Ratings Made Easy
Great Witley Parish Church
Great Witley Church displays a splendour which is unique amongst country churches in Britain, it is a fine example of Baroque decoration with exquisite gilded decorations throughout, carvings by William Forsyth, numerous paintings by Antonio Bellucci, ten painted glass windows depicting scenes mainly from the New Testament, highly decorative wood carving and a large monument by Rysbrack dedicated to Lord and Lady Foley who were responsible for building the church. It also has a fine organ, its case being from the instrument upon which Handel played. Many musicians consider the acoustics for music to be as fine as any building of its size outside London.
The windows, paintings and organ were originally in the private chapel of the Duke of Chandos at Little Stanmore, Middlesex which is where Handel played. When financial problems caused the sale of the Duke's estate, the Foleys decided to build their own church using, it is thought, the same architect, James Gibbs, in readiness to receive the above items. This also led to the first large scale use of papier mache on walls and ceilings in the world, as the false ceiling was thought not strong enough to take plaster work. The papier mache is covered with golf leaf.
Four of the paintings of the cherubs holding the Instruments of the Cross, show scars in their groin or on their hip; this is thought to be as a result of the sitter having had TB, and one cherub also has a form of Downs Syndrome. It is possible that they represent the Duke's children who died at an early age.
The church also houses the largest funerary memorial in the country by Michael Rysbrack. The windows, a combination of stained glass and enamel painting were designed by an unknown artist and executed by J S Price of London. The church is used regularly for services and concerts.
Great Witley Parish Church facilities include:
- Picnic site
- Print in foreign languages
Great Witley Parish Church accessibility includes:
- Ramp/level access
- All areas accessible to disabled visitors
- Service dogs permitted (eg guide dogs)
Contact - Great Witley Parish Church
Nearby and Related Items
Witley Court & Gardens (English Heritage)
Step back in time to a bygone age of great wealth when the house played host to royal parties. Enjoy the beautiful gardens & lake, woodland walks, amazing fountains - a magical world for children to explore.