Our History • The King's School Canterbury

A history beyond compare

The King’s School, our Senior School, is widely regarded as the oldest school in England.

Its story is intertwined with that of the United Kingdom’s first cathedral, Canterbury Cathedral, which is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

St Augustine arrived in 597 on a mission from Rome to convert the Anglo-Saxons. Canterbury Cathedral and St Augustine’s Abbey were then founded and education emerged as one role of these monastic establishments. Schools existed for many centuries until the Dissolution of the Monasteries. In 1541 a Royal Charter from Henry VIII reorganised the Cathedral and provided for a School with fifty scholars. Since then, the King’s School, as it became known, has survived the upheaval of the English Civil War and the Second World War, when it was evacuated to Cornwall. Throughout all this time it has continued to grow and evolve to become the globally respected seat of learning it is today.

“I think it’s wonderful that pupils here are connected to the history and the heritage of this place.”


Junior King’s was founded in 1879 and spent its first 50 years within the Canterbury Cathedral Precincts before moving to the idyllic village of Sturry, just two miles from Canterbury. It was opened there in 1929 by the famed Nobel Prize winning author, Rudyard Kipling.
The King’s School International College is our most recent arrival, opening its doors in 2018. Housed in an award-winning building, it welcomes international pupils with truly state-of-the facilities and, of course, world class teaching.

“The school and surroundings are steeped in history.”

Muddy Stilettos


The City of Canterbury is a fantastic place to both live and learn. It’s a destination with a fascinating history and a vibrant atmosphere.

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Visit King’s

We would be delighted to welcome you and your family to visit and to get a genuine feel for the school.