At first sight one sees Witley Court as a Grand Italinate Mansion, a product solely of the Victorian era, and complete and magnificent on its hilltop site. It is only on closer inspection that it can be seen to be only an amazing ghost of the luxurious lifestyle that was lived here in its final years’ evidenced by a surviving series of early photographs of the interiors. Closer inspection of the interior of the fire gutted interior also reveals traces of a house that has gone through many changes since the original building, already here to be recorded in the Doomsday Book. As with many of Britain’s great houses, its history and the wealth that produced what we can enjoy today, was made in the ‘Satanic Mills’ of the industrial revolution, coal, steel, canals, railways and the Empire. The gardens in particular the famous ‘Perseus and Andromeda’ fountain, and beautiful Baroque styled church are also well worth seeing.
Abberly Hall, like Witley Court has, in various guises been around for a long time – since the middle ages in this case. It is also Italianate in design, it burnt down, and its present form is mostly due to wealth derived from the industrial revolution, in this case cotton. Unlike Witley, Abberly Hall has passed through several families but its Victorian recreation has mostly survived, partially by becoming a school in 1916 (which it still is). The present house was built in 1845. Forty years on the interiors were refashioned and much of this refashioning remains today making this particularly interesting, as one of the best preserved Victorian interiors in the country. We can also climb the landmark 1880’s clock tower from which spectacular views can be had - over seven counties on a clear day.
Cost £65 members, £70 non-members.
English Heritage Members pay £6 less which is £59 member, £64 non-members. You will need your English Heritage card on the day.
This price includes: entry and guide to Witley Court, Witley Church Crypt and Abberley Hall; coffee, light lunch and tea, and transport.
Maximum 20 places available. 16 in Mini-Coach and 4 by car.
Date 18 June 2019, gather at Yateley Road from 8.30am for 8.45am departure and return approximately 5.30pm.