In commemoration of the outbreak of the Great War and sacrifice made by former pupils, the OA Club has published a Book of Remembrance: The Great War 1914 – 1918, containing biographies and photos of the 82 OAs who died. The book contains many remarkable and moving stories. A copy of the book will be placed in the chapel where, as with the World War Two Book of Remembrance, a page will be turned every week.

A copy of the book can be purchased by emailing Alison Mason The book costs £9.50, this includes postage.


King’s College, Taunton was founded by Nathaniel Woodard, a highly practical and charismatic educational pioneer. His vision to provide strong academic teaching, relevant to a changing world, coupled with an emphasis on strong faith and caring for the needs of the whole child was hugely innovative at the time and came to be much copied by other public schools.

King’s College was the fifth school founded by the energetic Nathaniel Woodard. In 1879 he had the opportunity to acquire Taunton’s Bishop Fox Grammar School. Established in 1522 by one of King Henry VII’s councilors, this school had recently moved to new state-of-the-art premises on the edge of town. The school had some of the best science facilities in the country, thanks to its pioneering Headmaster William Tuckwell, and a reputation for educational innovation.

Woodard named his new school King Alfred's School, soon popularly known as King’s College, and it was opened on 26 October 1880, the anniversary of the death of King Alfred. Its former pupils became known as Old Aluredians or OAs. The school continues to be part of the Woodard Trust, the largest group of Church of England Schools in the country.

King’s College maintained the badge of Bishop Fox, a pelican, a powerful symbol of self-sacrifice for the greater good as the parent bird was believed to draw its own blood to feed its children. The school motto is ‘Fortis et Fidelis’ – strong and faithful.

From the start in 1880 the school had a separate section for Juniors (8-12 year olds) as well as Seniors (13-18 year olds), a tradition which the school maintains although younger pupils today have their own premises at King’s Hall School in the stunning setting of Pyrland Hall, a Georgian mansion overlooking Taunton.

The Woodard Schools also have a long tradition of educating girls, as well as boys, in the Taunton area. From 1922 to 1953 St Katherine’s, Heatherton Park (on the Taunton-Wellington road) was the sister school to King’s. Its alumni included Princess Aida Desta, the daughter of Emperor Haile Selassie of Ethiopia, whose grandson attended King’s at the same time. Girls have been educated in the Sixth Form at King’s from 1968 and today the school is fully co-educational.

The archivist in charge of the collections is Mrs Alison Mason, and she is always keen to hear from people who have school material or recollections that they wish to add to the collection. For any queries, or donations to the archives please use the contact information below:

Mrs Alison Mason MArAd, RMARA
Development Office
King's College
South Road,
Taunton TA1 3LA
Tel: 01823 328238
Fax 01823 328202

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