St. Michael and All Angels Church, Great Witley
As the parish church for the villages of Great Witley and Little Witley it is used regularly for services, concerts and other events.
In recent years, this church has become part of a larger United Benefice, 4Rivers Churches, which includes Knighton, Lindridge, Pensax, Stockton, Abberley, Great Witley, Little Witley, and Shrawley.
Whilst the adjoining Witley Court was inhabited the church was used regularly, but after the fire at the Court in 1937 it was abandoned, and most services were held in the chapel of ease in the village.
The church suffered a period of neglect until 1965 when an extensive restoration programme was started by concerned parishioners in order to save the Parish Church from further decay.
The church now displays a splendour which is unique amongst country churches in Britain. It has exquisite gilded decorations throughout, ceiling paintings by Antonio Bellucci, ten painted glass windows by Joshua Price depicting biblical scenes, splendid carved woodwork and a large monument by Michael Rysbrack.
There is an impressive organ and many musicians consider the church acoustics to be as fine as for any building of its size outside London.
The vaults in the crypt were opened up a few years ago and are now on view to the public. They contain lead coffins in various states of decay and Lord Dudley’s original granite tomb. There is also the Samuel Thorpe tower clock from 1804 now restored and in working condition as well as a display of material and artefacts relating to the church and Witley Court, and the families involved over the last 300 years.
The church Garden Tea Rooms nearby are open from April to October and offer a delicious selection of locally sourced and cooked food, including delicious cakes! The Tea Rooms, run for us by Gill Edmonds, are set in what used to be Lady Dudley’s private gardens and offer a truly relaxing atmosphere in beautiful surroundings.
The Garden Tea Rooms