William & Mary 1618 - 1699

1618, November 18

The Virginia Company of London gave orders for the laying out of grounds for a university at Henrico, of which an Indian School was to be a branch, and endowed it with 10,000 acres of land. Henrico was on the north side of the James River, 12 miles below the present city of Richmond.King William

1619, May 26

Sir Edwin Sandys, treasurer of the Virginia Company, reported that £1,500 had been collected toward the proposed college, following authorization of King James I that each bishop in England makes a collection in his diocese for the purpose.

1619, July 31

The General Assembly of Virginia petitioned the Company to send workmen from England for "erecting the University and College."

1620, May 11Queen Mary

George Thorpe was appointed by the Virginia Company as the first deputy in charge of the College lands.

1622, March 22

An Indian uprising left 347 colonists dead. Thorpe was killed and Henrico annihilated. When the charter of the Virginia Company was revoked in 1624, Virginia became a royal colony and plans for William & Mary were abandoned.


The General Assembly passed an act authorizing the purchase of land for a college and free school, but no progress was made on the plan at the time.James Blari


The clergy of the Church of England in Virginia adopted at a convention "Several Propositions" for founding a college to consist of three schools: grammar, philosophy and divinity. On July 25, 1690, Lieutenant Governor Francis Nicholson authorized several gentlemen to take subscriptions in Virginia for the proposed college, and on the same day the clergy issued an appeal for financial support to merchants in England who were trading in Virginia.

1691, May

The Reverend James Blair, commissary or representative in Virginia of the Bishop of London, was issued instructions by the General Assembly for the founding of a college, and was sent to England to present a request to the King and Queen to grant a charter for a college.

1693, February 8

King William III and Queen Mary II granted a charter to establish William & Mary. The King provided £1,985 14s l0d from quitrents in Virginia, a penny tax on every pound of tobacco exported from Maryland and Virginia to countries other than England, the "Profits" from the surveyor-general's office and 10,000 acres each in the Pamunkey Neck and on Blackwater Swamp. The Reverend James Blair was named president of William & Mary and served until his death in 1743.Boundary Stone

1693, November 16

Although the charter suggested a site on the south side of the York River ("Townsend's Land"), the act passed this day by the General Assembly, and consented to on November 18 by Nicholson, established the site of William & Mary "as near the church now standing in Middle Plantation old fields as convenience will permit." This church was the predecessor of the present Bruton Parish Church. The same day the assembly also voted an export duty on furs and skins for the support of William & Mary. The name "Middle Plantation" was changed to "Williamsburg" when the colonial capital was moved there from Jamestown in 1699.

1693, December 20

For the William & Mary site a tract of 330 acres was purchased for £170 from Captain Thomas Ballard. Two of the boundary stones, erected in 1694 to mark the property, may be seen in the William & Mary library.

1694, May 14Coat of Arms

The coat of arms of William & Mary was granted by the College of Arms in London. The arms were described as: "Vert a Colledge, or Edifice mason'd Argent in Chief a Sun rising Or the Hemisphere proper," i.e., a college building in silver, on a green field; a golden sun at half orb against a blue sky.

1695, August 8

Governor Edmund Andros and the Council of Virginia were present at the laying of the first bricks of the foundation of the College Building, later called the Main Building. When restored between 1928 and 1931, it was renamed the Sir Christopher Wren Building in honor of the presumed architect. The front and the north wing were completed in 1700.

1699, May 1

A May Day celebration was held at William & Mary, attended by members of the House of Burgesses at Governor Nicholson's invitation. Not only were the Burgesses treated to examples "of the Improvement of your Youth in Learning and Education," but they also heard speeches given by five students, one of which extolled the advantages of Williamsburg as a site for the capital.