The Royal Charter on Display

Posted on
February 4, 2016

G0476A6 blog
Andros Copy of the Royal Charter (UA 77)

The Royal Charter will be on display in the Special Collections Research Center on the first floor of the Earl Gregg Swem Library on both Charter Day (10-6pm) and Saturday, Feb. 6th (10-2pm).

College of William and Mary President James Blair brought both English and Latin versions of the twelve page Royal Charter with him from the Court of William and Mary at Kensington Palace. The original copy of the charter establishing the College of William and Mary in Virginia appears to have been lost about the time of the American Revolution.

In 1977, a contemporary manuscript copy of the charter (circa 1693) was purchased at auction with funds provided from an endowment honoring alumnus John M. Presson, Class of 1916. This copy is thought to have belonged to Sir Edmund Andros, the royal governor of the colony of Virginia at the time of the founding of the College.  In a 1978 study of the charter, Frank B. Evans, Professor of English Emeritus, speculated that perhaps Ralph Wormeley, Secretary of the colony of Virginia, made this translation from Latin into English for Governor Andros.   It is the oldest copy of the charter in the University Archives.  Read the Royal Charter.