Search the site

Go to content

King Alfred, Bishop Foxe & Richard Huish



This as-yet-unfinished article is an abridged - and, thanks to the power of the internet, updated - version of an article first written in 1988 by Bob Pendleton, at one time manager of the Old Huish Association webpages. In turn, he drew from Gordon Baker (1980), Robin Bush (1977), David Bromwich, Simon Mason (1985) and others. I'll add more as time and research permits!

In or around 1522, Bishop Fox(e) (1448-1528; Bishop of Winchester, Exeter and Bath + Wells as well as Chancellor of Cambridge University and founder of Corpus Christi College, Oxford) made an endowment for a Free School in Taunton, one of the largest towns in his See. This was Taunton Grammar School (later known as College School or Church College) and was built "within the precincts of his Castle of Taunton". Built at that time on Castle Green the development of the town meant the location became known as Corporation Street, and that is the building we know as the Taunton Register Office in Corporation Street. The building still shows his Coat of Arms, the pelican feeding its young with its own blood.

In 1530, shortage of cash caused the school to close but by 1533 the school had reopened with funding from Roger Hill, a prominent Taunton merchant. He died in about 1545, and further financial trouble followed for the school.

In 1554 William Walby (sometimes Walbee) of Corpus Christi College left a Trust fund that came to the rescue. At the same time, William Poole of Colyford, Devon bought 107 acres of land to be held in trust for the benefit of the Taunton Grammar School. The school then managed well financially for several hundred years and, academically, was highly regarded.

In the early 1860's, the Headmaster of what was now called College School, Rev. William Tuckwell, felt that larger premises had become essential.

To that end, 1866 saw the formation of The Taunton College School Company Limited, with Lord Taunton as chairman. Shares, at 12 10s each, and which would entitle the holder to discounted fees, were advertised for sale in late 1866 and early 1867. The company erected The College School in South Road, on the site of the old Taunton racecourse, with the foundation stone laid on 16th April 1868. The builder was Mr. John Spiller of Bridge Street, Taunton and the contract sum was 11,285. The staff and pupils of College School moved out of Corporation Street and into the South Road premises on 26th April 1870. The official opening was marked by a service, a prize giving and speeches in October 1870, having been delayed by a bout of Scarlet Fever. Sadly, Lord Taunton who led the development died soon after and another wide spread bout of Scarlet Fever meant many boys left the school.

Meanwhile, in 1871, a Middle School had been established, in the vacated premises in Corporation Street, by Rev Herbert Goodenough Rogers.

In 1874, the Trustees of the Richard Huish Trust obtained approval from the Charity Commissioners to make over surplus investment income to the Middle School, which was now renamed as Huish's School for Boys.

In 1879, sadly, finances once again reared their ugly head and The College School in South Road was declared bankrupt. In 1880 those premises and furnishings were sold to Canon Woodard for 8,000 who founded King Alfred's College (which we now know as King's College). The staff and pupils of The College School relocated to temporary premises (location unknown) for a short period and then returned to their former premises in Castle Green / Corporation Street

Back to content | Back to main menu