King's College, Taunton

Coordinates: 51°00′40″N 3°05′46″W / 51.0110°N 3.0960°W / 51.0110; -3.0960
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King's College
South Road

, ,

United Kingdom
Coordinates51°00′40″N 3°05′46″W / 51.0110°N 3.0960°W / 51.0110; -3.0960
TypePrivate day and boarding
MottoLatin: Fortis et Fidelis (Strong and faithful)
Religious affiliation(s)Church of England
FounderCanon Nathaniel Woodard
Department for Education URN123912 Tables
HeadmasterMichael Sloan
Age13 to 18
Colour(s)Red, dark blue, gold
Former pupilsOld Aluredians (OAs)
AffiliationWoodard Corporation

King's College is a private co-educational secondary boarding and day school in Taunton, Somerset, England. A member school of the Woodard Corporation, it has approximately 450 pupils aged 13 to 18, including about 300 boarders. Its affiliated prep school is King's Hall School. The head of the school is currently Michael Sloan, who started his first academic year in the winter of 2022.


King's College, Taunton, or King Alfred's College as it was originally named, was founded in 1880 by Canon Nathaniel Woodard.[1] King's College was the fifth of the Woodard schools to be opened. Woodard purchased the recently built buildings of Taunton Grammar School in South Road when financial difficulties forced the Grammar School to move back to their original site.[1] The buildings had been designed by Charles Edmund Giles under the instructions of the Grammar School's Headmaster William Tuckwell and were built between 1867 and 1869. Maintaining the link with the past, Woodard adopted the pelican badge of Bishop Richard Fox (the Grammar School's founder) as the new King’s crest. Today Bishop Fox and Tuckwell are still names of school Houses and former pupils are known as Old Aluredians (OAs) after King Alfred.

One of the most notable parts of the school is the Chapel, built from 1903 and designed by W. E. Tower with later extensions in 1936 and 1986. The Chapel was the particular project of the school Provost, Prebendary Henry Meynell, who sought the support of benefactors, most notably the former Prime Minister the Marquess of Salisbury. Henry Richards MP bestowed the fine organ formerly in St Michael Bassishaw.[2] The school also had the support of the Gibbs Family of Tyntesfield. H. Martin Gibbs, the school Custos, was responsible for building the Lady Chapel and for donating some fine pieces of devotional art. The main building has been designated as a Grade II listed building.[3]

Benjamin Disraeli stood for MP in Taunton, and many of his early political appearances took place on what is currently the school's 1st XV Rugby pitch. After the Italian invasion of Ethiopia in 1936, Emperor Haile Selassie I fled in exile to Bath. During his stay in the UK his youngest son and eldest grandson went to King's College, and the Emperor himself distributed awards at Sports Day in 1937.[4] Two trophies were donated by the Emperor. Before the General Election in 1964, the prime minister, Sir Alec Douglas-Home, addressed a public meeting at the school.

Junior pupils (from the age of around 8) were part of the school from 1880. When the school purchased Pyrland Hall in 1952 the Junior School moved to that site. Pyrland Hall is now known as King's Hall School co-educational prep school.

The school became co-educational in 1968 (in that it admitted girls into the Sixth Form), becoming fully co-educational in 1991. There are currently seven boarding houses: Bishop Fox, King Alfred, Woodard (After Nathaniel Woodard) Tuckwell (after William Tuckwell,[5] Meynell, Taylor and Carpenter. All these houses, plus Neates, King Edward's and Perratt's, which no longer exist, were male boarding houses until 1991 when Meynell converted to become the first all female boarding house. Carpenter became a female boarding house in 1994 and Taylor house was founded as a female boarding house in 1997. Until the conversion to full coeducational status, Sixth Form girls were assigned to one of the male boarding houses but lived in separate accommodation.

In 2007, the school choir took part in a choral competition on the BBC programme Songs of Praise and came first, and in the same year the senior rugby team were victorious in The National Schools 7's. The school chapel is the venue for an annual concert by the Somerset chamber choir.[6]


  •   King Alfred
  •   Tuckwell
  •   Woodard
  •   Bishop Fox
  •   Neates (Disbanded)
  •   Carpenter
  •   Taylor
  •   Meynell

Notable students[edit]

Former students of King's College, Taunton, are referred to as "Old Aluredians".


  1. ^ a b Bromwich, David (1980). King's College, Taunton: the first hundred years, 1880-1980. pp. 4–12.
  2. ^ Pedler, Garth (2007). A Prep School in Somerset: The Story of the Junior School of King's College, Taunton to 1982. Gresham Books. ISBN 978-0-946095-51-3.
  3. ^ Historic England. "King's College (1059965)". National Heritage List for England. Retrieved 5 July 2009.
  4. ^ "ETHIOPIA: Distressed Negus". Time. 15 November 1937. Archived from the original on 9 October 2007. Retrieved 5 July 2009.
  5. ^ "school website: Tuckwell". Archived from the original on 20 April 2012. Retrieved 2 October 2011.
  6. ^ "Somerset Chamber Choir past concerts". Somerset Chamber Choir. Archived from the original on 26 April 2012. Retrieved 22 December 2011.
  7. ^ "Old Aluredian Club News Summer 2012" (PDF). Archived (PDF) from the original on 4 March 2016. Retrieved 8 October 2012.
  8. ^ "Tshepo Moreki and Gerald Coetzee hit the high notes". ESPN Cricinfo. Retrieved 10 October 2019.
  9. ^ "Four 'Kings' play for Somerset". Kukri. Archived from the original on 28 January 2013. Retrieved 8 October 2012.
  10. ^ a b c d "Cricket". King's College. Archived from the original on 19 July 2012. Retrieved 8 October 2012.
  11. ^ Hutcheon, Robin (11 December 2000). "Charles Ching". Sydney Morning Herald. Archived from the original on 12 April 2013. Retrieved 8 October 2012.
  12. ^ "Torridge and West Devon". UK polling report. Archived from the original on 19 July 2012. Retrieved 8 October 2012.
  13. ^ a b c d e f g "King's Taunton". Guide to Independent Schools. Archived from the original on 26 January 2012. Retrieved 8 October 2012.
  14. ^ "Brief for the legislative council" (PDF). Legislative Council of Hing Kong. Archived (PDF) from the original on 31 March 2012. Retrieved 8 October 2012.
  15. ^ Jones, Lewis (24 January 2002). "Dandy filth-hound". The Telegraph. Archived from the original on 12 March 2012. Retrieved 8 October 2012.
  16. ^ "Bazing Saddles". Somerset Life. Archived from the original on 20 October 2011. Retrieved 8 October 2012.
  17. ^ "Scott, Michael". Dictionary of African Christian Biography. Archived from the original on 7 August 2014. Retrieved 8 October 2012.
  18. ^ "Juno Temple — from Enmore to Hollywood". Bridgwater Mercury. Archived from the original on 27 February 2015. Retrieved 8 October 2012.
  19. ^ "Dominic Wood". Metacritic. Archived from the original on 5 March 2016. Retrieved 8 October 2012.
  20. ^ "{title}". Archived from the original on 27 February 2015. Retrieved 15 August 2013.
  21. ^ Malnick, Edward (22 April 2014). "Twins to embark on Greenland trek with Shackleton's equipment". Archived from the original on 22 August 2018. Retrieved 3 April 2018 – via

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