UNLIMITED ACCESS TO OVER 400 HISTORIC PLACES
Live and breathe the story of England at royal castles, historic gardens, forts & defences, world-famous prehistoric sites and many others.
Please note: there will be a number of road closures on Sunday 24th, due to the Velo Birmingham race. Please see velobirmingham.com/road-closures to plan your route.
A manor at Witley is owned by Urso d'Abetot, a cousin of William the Conqueror.
The medieval house is rebuilt on a grander scale by the Russell family.
Find out more about Witley Court's history
Thomas Foley, whose family fortunes come from the iron industry, buys Witley.
The 1st Baron Foley enlarges the house, to reflect his enhanced social status and his family’s transition from industrial wealth to landed aristocracy.
Thomas Foley VII hires the architect John Nash to design ambitious alterations, including massive new stone porticos and a rebuilt east wing.
The Witley estate is sold for £900,000 (about £48 million today) to the trustees of 16-year-old William, Lord Ward, heir to vast industrial riches.
Witley is let to Queen Adelaide, widow of William IV. She is popular locally and pays for the building of the first village school.
Lord Ward moves in, and begins a major transformation of Witley Court to designs by architect Samuel Daukes and garden designer William Andrews Nesfield. Ward is made 1st Earl of Dudley in 1860.
Under the 2nd Earl of Dudley life at Witley reachs a height of opulence, with his friend the Prince of Wales (later Edward VII) a regular visitor at lavish parties.
After his first wife’s death, the 2nd Earl, beset with mounting debts, sells the Witley estate to the carpet manufacturer Sir Herbert Smith.
Witley’s role as a rich man’s house ends abruptly when a devastating fire destroys much of the house. It is never lived in again.
An antique dealer buys the house, stripping it of anything of value that remains.
The house is scheduled as an Ancient Monument, and restoration work begins, continued since 1984 by English Heritage.
Learn more about Witley Court
English Heritage cares for over 400 historic buildings, monuments and places - from world-famous prehistoric sites to grand medieval castles, from Roman forts on the edges of empire to a Cold War bunker. Through these, we bring the story of England to life for over 10 million people each year. The English Heritage Trust is a charity, no. 1140351, and a company, no. 0744722, registered in England.