King's School, Rochester

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The King's School
Motto Disce aut discede
(Learn or leave)
Established 604[1]
Type Independent day and boarding school
Cathedral school
Religion Church of England
Principal Mr Jeremy Walker
Chairman of the Governors The Dean of Rochester
Founder (refounded) Henry VIII
Location Boley Hill
England Coordinates: 51°23′15″N 0°30′06″E / 51.3874°N 0.5016°E / 51.3874; 0.5016
DfE number 877/6000
Students 606
Gender Coeducational
Ages 3–18
Houses 5
Colours Blue, black and white
Former pupils Old Roffensians
School Song "Carmen Roffense"

The King's School, Rochester is an independent school in Rochester, Kent. It is a cathedral school, and being part of the foundation of Rochester Cathedral, the Dean of Rochester Cathedral serves as the chair of the school's governing body. The school claims to be the second oldest continuously operating school in the world, having been founded in 604 AD.[1] [a]


The cathedral school at Rochester was founded in 604 AD, at the same time as the cathedral, and was refounded by Henry VIII in 1541 during the Protestant Reformation, when the monastery at Rochester was dissolved.[1] It is the second oldest school in the United Kingdom after The King's School Canterbury.[2] The current King's Principal is Mr Jeremy Walker, who also acts as the Senior School Headmaster, Mr Roger Overend as the Preparatory School Headmaster and Mrs Sarah Skillen as the Pre-Preparatory School Headmistress.[3] The longest serving teacher at the school in present time is Mr Brian Richter, the international languages teacher (teaching Russian, German and French), has been teaching at the school for 32 years.


The school is housed in a variety of buildings around the Cathedral precincts including Main School, Davies Court, Mackean House, the School Hall and Old St. Margaret's, an ex workhouse, which houses the Maths and Classics Departments).

The Preparatory School is situated close-by and is predominantly a campus of buildings surrounding the Paddock, which is a space used as a cricket/rugby field. A larger sports ground, commonly known as "the Alps" is located about a mile away.

The School's administrative offices are housed in Satis House, which reputedly gained its name from a comment by Queen Elizabeth I who stayed there as a guest of its owner, Richard Watts. As she left, Watts asked the queen if she had been comfortable during her stay. She replied: "satis", which in translation means "enough" or "satisfactory".

In 2011 the school bought the Stirling Center and in September 2013, it re-opened as the King's Rochester Sports center. It is now open to students and the public.

The school also has a boat house in Maidstone, south of the Allington Lock. It is used for Rowing and Kayaking. The building is also known to school pupils as "The Boat House".

The Houses[edit]

Within the Senior School there are currently five houses:

House Colour Inception Origins
Crick Green Thomas Crick – Dean of Rochester (1943–1958)
Parker Blue William Parker – Headmaster of the School (1913–1935)
School House Purple School Boarding House (Both Senior & Preparatory School)
Storrs Red John Storrs – Dean of Rochester (1913–1928)
Whiston Yellow Robert Whiston – Clerk in Holy Orders and Headmaster of the Cathedral Grammar School (1842–1877)

In the Preparatory school, there are currently four houses, though there were previously six:

St. Williams St. Nicholas St. Andrews St. Peters (The now defunct fifth and sixth houses were St. Margarets and St. Justus)

In pre-prep the houses are Tigers (Red), Zebra (Blue), Hippos (Green) or Giraffes (Yellow). Zebra used to be called 'Snakes', but the children got scared, so they subsequently changed it to 'Zebra' house.[4]

Order of St. Justus[edit]

The Order of St Justus, which is incorporated within England’s Rochester Cathedral Foundation, and governed by former Head Master of King's School Rochester Dr. Ian Walker, is a foundation set up with the intention to build a King’s University of Bangladesh and a King’s School, Dhaka, in Bangladesh. Links have been established and land identified for the site, and the school is in the early stages of possible development.

Old Roffensians[edit]

School Headmasters[edit]

Headmaster Years as Headmaster Duration
John Langhorne (MA) 1877–1893 16 years
John Bennett Lancelot (MA) 1893–1901 8 years
Reverend Thomas Frederick Hobson (MA) 1901–1910 9 years
Richard Frederick Elwyn (MA) 1910–1913 3 years
William Parker (MA, BD) 1913–1935 22 years
Ernest William Davies (MA) 1935–1957 22 years
Canon Douglas Vicary (MA, BSc) 1957–1975 18 years
Roy Ford (MA) 1975–1986 11 years
Dr. Ian Walker (BA, PhD, LTh, ABIA, FCollP, FRSA) 1986–2012 25 years
Jeremy Walker (MA) 2012 to date 2 years



  1. ^ Shishi Middle School in China claims a foundation c.142 BC but this is disputed owing to a gap in its functioning. The King's School, Canterbury was founded in 597 AD.


  1. ^ a b c "King's School Rochester: History". 28 September 2006. Retrieved 10 January 2011. 
  2. ^ Page, Anne. "Rochester, King’s School". Of Choristers – ancient and modern. Retrieved 19 October 2012. 
  3. ^ Note that Mr Jeremy Walker took over as Principal from Dr Ian Walker in 2012, the same surnames have caused confusion.
  4. ^ King's Rochester: Pre-prep Pastoral Care
  5. ^ "Dinsdale Landen". The Independent (London). 31 December 2003. 
  6. ^ "Matt Walker player profile". Cricinfo. Retrieved 23 November 2007. 

See also[edit]

External links[edit]