Great Witley, Worcestershire Family History Guide

Great Witley is an Ancient Parish in the county of Worcestershire.

Other places in the parish include: Redmarley.

Parish church: St. Michael and All Angels

Parish registers begin: 1538

Nonconformists include: Wesleyan Methodist

Parishes adjacent to Great Witley

Historical Descriptions

The Imperial Gazetteer of England & Wales 1870

WITLEY (Great), a village, a parish, and a sub-district, in Martley district, Worcester. The village stands 5½ miles SW of Stourport r. station; is a seat of petty-sessions; and has a post-office under Stourport. The parish includes Redmarley hamlet, and comprises 2,633 acres. Rated property, £3,647. Pop., 445. Houses, 80. W. Court is the seat of the Earl of Dudley, and was recently enlarged and beautified. The Dowager Queen Adelaide resided here in 1843. An ancient camp is on Woodbury hill; and was held, for some weeks, by Owen Glendower, against the English. The living is a rectory in the diocese of Worcester. Value, £400. Patron, the Earl of Dudley. The church was recently restored. The sub-district contains 5 parishes and 2 parts. Acres, 13,299. Pop., 3,480. Houses, 746.

Source: The Imperial Gazetteer of England & Wales [Wilson, John M]. A. Fullarton & Co. N. d. c. [1870-72].

A Topographical Dictionary of England 1848

WITLEY, GREAT (St. Michael), a parish, in the union of Martley, Lower division of the hundred of Doddingtree, Hundred-House and W. divisions of the county of Worcester, 10½ miles (N. W. by N.) from Worcester; containing, with the hamlet of Redmarley, 381 inhabitants, of whom 325 are in the township of Great Witley. The parish is intersected by the roads from Worcester to Ludlow, and from Staffordshire into Herefordshire. It lies on the north-west border of the county, at the foot of a range of hills; and comprises 2433 acres, of which 565 are arable, 1623 meadow and pasture, and 195 woodland or coppice. Pure limestone is burnt for purposes of building and agriculture, and inferior limestone is quarried for the repair of roads. An abundant supply of water is obtained from the Abberley and Woodbury hills, which are composed of ferruginous or basaltic gravel. The springs which rise in the parsonage-grounds turn a mill at a distance of 300 yards, and never vary in the driest or wettest weather. On this account it has been conjectured that they may have a more remote source than the Abberley or Woodbury hills. Witley Court, the property of Lord Ward, is a spacious and elegant mansion, beautifully situated in a park which abounds with picturesque scenery, and of which a part, formerly belonging to a religious house, pays no tithes. The mansion was occupied by the Dowager Queen Adelaide from 1842 till 1845. Some of the females are employed in making gloves for the manufacturers of Worcester. The living is a rectory, valued in the king's books at £7. 6. 3., and in the gift of Lord Ward: the tithes have been commuted for £400, and the glebe contains 30 acres. The church, which adjoins Witley Court, is an elegant structure, erected in the early part of the last century, by the first Lord Foley and his widow, to the former of whom it contains a superb monument by Rysbrach: the painted windows are supposed to have been executed in Italy; they were brought from the chapel at Canons, when that princely mansion of the Duke of Chandos was taken down. Fossils of various descriptions are found in the pure limestone, and some bivalves in the argillaceous stratum. On the crown of Woodbury Hill are the remains of a British camp, comprising an area of 26 acres. It is supposed to have been the station occupied by Owen Glendower in his war with Henry IV., and Abberley Hill the station of the king, as several cannon-balls have been found imbedded in the former which appear of remote formation.

Source: A Topographical Dictionary of England by Samuel Lewis 1848

Worcestershire Delineated C. and J. Greenwood 1822

Witley, (Great) – a parish in the hundred of Doddingtree, lower division, 9 miles N.N.W. from Worcester, and 122 from London; containing 79 inhabited houses. The church is contiguous to the mansion-house of Lord Foley, from which there is an entrance out of the billiard room by a gallery, which is fitted up as a pew for the family. Over the fire place is a monumental tablet to the memory of Thomas Foley, Esq., who founded the charity school at Old-Swinford. This church is considered the most elegant of any one in the kingdom: the decorations were purchased at the sale at Canons, which took place after the death of the Duke of Chandos. The ceiling is a fine piece of workmanship, executed by Verrio, who painted the staircase at Windsor. The living is a rectory; Rev. W. A. Foley, incumbent; instituted 1820; patron, Lord Foley. Population, 1801, 425 – 1811, 414 – 1821, 354.

