William & Mary 1700 - 1749

Wren 17021700, December 5

The College Building became the temporary headquarters of the colonial government after it moved from Jamestown. The General Assembly met here for its first legislative session in Williamsburg on this date and continued to meet at William & Mary until April 1704, when the Capitol was sufficiently completed to permit its use.

1702, July

Young men at William & Mary are believed to have presented the first theatrical performance as early as 1702. Royal Governor Francis Nicholson, in a letter to the Archbishop of Canterbury on July 22, 1702, reported that "a Pastoral Colloquy in English verse, spoken by some younger Scholars in the College hall" was presented.

1705, October 29

The College Building burned between 11 and 12 o'clock at night. The building, including the library and furniture, "was in a small time totally consumed." This conflagration, of unknown origin, left intact most of the thick walls, later incorporated in the structure as altered with the help of Lieutenant Governor Alexander Spotswood and rebuilt between 1710 and 1716.


Queen Anne bestowed upon William & Mary £1,000 to rebuild the College Building.


In this year the second College Building was "well nigh compleated." The grammar and Indian schools, the first schools established in William & Mary, are believed to have been continued in buildings outside the campus between 1705 and 1716.

1718, May 30

The General Assembly granted £1000 to the governors and visitors of William & Mary "for the maintaining and educating such and so many of the ingenious scholars, natives of this colony, as they shall think fit."


The Brafferton Building was erected with funds from the estate of The Honorable Robert Boyle. It housed the Indian School, founded about 1700. The executors of the noted physicist had invested his residuary estate in the Yorkshire manor, "Brafferton," whose rents supported the Indian School until the time of the Revolution.

1729, February 27

All departments of William & Mary, with a president and six full professors, were finally established. In compliance with the charter, the transfer of corporate authority from the surviving trustees, the Reverends James Blair and Stephen Fouace, to the president and masters was completed on August 15.

1732, June 28

The Chapel, the south wing of the College Building, was opened. Long the seat of worship at William & Mary, it included a crypt which became the final resting place of several eminent Virginians. Interred in its vaults are Sir John Randolph, speaker of the House of Burgesses; his sons Peyton, first president of the Continental Congress, and John, "the Tory"; Norborne Berkeley, Baron de Botetourt, governor of Virginia; and the Right Reverend James Madison, president of William & Mary and first Bishop of the Protestant Episcopal Church in Virginia.

1732, July 31

The foundations of the President's House were laid.

College Yard 1733
The College Yard, circa 1733-1734

The College Yard, circa 1733 - 1734. The Bodleian plate was found in the Bodleian Library at Oxford but is today in the collection of the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation.


The first edition of the William & Mary Charter and Statutes appeared, printed by William Parks of The Virginia Gazette.

1740, September 25

By his will, probated this day, Lieutenant Governor Spotswood bequeathed to William & Mary "all my books, maps and mathematical instruments as an acknowledgement of the courteous reception and civilities I have received from the masters."


After the Capitol burned on January 20, 1747, the General Assembly again held its meetings in the College Building.

1749, July 29

Before the Culpeper County court, 17-year-old George Washington produced a commission from the president and masters of William & Mary appointing him surveyor of that county.