College, Week St Mary

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The College

Week St Mary

Landmark Trust

Location: 50°45’7"N, 4°29’57"W
Built 1506
Website: The College

The College in Week St Mary is a house which is all that remains of an early sixteenth century school. It is found in eastern Cornwall, not far from the border with Devon.

The College faces a small courtyard off the village street and, behind it, meadows slope away towards the Tamar Valley. Today it is in the care of the Landmark Trust and let as holiday accommodation.


The college was founded and built by Thomasine Bonaventure (c. 1470 – c. 1530), to honour the village of her birth. A remarkable character, Thomasine moved to London and married Richard Bunsby, a wool merchant, and after his death two further marriages increased her fortune substantially,[1] and she ended as Lady Percival. Her third husband died in 1504 and Thomasine moved back to Week St Mary.

Lady Percival founded the school at Week St Mary in 1506, and it is thought to be the first school founded by a secular lady. She settled a stipend for the schoolmaster, who was to be a graduate of Oxford or Cambridge and for prayers to be said for her soul in the parish church of St Mary.

The chantry element was suppressed at te Reformation, under King Henry VIII, but the school remained active. However during the reign of King Edward VI, in 1548, the buildings were found to be much decayed and the school was moved to Launceston.

Over the next centuries the buildings passed through a number of landed families, but in time they were robbed of stone: Tudor carved stone can be found in the walls of a number of local cottages. Much of the old school disappeared. In the late twentieth century the Landmark Trust bought the Old College.


The old school room is now all together a large sitting and dining room with a huge open fire and thick stone walls.

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