Witley Court, the seat of Lord Foley, stands at the foot of Woodbury-hill, in the midst of an extensive park, and consists of a centre and two projecting wings, built in a very superb and modern style of architecture, surrounded by young plantations judiciously arranged; it stands on the left of the road leading to Ludlow, 10 miles from Worcester.

Source: Worcestershire Delineated: Being a Topographical Description of Each Parish, Chapelry, Hamlet, &c. In the County; with the distances and bearings from their respective market towns, &c. By C. and J. Greenwood. Printed by T. Bensley, Crane Court, Fleet Street, London, 1822.

Universal British Directory 1791

Whitley, nine miles from Worcester, on the Ludlow road, is the elegant seat of the Right Hon. Lord Foley; its beauties, although derived from the arrangements of splendour and taste, without many local aids, cannot fail to attract our admiration. In the village resides Mr. Mann, Surgeon and Apothecary. The church, the admiration of the country, curiously built by the first Lord Foley, is very completely finished. The windows were painted by Price, in 1719; the ceilings by Verrio, and designed for the chapel at Canons; but, when the misfortune befell the magnificent Duke of Chandos, they were purchased by the second Lord Foley, and fit this church as well as if they had been originally designed for it. It is impossible to describe all the beauties of it; the paintings being nearly equal, though on a smaller scale, to those are Greenwich Hospital. The mansion is a handsome white structure, in the front of which are his lordship’s arms, carved. The inside decorations particularly merit our regard; the collection includes several valuable curiosities. Before the mansion is a large serpentine river, with bridges, taking its rise from Abberley-hill; beside which is a large pool of water. The park has every variety which a champaign country will admit of. The lodge, on an eminence, commands fine prospects, forming a most delightful sylvan scene. In this parish is Woobury-hill, corresponding with Abberley-hill, which at a near view, seems much higher and loftier. About two miles from Whitley is the hundred-house, which divides the counties of Worcester and Salop, and where the justices for the county hold their meetings.

Source: Universal British Directory 1791


Witley Great and Little Littleburys Directory 1905

Distances – 10 ½ miles NW of Worcester, 5½ SW of Stourport.
Postal Information – Post, Telegraph, Money Order and Savings’ Bank Office; Mrs. Selina Moule, Sub-Postmistress. Letters arrive from Stourport at 7.15 a.m. and 3.30 p.m.; despatched at 5.25 p.m. Post town, Stourport. Wall Letter-box at Hillhampton cleared at 5.15 p.m. week-days only.

Parish Church (St. Michael and All Angels) – Rev. Horace G. Monroe, M.A., Rector; Rev. F. W. Moore, B.A., Curate; J. M Baker and A. Young, Churchwardens. Harry Oakes, Organist.

Chapel of Ease, The Village – Services held on Sunday afternoons and evenings, Rev. Horace Monroe or his Curate officiates.

Elementary School (boys and girls) – William Wall, Head Master.

Great Whitey Institute – William Cooke, Hon. Sec.

St. Michael’s Chapel of Ease, Little Witley – Rev. H. Monroe, M.A., Rector; A. Weaver, Chapelwarden; J. Parsons, Organist.

Elementary School (boys and girls), Little Witley – C. W. Edmonds, Master.


