The founder, Thomas Sutton, held high public office and through shrewd investment became one of the wealthiest men in Jacobean England. In 1611, the year of his death, Sutton made provision for the establishment of a hospital for pensioners and a school for boys. Buildings near Smithfield in London which had once housed a Carthusian monastery, established in the fourteenth century, were purchased and the School opened in 1613. Reflecting the history of the site, pupils have always been referred to as Carthusians. Even today, the hospital for pensioners remains on the original site.
In response to the recommendations of the Public Schools Commission of 1864 the Governors agreed to move the School from London. They purchased 68 ½ acres of the Deanery Farm Estate, just outside Godalming, having sold the School’s original London site to Merchant Taylors’. The School arrived in Godalming in June 1872, with 120 boys. A rapid increase in the number of pupils demanded additional boarding houses and facilities and further purchases of land to the north and west increased the size of the School’s grounds to around 200 acres.