King James' School

School History


Founded in 1616 by Dr Chaloner, with a charter from King James I, the school has enjoyed a long and distinguished history in which the continuing factor has been a tradition of academic excellence and service to the local community.

Since 1971 King James’s has been a highly successful 11-18 comprehensive school with a catchment area extending well beyond the small historic market town of Knaresborough itself.


KJS 400th Anniversary

The school’s history is re-enacted each year at our Founder’s Day service in October and students still proudly sing the school song as the ceremony draws to a close. The King James’s foundation is reflected in the Stewart tartan that forms the basis of our distinctive school uniform.

King James’s School Charter was signed by King James I on 26th October 1616. It gave permission for the Rev. Robert Chaloner to establish a free school for the sons of the inhabitants of Knaresborough and Goldsborough. Robert Chaloner provided the income for the school from the rents of his land in Buckinghamshire. This legacy of 1616 continues today in King James’s School. The tartan kilts worn by the girls and the tie worn by the boys are three variations of the Stewart tartan.

Robert Chaloner is also remembered in the title of our school magazine, The Chaloner, and in the name of Chaloner Hall. You can find our current and previous Chaloner magazines on our Publications page.

School History