Bray-Digges House moving to new location in Colonial Williamsburg Historic Area


The Bray-Digges House will be moving from its current location on the campus of the College of William and Mary to the Colonial Williamsburg Historic Area on Charter Day, the morning of Feb. 10. The Bray-Digges House is the original home of the Williamsburg Bray School, an 18th-century building which served previously as an educational facility for enslaved Black children. 

“The Bray School has so much to teach us about our nation’s history, and many who shaped it,” President Katherine Rowe said in a statement. “The Williamsburg Bray School Initiative, and research projects like it, are foundational to William and Mary’s core mission. We are fortunate to have great partners at Colonial Williamsburg and in the local community to help us tell its story.” 

Dendrochronology analysis of the wooden frame of the building was completed in 2020 and confirmed the structure’s original use as an educational facility for many of Williamsburg’s enslaved children from 1760-1774. Initial work done in an effort to restore and interpret the structure was made possible in part due to funders including the Gladys and Franklin Clark Foundation, the Mellon Foundation, Truist and the Commonwealth of Virginia. 

The Bray School building is currently located at 524 Prince George Street on the College’s campus and will be moved to the intersection of Francis and North Nassau Street in Colonial Williamsburg. The building has most recently housed offices for the College’s Department of Military Science and has been previously known as Prince George House. 

A 30-minute ceremony will be hosted at 2 p.m. on Feb. 10 on the lawn of the Art Museums of Colonial Williamsburg. The ceremony will be an open event to the public. 

President Rowe, Williamsburg Mayor Doug Pons, Colonial Williamsburg President and CEO Cliff Fleet and others will be speaking at the event and briefly commemorate the building and its extensive history. 

“The Williamsburg Bray School provides us with an incredible opportunity to explore and learn from a complicated piece of our past that – like the Bray School building itself – has been overlooked by so many for hundreds of years,” Fleet said. “Incorporating this building into Colonial Williamsburg’s world-class programming highlights this important piece of our collective history and allows us to share it with the world.” 


  1. The Bray School is an important resource for the College. No other university in American has anything like it. It originally stood on the corner of Boundary and Prince George and was donated to the College in the 20th century before it was moved to its current location. Why then is the College selling this resource? The Brafferton is one of the oldest surviving schools for teaching Native Americans. Has the College considered selling it to the CWF to be relocated into a phony “Indian” neighborhood within the Restoration? Why would the College surrender such an important historic building?
    Put the Bray School on the lawn of Brown Hall, just 50 feet from its original site and interpret it in its authentic location near the College instead of putting it next to a reconstructed 19th century church two blocks from its origin. It seems in an effort to make up for years of ignoring Black history the CWF is now willing to surrender its founding principles (only authentic 18th century buildings on their original sites) to create an artificial “Black” neighborhood where one never existed. Please follow up with an explanation why the College is surrendering such an important resource.


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