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.
Join us on Sat 22 - Sun 23 June and explore Witley Court's beautiful historic gardens at their blooming best - with tours, demonstrations, stalls and more. Our gardeners will be on hand throughout the day to share their hints and tips, and you can listen to live music as you soak up the sights and scents of the garden. If you’ve been inspired to get green-fingered you can browse the plant stalls and pick out something for your own garden.Find out more
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