King's School, Rochester

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The King's School
Motto Disce aut discede
("Learn or leave")
Established 604[1]
Type Independent day and boarding school
Cathedral school
Religion Church of England
Principal Jeremy Walker
Chairman of the Governors Dean of Rochester
Founder (refounded) Henry VIII
Location Boley Hill
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DfE number 877/6000
Students 606
Gender Coeducational
Ages 3–18
Houses 5
Colours Blue, black and white
Former pupils Old Roffensians
School Song "Carmen Roffense"

The King's School, Rochester is an English independent school in Rochester, Kent. It is a cathedral school and, being part of the foundation of Rochester Cathedral, the Dean of Rochester serves as chair of the school's governing body. The school claims to be the second oldest continuously operating school in the world, having been founded in 604 AD.[1] [lower-alpha 1]


The cathedral school in Rochester was founded in 604 AD, at the same time as the cathedral. It was refounded by Henry VIII in 1541 during the English Reformation when the monastery in Rochester was dissolved.[1] It is the second oldest school in the United Kingdom after The King's School Canterbury.[2] The current principal is Jeremy Walker, who also acts as the senior school headmaster. Roger Overend is the preparatory school headmaster and Sarah Skillen is the pre-preparatory school headmistress.[3]


The school is housed in a variety of buildings around the cathedral precincts including Main School, Davies Court, Mackean House, the school hall and Old St Margaret's, a former workhouse which houses the maths and classics departments).

The preparatory school is situated close-by and is predominantly a campus of buildings surrounding the Paddock, which is a space used as a cricket and rugby field. A larger sports ground, commonly known as "the Alps" is located about a mile away.

The school's administrative offices are housed in Satis House, which reputedly gained its name from a comment by Queen Elizabeth I who stayed there as a guest of its owner, Richard Watts. As she left, Watts asked the queen if she had been comfortable during her stay. She replied: "satis", which in translation means "enough" or "satisfactory".

In 2011 the school bought the Stirling Centre and in September 2013, it reopened as the King's Rochester Sports Centre. It is now open to students and the public.

The school also has a boat house in Maidstone, south of the Allington Lock. It is used for rowing and kayaking. The building is also known to school pupils as "The Boat House".


Within the senior school there are currently five houses:

House Colour Inception Origins
Crick Green Thomas Crick – Dean of Rochester (1943–1958)
Parker Blue William Parker – Headmaster of the School (1913–1935)
School House Purple School Boarding House (senior and preparatory school)
Storrs Red John Storrs – Dean of Rochester (1913–1928)
Whiston Yellow Robert Whiston – Clerk in Holy Orders and Headmaster of the Cathedral Grammar School (1842–1877)

In the preparatory school there are currently four houses, though there were previously six:

  • St William's
  • St Nicholas'
  • St Andrew's
  • St Peter's

The now defunct fifth and sixth houses were St Margaret's and St Justus'.

In pre-prep the houses are Tigers (red), Zebra (blue), Hippos (green) or Giraffes (yellow). Zebra used to be called "Snakes", but as some children were scared of snakes it was changed to "Zebra" house.[4]

Old Roffensians


Headmaster Years as Headmaster Duration
John Langhorne 1877–1893 16 years
John Bennett Lancelot 1893–1901 8 years
The Reverend Thomas Frederick Hobson 1901–1910 9 years
Richard Frederick Elwyn 1910–1913 3 years
William Parker 1913–1935 22 years
Ernest William Davies 1935–1957 22 years
The Revd Canon Douglas Vicary 1957–1975 18 years
Roy Ford 1975–1986 11 years
Ian Walker 1986–2012 25 years
Jeremy Walker 2012-present



  1. Shishi Middle School in China claims a foundation c. 142 BC but this is disputed owing to a gap in its functioning. The King's School, Canterbury was founded in 597 AD.


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 "King's School Rochester: History". 28 September 2006. Retrieved 10 January 2011.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  2. Page, Anne. "Rochester, King's School". Of Choristers – ancient and modern. Retrieved 19 October 2012.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  3. Note that Jeremy Walker took over as principal from Ian Walker in 2012, the same surname has caused some confusion.
  4. King's Rochester: Pre-prep Pastoral Care
  5. "Dinsdale Landen". The Independent. London. 31 December 2003.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  6. "Matt Walker player profile". Cricinfo. Retrieved 23 November 2007.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>

See also

External links