This rather sorry looking tuffeau (soft limestone) building on rue Chaumont-Patin in Preuilly dates from the 15th to the 18th century. Up until the Revolution, middle class and aristocratic boys came here to learn Greek, Latin and mathematics and it was the best college in the district.
The college was run by a lay person, who lived not far away. In contrast, the convent lower down, was supervised by the Benedictines from the Abbaye Saint-Pierre who taught in both establishments. The monks would also have been hoping to encourage a few religious vocations amongst the students.
Although now tatty on the outside, and blackened by smoke, the building apparently has a magnificent attic, constructed with such care with its beautiful carpentry and well finished roof that it points to this being the dormitory. For all its beauty it would certainly have been very hot in summer and very cold in winter. There is an exit into rue des Douves and a staircase tower that gives access to the dormitory.
The Revolution brought an abrupt halt to the scholarly activities, because the abbey was forced to close and the college therefore lost its teaching staff. This was openly regretted by the townspeople.
From then on the building's history is very chequered.
In the 1920s, downstairs was the locksmith Ribotton's workshop. The forge was directly below the living quarters. Ribotton's oldest daughter Liliane married General Ailleret, who pressed the button on the first French atomic bomb, tested at Reggane in the Sahara. In the 50s the ground floor was the plumbing and locksmith workshop of Monsieur Luneteau (known as Bouboule due to his rotund shape). Later an electrician called Monsieur Perrin used it as his workshop. At the moment it is being used as storage space.