The tradition of education in Canterbury goes back to 597, when St Augustine arrived to evangelize England. The education provided by the monastic foundation, and by the ancient school of the City of Canterbury, was in 1541 made the responsibility of the new Cathedral Foundation of Henry VIII. He established within it 50 King's Scholars as well as a Headmaster and Lower Master. Thanks to this core of King's Scholars, the school came to be known as the King's School.
The School Archives contain the surviving records of the School. They are available to researchers, by appointment.
Many famous individuals have been educated at King's. Some Famous OKS lists over a hundred and thirty recorded in the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. Among the most distinguished are William Harvey, Christopher Marlowe, Walter Pater, Somerset Maugham, Hugh Walpole and Bernard Montgomery. Today the best known include Sir Patrick Leigh Fermor, Michael Foale, David Gower, Harry Christophers and Michael Morpurgo. Memories of King's includes a small selection of reminiscences.
Imps of Promise by Thomas Hinde is the most recent history of the School. It was originally published in 1990, and a second updated edition appeared in 2005.