Welcome to King’s College, Taunton or King Alfred’s School as it was originally named in 1880.
The choice of King Alfred, the King of Wessex from 871 to 899, who aspired ‘to set to learning … all the free-born young men now in England who have the means to apply themselves to it’ was very apt for the school’s founder Canon Nathaniel Woodard. He too was an educational innovator who created a series of schools where relevant, modern academic teaching was coupled with a strong Christian education to care for the needs of the whole child. His ‘One Idea’ inspired the support of Prime Ministers, captains of industry and churchmen alike. Today, King’s is still part of Woodard Schools which educates over 30,000 pupils across academy, independent and state-maintained schools.
In 1879 Woodard had the opportunity to acquire in Taunton the brainchild of another educational pioneer William Tuckwell. His new, state-of-the-art school on the edge of town had some of the best science facilities in the country and a reputation for academic excellence. Originally named Bishop Fox Grammar School (endowed in 1522 by Richard Fox, Bishop of Winchester and one of King Henry VII’s closest councillors) Tuckwell had rebuilt and re-invigorated the old institution into a new forward-looking school, Taunton College School. The new building had however been costly and financial difficulties with creditors led to its sale to Nathaniel Woodard.