The College

Week St Mary, Cornwall

Overview

This is the remains of a remarkable school. The College faces a small courtyard off the village street and, behind it, meadows slope away towards Dartmoor.

  • Dogs AllowedDogs Allowed
  • CotCot
  • Fire or StoveFire or Stove
  • Open SpaceOpen Space
  • Logs availableLogs available
  • Parking AvailableParking Available
  • Bath with ShowerBath with Shower
  • DishwasherDishwasher
  • MicrowaveMicrowave
  • Waitrose DeliveryWaitrose Delivery

Beds 1 Single, 1 Twin, 1 Double

Sleeps
5
4 nights
£470 equivalent to £23.50 per person, per night

A school founded in 1506

These are the remains of a remarkable school, almost the first to be founded by a woman, Thomasine Bonaventure, in 1506 at the place of her birth. The old school room is now a large sitting and dining room with a huge open fire and thick stone walls.

The buildings which remain here today have been partially demolished to suit changing functions but also to provide building materials for other village buildings. Dressed granite jambs, heads and tympani can be seen built into the walls of many neighbouring cottages, although enough survives of the College to give us some idea of the imposing group which stood on the site in the reign of Edward VI.

Cornish countryside

Week St. Mary is situated just a few miles inland from the Atlantic coastline, and is only a mile or so from the Devon border. The College faces a small courtyard off the village street. Behind it a meadow slopes down to a chequer-work of little fields, and over them appears, black and afar, the high outline of Dartmoor, beyond which Thomasine ventured to such purpose.

‘The pictures in the Landmark Handbook never quite prepare you for the reality of the property - we were bowled over when we arrived.’

From the logbook

Floor Plans

Map & local info

The College is set in the charming, unspoilt village of Week St Mary, beside a  patchwork of fields with the high outline of Dartmoor behind it and access to beaches south of Bude nearby.

Cornwall boasts some of the finest beaches in the country; Sandymouth Beach is recommended, or have a go at surfing with Big Blue Surf School to experience the coastline. Bude Sea Pool offers a more relaxing way to enjoy the water. 

Boscastle Village is perfect for an afternoon out in a beautiful coastal setting. Tintagel Castle is reputedly the birthplace of King Arthur, and offers a magical visit ideal for children. 

Take a look at our Pinterest Map for more ideas and things to do during your stay at College. 

Please Note: The Landmark Trust does not take any responsibility and makes no warranties, representations or undertakings about the content of any website accessed by hypertext link. Links should not be taken as an endorsement of any kind. The Landmark Trust has no control over the availability of the linked pages.

Clear directions
FAQs

Your questions answered

    What you need to know about this building

  • Does the property allow dogs?

    Yes.
  • How is the property accessed?

    Directly from the main road.
  • What is the nearest railway station and how far away is it?

    Exeter St David's
  • Is there car parking specifically for Landmark guests?

    Yes, there are two parking spaces adjacent to the property.
  • What type of heating does the property have?

    There is central heating and an open fire.
  • How can I get fuel for the open fire or stove?

    Logs may be purchased and delivered under a private arrangement. Further details will be provided with your booking confirmation.
  • What are the kitchen facilities?

    The kitchen is fully equipped with all plates, cutlery, fridge etc.
    There is also a gas cooker and a dishwasher.
  • What are the bathroom facilities?

    There is one bathroom with a shower over the bath.
  • Does this Landmark have steep, narrow or spiral stairs?

    The stairs are steep, spiral stairs.
  • Is there a garden or outside space?

    There is an enclosed garden.

    Booking and Payment

  • What happens if I can’t get to the Landmark due to bad weather?

    If the weather is bad, please contact our booking office who will be able to tell you whether the Landmark is accessible. If the housekeeper can safely get to the building to prepare it then we consider that it is open and available for guests. However if we cannot undertake a changeover then we will do our utmost to transfer your stay to another Landmark, depending on what we have available. It may not be of a similar size or in the same part of the country as your original booking. If the building is accessible but the customer cannot travel due to poor weather in his/her local area then please be aware that Landmark will not provide a refund. However the customer may be able to claim on his/her own travel insurance. We recommend that all guests take out travel insurance when they first secure a booking.
  • How can I pay?

    We accept Maestro (if issued in the UK), Visa, MasterCard, direct transfer and sterling cheques drawn on a UK bank. Cheques should be made payable to the Landmark Trust except for Lundy stays and boat/helicopter tickets which should be payable to The Lundy Company Ltd. All payments must be in sterling.
  • How do I create an account?