Austen John, Hundred House Hotel, Great Witley, Private apartments for visitors. Posting in all its branches. C.T.C. quarters. Good stabling accommodation. Ales, wines, and spirits of the best quality.
Averill Leonard, farm ballet to the Earl of Dudley, Home farm.
Bache John, farmer and hop gr., Walsgrove
Baker John M., farmer, Dingle farm
Bartlett Charles H., White house
Bishop Fred., farmer, Well farm, Little Witley
Blackwell Edward, Hillhampton
Bride John B., forester to the Earl of Dudley
Carpenter John, cooper, Great Witley
Cocum John, blacksmith, Little Witley
Colebatch T., Bank farm, Great Witley
Cooke William, clerk of works to the Right Hon. The Earl of Dudley
Crane Richard, farmer, Little Witley
Dudley The Right Hon. Earl of, D.L., Witley Court
Edmonds C. W., schoolmaster, School house, Little Witley
Findlay James, Wulstans farm hill
Footman John, shoemaker, Little Witley
Fryer Mrs. A., superior furnished apartments, Rose cottage, Great Witley. Pleasantly situated close to Abberley and Woodbury hills. Visitors and cyclists specially catered for.
Fryer Edward, shoeing and general smith
Glover Percy Andrew, relieving officer and registrar of births and deaths
Goode Charles, farmer and dairyman
Goodwin A. W., tailor, assistant overseer and clerk to Parish Council, Great Witley
Green George, baker and grocer
Greensill Edward Samuel, surgeon
Limbrick H., haulier, Great Witley
Limbrick J., carpenter, Great Witley
Martin Elizabeth, Woodbury hill farm, Great Witley
Milton John, baker, &c.
Monroe Rev. Horace G., M.A. (rector), The Rectory
Moore Rev. F. W., B.A., Little Witley
Moss Joseph, farmer, Hillhampton
Moule Mrs. Selina, sub-postmistress and shopkeeper, Pots office
Mytton W. C., Park farm, Great Witley; res., Prickley
Presdee Walter, The Lodge, Little Witley
Proudman Garner Richard, farmer and hop grower, Redmarley farm
Proudman Robert A., farmer and hop grower, Hill house
Seale John, gamekeeper to the Earl of Dudley, Great Witley
Tolley Sarah, Easthope farm, Great Witley
Turner John, head gardener to F.W. Jones, Great Witley
Tyler Albert, Cottage farm, Great Witley
Wall William, head master of Elementary School, School house
Walters Sergeant J., Police station, Great Witley
Weaver Albert, farmer, Little Witley
Wheildon Joseph, Lippitt’s farm, Great Witley
White Alfred John, farmer, Little Witley
Young Arthur, head gardener to the Right Hon. The Earl of Dudley

Source: Littlebury’s Directory of Worcester & District. Tenth Edition. Printed and Published by Littlebury & Company, The Worcester Press, Worcester. 1905.

Great Witley (with the Hamlet of Redmarley) Billings Directory 1855

Great Witley village and Parish is delightfully situated 11 miles N.W. from Worcester, and 11 E.S.E. from Tenbury, halfway on the main turnpike road between those towns, and contained a population of 408 inhabitants in the year 1851; and Redmarley 48 inhabitants.

One of the chief objects of interest in this parish is the princely mansion of Witley Court, now the residence of Lord Ward, but previous to 1846 for some years the abode of the late Queen Dowager, whose numerous acts of benevolence and kindness will cause her name to be long remembered with feelings of lively gratitude by the poor of this neighbourhood. Witley Court was in the possession of the Foley family for about two centuries, and the late Lord Foley greatly improved the gardens, and made several new approaches. The Park consists of upwards of 400 acres, well stocked with deer, and studded with gigantic oaks, one of which (now in decay) measures 30 feet in circumference. Tradition also says that on the borders of this parish formerly stood the oak under which St. Augustine held a conference (A.D. 603) with the Bishops, relative to the proposed introduction of the Romish ceremonies into this country. Selden considers that it took place on the western borders of Worcestershire; but the site of this oak, like other points of ancient history, is disputed by many authors. Lingard says that the meeting was held at a place afterwards called Austin’s Oak, in Gloucestershire; Sir H. Spelman thinks that it stood at Alfrick; and Nash and others are of the opinion that the oak did not stand in this county at all.

This parish is said to have formed a portion of the territory of the Silures, over which the famed Caractacus ruled: and on the summit of Woodbury Hill is an ancient fortification, supposed to have been a British camp. That it was the scene of an engagement at a later epoch there can be no doubt; balls, some of them 7lbs weight, having been found buried in the hill, and one of which has been presented to the Worcestershire Natural History Society by the worthy Rector, in the museum of which society it may be seen.

