Witley Court - PHOTOGRAPHER COMMENT
Witley Court is a magnificent Victorian ruin. The original house was partly destroyed by fire in 1937 with the remainder then left to rot. Some of the stonework and the original gates are now in the US.
Witley Court - FURTHER INFORMATION
Witley Court - Great Witley visitor guide showing a virtual tour of 'Witley Court' linked to an interactive map with local and travel information. 360° panoramas from Worcestershire.
Panorama of the ruins of Witley Court, once an impressive estate and palace but now in dereliction. Made safe for public access, the grounds are open and well maintained and feature a sculpted fountain, extensive lawns and small lake. Witley Court is now run by English Heritage.
A relative of William the Conqueror, Urso d'Abetot, was gifted this estate land around the year 1100. Through marriage, the estate changed hands and ascendancy to its associated titles passed through several noble families including the de Beauchamp, Cooksey and Russell lines.
During the 17thC Civil War, ownership was seized by industrialists until ownership by the Foleys, a self-made ironmongery family, endured between 1655 and 1837. In their care, the estate was extended, cultivated, a parish was created and the early manor house was enlarged. Financial ruin forced the sale to William, Baron Humble Ward & Earl of Dudley. In 1843 he lent Witley Court to Queen Adelaide, the widow of King William IV for three years, during which time it was frequently visited by crowned heads of Europe. It is said that Edward Elgar's father was employed as her piano tuner.
Baron Ward engaged Samuel Daukes, James Forsythe and William Forsythe as architect and master craftsmen to oversee the refurbishment which brought the palace into the ambitiously elaborate building, furnished in Second Empire style by royal decorators, which made it so lauded. William Andrews Nesfield designed the ornate gardens, stonework and the famous fountain which represents the Greek mythological characters of Perseus and Andromeda. He also designed the planting of evergreen shrubs and box hedges clipped into the Parterre de Broderie style to represent embroidery fashioned from greenery and gravel.
In 1937, fire completely devastated the building. The following year the building was split into three lots auctioned to architectural salvage merchants for timber, stone facades and remaining construction materials. English Heritage restored the South Garden and with financial assistance have continued to repair, make safe and preserve areas of this estate as close to or in complimentary style to its Nesfield design. The house remains in private ownership although some parts have managed, limited access to the general public for viewing.
Tel: 01299 896636
Tel: (Worcester Local Tourist Information): 01905 726311
TRAVEL DIRECTIONS AND GETTING THERE
Near to the A443 road, between Kidderminster and Worcester, to the west of the city of Birmingham.