    If you have not used the Landmark online booking facility before and you wish to register in advance, you can set up an on-line account by following the instructions below:

    Go to the Landmark home page and click on Gift shop (located at the top of the home page in red).

    Select a gift (e.g. Landmark Handbook or Anniversary Mug) and complete the ‘Amount required’ box. There is no need to complete the purchase but this step is necessary in order to bring up the registration page.

    Click ‘Next Step’ at the bottom of the page.

    This will bring you to the ‘Your details’ page.

    Please complete all the fields (name, address, contact details and create an account). Click on the green ‘Create Account’ button once you have finished.

    At the top of the page headed ‘Your details’ there will be a grey box saying ‘Signed in’ and underneath this it will say ‘you are currently signed in as ….

    Here you will also have the option to ‘Sign out’. Please do so and that is your registration completed.

    Please return to the Landmark home page.

    To check your registration or update your account details at any time please ‘Sign in’ using the icon in the top right-hand corner of the home page.

    If you experience any problems in registering or setting up your on-line account please contact webmaster@landmarktrust.org.uk.
  • How do I pick up the key?

    There are various arrangements for picking up keys. To arrange to get into the Landmark, please contact the housekeeper at least two days before your stay
  • Can I pay a deposit?

    If your stay starts more than three months from the date you make the booking, you are required to pay a deposit of one third of the cost of your stay (or £100 per booking, if greater) at the time of booking. Camping on Lundy must be paid for in full at the time of booking.
  • How can I cancel or change my booking?

    If you wish to cancel or change your booking, please contact our Booking Office on 01628 825925
  • Do you accept payment in other currencies?

    At the moment we only accept payment in sterling.
  • What if I arrive late?

    Please let the housekeeper know if you are going to arrive late and s/he will leave a key for you in a suitable place.
  • How far in advance do I need to book?

    It depends. Some of our most popular Landmarks are booked up a long time in advance, but many can be booked at short notice. We will always have Landmarks free for the coming weekend so it’s always worth checking our availability list.
  • Do you have to be a member to book a Landmark?

    No, Landmarks are available to be booked for anyone.
  • Do I need a Handbook to be able to book?

    No, all the information you need can be found on our website, although we’d like you to buy one anyway as it will be a pleasure to own!

    Staying at a Landmark

  • Are Landmarks accessible for people with disabilities or limited mobility?

    Some of our Landmarks are suitable for people with disabilities or limited mobility. However, many Landmarks have steep or narrow staircases, uneven floors and thresholds, changes of level, low ceilings or beams, as well as indistinct colours on steps and in corridors. We recommend that you call Booking Enquiries on 01628 825925 if you would like to find out the suitability of a particular Landmark for anyone with a specific disability.
  • Are Landmarks only available as self-catering accommodation?

    Yes, Landmarks are only available as self-catering accommodation. We do not offer bed and breakfast.
  • Do you provide catering?

    Landmark does not provide catering, but we can recommend Greycoat Lumleys who can arrange for expert and well-trained staff to cater for one evening or for your entire holiday. Their cooks and chefs are able to work with you to meet your specific requirements
  • Do you allow dogs?

    You may bring up to two dogs to properties where dogs are allowed (please see specific property details for exemptions however dogs are not permitted on Lundy except assistance dogs). They must be kept off the furniture and under proper control.
  • Can I bring a pet?

    Apart from two dogs (see above) no other pets are permitted.
  • What time can I arrive and what time do I have to depart from the Landmark?

    Arrival is from 4pm and departure is by 10am.
  • Am I insured if I break something?

    We do not carry insurance for breakages. However we appreciate that accidents do sometimes happen. If you have a breakage during your stay, please let the housekeeper know and if appropriate we reserve the right to invoice you accordingly.
  • Are Landmarks suitable for children?

    Yes, most of our Landmarks are perfect for children, with gardens to play in and secret places to discover. Our furniture is surprisingly robust and we positively encourage families to stay. However, some of our buildings may not be suitable for small children; for example, some of them have steep or uneven spiral staircases. We recommend that you call the Booking Enquiries team if you would like to find out the suitability of any of our Landmarks for young children.
  • Can I get married in a Landmark?

