Although most of what we see today is the remains of a mid-19th century country house, designed in the ornate Italianate style reminiscent of Queen Victoria’s Osborne House on the Isle of Wight, the history of Witley dates back to the medieval period.
At it’s height in the late Victorian period, Witley Court was the setting for lavish parties hosted by it’s owner Lord Dudley and attended by the Prince of Wales (later King Edward VII).
After the First World War, the declining fortunes of the Dudley’s resulted in Witley Court’s sale to a local manufacturer and business man, Sir Herbert Smith. However, Sir Herbert could do little more than maintain and manage the property. Therefore Witley’s opulent past was already a distant memory by the night of the devasting fire on 7th September 1937, which gutted the interiors and left the house a shell of brick and stone.
© Mark Simms Photography (2023)