About this church
The church was built in 1735 by the widow of the 1st Lord Foley, Lady Mary, who died before it was consecrated and her son, the 2nd Lord Foley, continued with the completion of the church including the memorial monument sculpted by Michael Rysbrack and dedicated to his parents and their five children who predeceased them.
Since 1747 the church has displayed 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 which depict biblical scenes, and an impressive gilded organ soaring to the ceiling. During the 19th century the 1st Earl of Dudley replaced the pews, pulpit and font with ones by William and James Forsyth and installed a marble floor and heating. In 1913 the sanctuary was refurbished with gold mosaic reredos, silver sanctuary lamps, and a fine embroidered 18th century altar hanging.
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 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.
Lady Dudley’s private gardens now provide a tranquil setting for the Garden Tearooms.