Worcestershire Places of Worship

St Michael & All Angels, Great Witley (1) (32k) St Michael & All Angels, Great Witley (2) (37k) St Michael & All Angels, Great Witley (3) (37k) St Michael & All Angels, Great Witley (4) (38k) St Michael & All Angels, Great Witley (5) (30k) St Michael & All Angels, Great Witley (6) (37k) Above Photograph(s)
Copyright of Rosemary Lockie
St Michael & All Angels, Great Witley
St Michael & All Angels,
Great Witley, Worcestershire.


This Church had a graveyard.

Note: any church within an urban environment may have had its graveyard closed after the Burial Act of 1853. Any new church built after that is unlikely to have had a graveyard at all.

Church History

This Place of Worship was founded in the 13th century, though it is now closed, but we don't yet know when.

The following information about the Church has been provided to accompany the photographs on the right. A list of people who have supplied the information is included in the Acknowledgements, below.

[Image 1] The present Great Witley Church was built by Lady Foley following the death of her husband, the first Lord Foley, in 1733. The 13th century building it replaced was demolished, and an avenue of yew trees is now growing close to where it once stood.

The interior of Lady Foley's Church is understood to have been plain with a flat ceiling, plain windows and walls, box pews, and a high pulpit with a sounding board above. It was transformed by the second Lord Foley, when he acquired the contents of Cannons Chapel (Edgeware, Middlesex), from the estate of the Duke of Chandos, following his financial ruin after the collapse of the South Sea Company (the so called “South Sea Bubble”) in 1720.[1]

[Image 2] Great Witley Church may be described as ‘Baroque’ and is understood to be unique. Internally it more closely ressembles a stately home than a conventional English church!

The gilded stucco designs were created by Giovanni Bagutti, for the Duke of Chandos's Chapel at Cannons Palace (Edgeware, Middlesex). He had also created designs for Castle Howard in Yorkshire and St Martin in the Fields, London. However when Lord Foley bought the Chapel's contents for Great Witley, the original plasterwork was replaced by papier-mâché moulds, so a much lighter ceiling was created.

Notable also are its wonderful stained glass/enamelled windows, which appeared to admit sunlight even on the cloudy day of our visit, and its ceiling paintings. A mirror is thoughtfully provided below, for viewing the centre one of The Ascension.

This view is from the west gallery.[1]

[Image 3] This view of the interior shows the organ and west gallery.[1]

[Image 4] This painting is on the ceiling of the Church and may be viewed from below by a mirror, although this image was taken without using the mirror! The artist was the Italian Antonio Bellucci (1654-1726) and the painting is oil on canvas. It is one of several which had been commissioned by the Duke of Chandos for his Chapel in Cannons Palace (near Edgeware, Middlesex); they were purchased for Great Witley Church by the 2nd Lord Foley in 1747 following the Duke's loss of fortune.

Other paintings in the collection are of The Nativity, and Descent from the Cross, and ten smaller paintings of groups of cherubs, and there are other small paintings in the lunettes above the windows.[1]

[Image 5] This monument was designed and carved by Michael Rysbrack, a Dutch sculptor born in Antwerp in 1694. He also produced monuments of the Duke of Marlborough at Blenheim Palace, and Isaac Newton in Westminster Abbey. It commemorates Thomas Lord Foley, Baron of Kidderminster, and his family. The monument was commissioned by Lady Foley in 1735, 2 years after Lord Foley's death, at a cost of £2,000; it is contemporary with the church building, which was consecrated the same year. It is one of the tallest in the country, and depicts Lord Foley, his wife and 5 children who predeceased them. The inscriptions are in latin.[1]

[Image 6] This window represents the Worship of the Golden Calf, and is one of ten windows produced by Joshua Price in 1719-21, from designs by an Italian artist. The other 9 windows depict scenes from the life of Christ, the first being The Annunciation and the last the Disciples at Emmaus. The combination of stained glass with the golds and blues of the enamel painting gives an appearance of sunlight streaming into the church. Like the ceiling paintings they were purchased by the 2nd Lord Foley from the Duke of Chandos.[1]


Now or formerly Church of England.

If more than one congregation has worshipped here, or its congregation has united with others, in most cases this will record its original dedication.


This Church was located in the town/village nearest OS grid reference SO750660. You can see this on various mapping systems. Note all links open in a new window:


I have found many websites of use whilst compiling the information for this database. Here are some which deserve mention as being of special interest for Great Witley, and perhaps to Local History and Places of Worship as a whole.

The above links were selected and reviewed at the time I prepared the information, but please be aware their content may vary, or disappear entirely. These factors are outside my control.


A special thanks to the following people who have contributed information for this web page:

1. Information provided by Rosemary Lockie.

Information last updated on 3 Feb 2011 at 00:00.

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This Report was created 11 Jan 2021 - 01:47:54 GMT from information held in the Worcestershire section of the Places of Worship Database. This was last updated on 7 Feb 2019 at 12:48.

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