William and Mary

Colonial homes Colonial merchants Duke of Gloucester st Elderhostel Public buildings Taverns William and Mary

William and Mary College

Williamsburg, Virginia


Wren building


Norborne Berkeley, Baron de Botetourt
Colonial head of the College

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For most of the past two centuries, a statue of Norborne Berkeley, Baron de Botetourt, has occupied a place of honor in the College Yard in front of the Sir Christopher Wren Building. The popular royal governor of Virginia from 1768 until 1770, Lord Botetourt was a friend and patron of the College during his brief tenure. He served as rector of the Board of Visitors and established a fund for the purchase of gold medals to be awarded annually to two students for academic excellence.

Lord Botetourt's death in 1770 was mourned by College and townspeople alike. Lamented as "the best of Governors and the best of Men," he was honored with an elaborate funeral and buried in the crypt under the chapel of the Wren Building. The following year, Virginia's House of Burgesses commissioned "an elegant Statue... in Marble" as a sign of its esteem. The statue, executed by prominent English sculptor Richard Hayward, arrived in Williamsburg in 1773 and was installed on the piazza of the Capitol, where it was deemed "a Masterly piece of Work" and was "universally admired."

After the capital of the colony was moved to Richmond in 1780, the statue was vandalized and fell into disrepair. Botetourt was still regarded with such affection by those at the College that the faculty purchased the statue, and in 1801 it was installed in the College Yard where a student reported that "it now cuts a very handsome figure indeed."

The statue of Lord Botetourt remained in the College Yard for the next century and a half, with the exception of several years during and after the Civil War when it was relocated to the grounds of the Public Hospital for safekeeping. In 1958, to protect the statue from further vandalism and weathering, it was removed to storage, and in 1966 it was placed in the Botetourt Gallery of the College's Swem Library, where it remains today. It is one of the earliest examples of commemorative public statuary in the United States, and the only one to honor a royal governor. In 1993, as the College celebrated its Tercentenary, a new statue of Lord Botetourt -- created in bronze by W&M alumnus, Gordon Kray -- was installed in the College Yard, in the place occupied for so many years by the original.

Text from the college web site

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Queen Mary
(who ruled with King William, each in their own right)


Queen Anne
(sister of Queen Mary, who ruled after her death)


chapel in the Wren building


organ with the Georgian coat of arms


exterior of the college hall in the Wren building


plaque commemorating Prof. George Wythe

Photos of his home in Colonial Williamsburg


just another law student of Prof Wythe

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