The Church, dedicated to St. Michael, adjoins the mansion, from which it has a private entrance. The porch is of the Doric order, but the general style of decoration is Saracenic. It was built in the beginning of the last century, by the first Lord Foley. The interior is gorgeous in the extreme, with numerous paintings and gold panellings. The paintings, said to be Italian, were purchased by the second Lord Foley, from the celebrated Duke of Chandos, having been brought from the chapel at Cannons, when misfortune befell the noble Duke. The windows, painted by Price, represent the Annunciation, the Birth of Christ, Peter Walking on the Sea, the Resurrection, &c. We must not omit to mention the monument placed in the recess on the south side of the communion table, to the first Lord Foley and his lady; it is by Rysbrach, and is generally considered to be one of his best productions, the proportions of both figures being perfect. Taken as a whole this church is one of the most magnificent in the county. The living is a Rectory, in the patronage of Lord Ward. Rev. Thomas Pearson, Rector; Rev. Thomas Morgan, M.A., Curate; Miss Emma Holmes, Organist; Mr. Thomas Brooks, Clerk. Service – 11 a.m. and 3 p.m.

Great Witley Parochial Schools were erected by Lord Ward, for the education of the children of Great Witley, Shelsley Beauchamp, and Hillhampton. These school are principally supported by Lord Ward and the Rev. Thomas Pearson, and are for the instruction of both sexes. Mary Giles, Mistress. Number of scholars, 50.

The Monthly Petty Sessions are held at the Hundred House, in this parish, on the last Thursday in every month.


Hornblower The Misses
Morgan Rev. Thomas, M.A., Curate
Pearson Rev. Thomas, Rector, Rectory
Ward The Right Honourable Lord, Witley Court
Arthur John, victualler, farmer, maltster, and hop merchant, Hundred House family and commercial hotel and posting house, licensed to let flies, phaetons, and post horses
Attwood George, Police Officer, Police Station
Beeson Joseph Hill, farmer and butcher
Brooks Thomas, Parish Clerk
Cadwalladar Thomas, farmer, The Farm
Davis John, wheelwright and carpenter
Goodwin William, tailor and woollen draper, and Constable for Great Witley
Greensill and Barnett Messrs., surgeons
Hillman Thomas Henry, farmer, Hill House; also of the Yelds
Hooper Ann, shopkeeper and Sub-Postmistress
Horton Sarah, farmer, Redmarley
Knowles Thomas, shopkeeper and road surveyor
Lander John, gardener to Lord Ward
MacQuie James, bailiff to Lord Ward
Morris Joseph, miller, Witley Mill
Norman John, shoe maker
Parrock William, baker and shopkeeper
Piper Elizabeth, blacksmith, Witley Cottage
Potter Sarah, farmer, Fox Hold
Southall Thomas, farmer, Walsgrove
Taylor Sarah, Superintendent of Police, Police Station

Post Office – Miss Ann Hooper, Sub-Postmistress. Arrival, 9 15 a.m.; despatch, 4 p.m.
The Ludlow and Worcester Coach runs through this parish daily, to Worcester, at 10 15 a.m., and returns to Ludlow at 4 p.m.

Source: Billings Directory of Worcestershire 1855 

Great Witley Lewis Worcestershire Directory 1820

Whitley Great, 10 miles from Worcester containing 73 houses, and 425 inhabitants.
Bunce Thos. & Jos. vict. Hundred House

Church John, gent.
Foley Rt. Hon. Lord
Griffiths John, farmer
Horton J. butcher
Mann Prett, surgeon
Mills James, farmer
Palmer James, shopkeeper
Pratt Jane, gent.
Rickards James, gent.
Rowley Thomas, farmer
Smith Thomas, farmer
Southall Eliz. farmer
White James, farmer
White Catharine, gent.

Source: S Lewis Worcestershire General and Commercial Directory for 1820.


  • County: Worcestershire
  • Civil Registration District: Martley
  • Probate Court: Court of the Bishop of Worcester (Episcopal Consistory)
  • Diocese: Worcester
  • Rural Deanery: Worcester
  • Poor Law Union: Martley
  • Hundred: Doddingtree
  • Province: Canterbury