    Unfortunately, most of our Landmarks are not licensed for weddings. However, you may get married on Lundy.
  • Can I hold a big party in a Landmark?

    All our larger Landmarks are perfect for gatherings of family or friends. You may invite an additional two guests to visit you during your stay, however they must not stay overnight. This is very important because our fire regulations specifically note the maximum number of people in any one building. In addition our properties are prepared, furnished and equipped for the number of people specified and greater numbers cause damage and excessive wear and tear to vulnerable buildings. Should this condition be ignored we shall make a retrospective charge per person per day (whether or not they stay overnight) for each guest over the permitted limit, the charge being pro-rated on the total cost of your booking.
  • Are there televisions in the buildings?

    We deliberately do not provide televisions and find that most people appreciate this.
  • Why are your access tracks sometimes difficult?

    One of the challenges of restoring unloved buildings is gaining access to them. We frequently have to negotiate rights with our neighbours and share tracks with them. In many cases tracks do not belong to us and we have no right to maintain them. Wherever possible we work with our neighbours to provide you with a good quality surface, but where this is a problem then you will be warned at the time of booking.
  • Will there be sockets for my electrical appliances?

    Yes, we have standard electricity sockets for UK appliances. If you are coming from outside the UK, you will need to bring your own adaptor plug(s). If you are visiting one of our European properties we have standard European electricity sockets. If you are visting from the UK, you will need to bring your own adapter plug (s).

    Facilities

  • Are the kitchens and bathrooms restored to a modern standard?

    Sometimes our kitchens and bathrooms have to be imaginatively fitted into the available space in buildings where before there were none, but they are all planned and equipped to a high and modern standard.
  • Is linen provided?

    Yes, Landmarks are fully equipped with sheets and towels. All the beds are fully made up for your arrival.
  • Are the kitchens fully equipped?

    Yes, our kitchens are well equipped with cookers and fridges. There are freezers and dishwashers (in larger buildings) and, where space allows, microwaves as well as a wide and standard range of utensils. A full equipment list is available at time of booking.
  • Do you provide logs for the open fire/stove?

    Logs are provided at many of our Landmarks for an additional cost.
  • Will there be a mobile signal in the Landmark I book?

    Mobile coverage varies. Some Landmarks have an excellent signal, but others have none at all. If you are concerned, you can check with the housekeeper before your arrival.
  • Is there Wi-Fi in your buildings?

    No. At the moment, we have decided not to implement Wi-Fi in our buildings following a consultation with our customers. Many said that they would find it useful, but many also felt that it would somehow damage the experience of staying in a Landmark. As the responses were so split, and as we have so many other initiatives requiring funding, we have decided to put this on hold for the time being.
  • What should I bring with me? Are there toilet rolls, soap, shampoo, milk, teabags, coffee, hairdryer?

    A welcome tray with tea and sugar awaits your arrival and you will find a pint of milk in the fridge. We also provide toilet rolls and a bar of soap per basin, but no other toiletries. We do not provide hairdryers.
History

A group of buildings of medieval form

Situated towards the north end of the village on the east side of the road which joins the square and the triangular site of the old Market House, there is a group of buildings which because of their medieval form encourage the visitor to take a closer look.

It is the house standing at a right angle to the road, presenting its gable and crenellated wall of outstanding workmanship, which attracts attention, and through the secluded courtyard gives glimpses to the field beyond and the heights of Dartmoor in the distance.

The Landmark Trust bought this delightful building which formed part of an endowment by Dame Thomasine Percival, the widow of Sir John Percival who was Lord Mayor of London in 1498, and because of its importance as one of the earliest free schools in England to be founded by a woman. It also architectural similarities with Wortham Manor, another of the Trust's properties, which lies about 12 miles away on the Devon side of the Tamar.

Thomasine, whose maiden name was Bonaventure, was born in the village of Week St Mary in 1450 and the romantic story of her meeting and eventual marriage with Richard Bunsby, a wool merchant from London, followed by the improvement of her position and fortune by two later marriages has been told by many Cornish writers, including Parson Hawker (in 'Footprints of Former Men in Far Cornwall', which is on the College bookshelf) But Lady Percival must have been an unusual woman of her time, because we are told that soon after the death of her third husband in 1504 she returned to the village to devote the remainder of her life to charitable work in the neighbourhood. Her will, which is dated 1512, made her cousin John Dinham of Wortham, who had married her niece Margaret Westmanton, the residual legatee and left to his discretion on the chantry and grammar school which she had established in her lifetime, whilst the deed which she settled the foundation stated the stipend of the manciple, the laundress and the schoolmaster, who was also to be a graduate of Oxford or Cambridge and to pray for her soul in the parish church of St Mary.

