Edward Thurlow, marble bust by John Edward Carew

The King’s School does not have a particular reputation as a breeder of politicians. However, there have been over forty MPs educated here, nearly half from the eighteenth century. Eight have been MP for Canterbury (Headmaster John Twyne makes a ninth). Three of the MPs (William Brooke, Thurlow and Garel-Jones) were later in the House of Lords as were Richard Boyle, Earl of Cork (formerly a member of the Irish Parliament) and Headmaster Peter Pilkington. Piers North, Earl of Guilford, was briefly in the Lords in 1999 before hereditary peers were excluded. Charles Powell became a life peer in 2000 and Kate Fall in 2015. Charles Conybeare, who had been MP for Camborne 1885-95, was briefly on the staff in 1916.

It has to be said that several of these identifications are speculative. Before 1750, there are no records of Commoners at the school (as opposed to King’s Scholars), though in several cases membership of the ‘Feast Society’ makes it likely, but not definite, that they were at the School. In one or two cases the existence of more than one contemporary with the same name also makes identification uncertain. Brief biographies and details of political careers are available for most of those listed in the History of Parliament volumes.

William Brooke, later Lord Cobham: MP for Hythe 1547; Rochester 1555
George Brooke [Cobham]: MP for Hedon 1555
John Twyne (Headmaster): MP for Canterbury March 1553, October-December 1553, and April-May 1554
Thomas Randolph: MP for New Romney 1558; Grantham 1559; St Ives 1572; Maidstone 1584, 1586 and 1589
Nicholas Faunt: MP for Boroughbridge, Yorkshire 1584-86
John Lyly: MP for Hindon 1589, Aylesbury 1593 and 1601, Appleby 1597
William Weston: MP for Weymouth 1593
John Boys: MP for Kent 1645, 1654 and 1656
James Thurbarne: MP for Sandwich 1656, 1658, 1660, 1661-79
Vincent Denne: MP for Canterbury 1656-58 and 1681
William Jacob: MP for Canterbury 1678-79
Francis Barrell: MP for Rochester 1679
William Brockman: MP for Hythe 1690-95
William Cage: MP for Rochester 1702-05, 1710-15
Thomas Palmer: MP for Kent 1708-10, Rochester 1715-23
Henry Lee Warner: MP for Hindon 1711-13
Charles Fotherby: MP for Queenborough 1713
Samuel Milles: MP for Canterbury 1722-27
Thomas Hales: MP for Minehead 1722-27, Camelford 1727-34, Grampound 1734-41, Hythe 1744-61, East Grinstead 1761-62
Thomas Gape: MP for St Albans 1730-32
Edward Knatchbull: MP for Armagh 1727-60
Thomas Brodnax / May / Knight: MP for Canterbury 1734-41
Sir Edward Dering: MP for New Romney 1761-70 and 1774-87
Thomas Pym Hales: MP for Downton 1762-68, Dover 1770-73
William Lynch: MP for Weobley 1762-8 and 1774-80, Canterbury 1768-74
Sir Brook Bridges: MP for Kent 1763-74
George René Aufrère: MP for Stamford 1765-74
Edward Thurlow: MP for Tamworth 1765-78
George Musgrave: MP for Carlisle 1768-74
John Sawbridge: MP for Hythe 1768-74, London 1774-95
Thomas Barrett: MP for Dover 1773-74
William Hey: MP for Sandwich 1774-76
Samuel Elias Sawbridge: MP for Canterbury 1796-97 and 1807
John Baker: MP for Canterbury 1796-97; 1797; 1802-18
James Simmons: MP for Canterbury 1806
William Kenrick: MP for Bletchingley 1806-14
Samuel Egerton Brydges: MP for Maidstone 1812-18
John William Head Brydges: MP for Coleraine, Ireland 1820-31, Armagh 1831-32
Robert Rushbrook: MP for West Suffolk 1835-45
Cuthbert Headlam: MP for Barnard Castle 1924-29 and 1931-35, Newcastle North 1941-51
Thomas Iremonger: MP for Iford North 1954-74
Tristan Garel-Jones: MP for Watford 1979-97
Sir Hugh Robertson: MP for Faversham and Mid-Kent 2001-15
Natascha Engel: MP for North East Derbyshire 2005-17
James Berry: MP for Kingston and Surbiton 2015-17