’


Categories: Junior Nursery Prep Priory Post Senior Sixth Form Whole School