The Commissioners of 1546 assigned to enquire into chantries, hospitals, colleges, free chapels, etc. reported that 'that ye sayde Chauntrye is a great comfort to all ye countries, for yt they yt lyst may sett their children to borde there and have them taught freely, for ye wch purpose there is an house and offices appointed by the foundation accordingly'.

Unfortunately two years later another Commission reported that the school at St Mary Week was 'now yn decaye ...' and this was followed with a declaration by the Lord Protector Somerset that the school should be moved to Launceston.(see "Tudor Cornwall" by AL Rowse, p260ff)

We will never really know what happened in the 16th century to turn, within a few years, a flourishing school which was serving the local community well into such an unwanted and unmanageable liability that its assets had to be transferred to the similar foundation of the adjoining town, but it is not difficult to surmise.

The buildings which remain of the former College have been partially demolished to suit changing functions but also to provide building materials for other village buildings. Dressed granite jambs, heads and tympani can be seen built into the walls of many neighbouring cottages, although enough survives of the College to give us some idea of the imposing group which stood on the site in the reign of Edward VI.

The similarity of the granite dressings of the windows, with the slightly ogee form of the head of the lights and the arch of the porch doorway, to those at Wortham Manor has already been touched upon, but there are other details which suggest that the same designer and craftsman were used on the two buildings, possibly under the direction of John Dinham. The granite plinth with the single course of dressed ashlar in brown sandstone immediately above it and the remainder of the walls in coursed freestone, tympanum over the entrance doorway, the stair turret with its granite quatrefoil window and the lintel of the chimney piece are all features which can be seen in the house that John Dinham enlarged in the first quarter of the 16th century, probably to provide accommodation for his son William on his marriage. There are similarities, too, between the beautiful granite chimney with its scalloped cap on the south elevation at the College and that at Trecarell just south of Launceston which was also built at about the same time.

Unfortunately there is nothing to suggest the form of the Tudor roof, floor beams and screen of the original building, but it is probable that they were as those at Wortham, Trecarrell and Cotehele, all buildings in the locality which were extended at the end of the 15th century or beginning of the next. The present roof trusses are not difficult to date and are of rough carpentry which the builders always intended to conceal above the ceiling, but it is probable that the first floor was inserted and the roof replaced in the late 17th or early eighteenth century when the windows on the north elevation were also changed to wood casements and a culm oven built into the medieval fireplace.

The early history of The College and how it came to the Landmark Trust is described in the Landmark Handbook. The four hundred and twenty odd years in between are an almost total blank. From 1549-1725 it was owned by the Prideau family and was part of the Manor of Simpson. A rental of Week St Mary dated 1709-1728 mentions 'Scholler's Parl' and 'dwelling house Schollar's Park', presumably referring to the College.

At the beginning of the 18th century the Prideaus sold up to Thomas Pitt, first Lord Londonderry, and a first cousin to the Earl of Chatham. His sister Lucy married the first Earl of Stanhope, one of the most distinguished soldiers in the reign of Queen Anne, and the property came through her to the Stanhopes.

The 7th Earl of Stanhope sold it in 1910, together with his Holesworthy estate. Mr Colwill, from whom the Landmark Trust bought it, had lived at the College all his life and so had two generations of the Colwills before him.

 

Restoration

The Landmark Trust removed the more recent partitions and staircase, and repaired and reinstated those features of the early buildings which survived.

The first floor was replaced slightly below the 17th century level, so that the heights of the first floor window sills on the north side would still be convenient, but because the original turret stairs were dangerously steep it was decided to lower the landing which will be about 2' below the bottom of the granite jambs of the mediaeval arched doorway at the head of the stairs. The roof timbers were repaired and the roof covering of used rag slates were laid to continue the colour, texture and scale of other roofs on the neighbourhood.

Availability & booking

Select a changeover day to start your booking...

What's a changeover day? and Why can't I select other dates?Explain MoreQuestion

A changeover day is a particular day of the week when holidays start and end at our properties. These tend to be on a Friday or a Monday but can sometimes vary. All stays run from one changeover day until another changeover day.