SO7664 : The Perseus and Andromeda Fountain

taken 1 year ago, near to Great Witley, Worcestershire, Great Britain

The Perseus and Andromeda Fountain
The Perseus and Andromeda Fountain
The Perseus and Andromeda Fountain playing in the grounds of Witley Court. The fountain is fed from a reservoir in the Abberley Hills above Witley Court. The fountain is capable of rising 100 feet. This Grade I listed fountain was created by James Forsyth around 1860 for Lord Ward, the first Earl of Dudley. See: LinkExternal link
Witley Court and the Perseus and Andromeda Fountain
Witley Court was the home of the Foley family from 1655 for almost two centuries, this family’s wealth was founded on the iron industry. Originally Witley had been a medieval manor house but by the time the Foleys arrived it had become a substantial Jacobean mansion.

Beginning their business with the manufacture of nails, they gradually abandoned their industrial base which had brought them wealth and became landed aristocrats and politicians. In the early 18th century the house was enlarged for the 1st Baron Foley (1673–1733).

As so often happened with such families, by the early 19th century the family’s wealth had declined. However, through an advantageous marriage Thomas Foley VII (1780–1833) was able to commission John Nash to undertake ambitious alterations to Witley. Included among the changes were the addition of two massive porticos to the north and south fronts.

Witley Court and its estate was sold by the Foleys in 1833 to the trustees of William Ward (1817–85). Though young, William Ward was one of the richest men in England, and like the Foleys before him, his wealth came from industry; he was the owner of more than 200 Black Country coal mines. It was during this time, when William Ward was living at the family home of Himley Hall near Stourbridge, that Witley Court was let, and between 1843-6 was the home of Queen Adelaide, widow of King William IV.

By the 1850s Witley Court was at its peak of grandeur. William Ward had been given the title the 1st Earl of Dudley, and he commissioned the architect Samuel Daukes to remodel the house. Inspired by Osborne House on the Isle of Wight, the home of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert, Witley Court was remodelled in an ornate Italianate style. These alterations were largely complete by 1860. During the late 19th century lavish parties were held at Witley Court with the Prince of Wales (later King Edward VII) and his circle in regular attendance.

It was during this time that the ornate formal gardens were designed by William Andrews Nesfield, a leading garden designer of the day. Nesfield described the gardens at Witley Court as his ‘monster work’. His work included the grand formal parterres and the impressive Perseus and Andromeda fountain which was designed by James Forsyth. When playing the main fountain can rise up to 100 feet.

The House was again sold in 1920; again it was bought by an industrialist, this time Sir Herbert Smith, a carpet manufacturer from Kidderminster. On the night of 7 September 1937, a fire began in the servants’ rooms in the south-east corner of the great house. A strong wind fanned the fire and it spread rapidly downwards into the reception rooms on the main floor. By the next day, much of the house was a smouldering shell.
The west side of the house was unaffected, but the then owner, Sir Herbert Smith, decided not to restore the damaged wing and put the estate up for sale. The house was never lived in again and much of the remainder worth salvaging was stripped and sold off.

Witley Court is now in the care of English Heritage who have undertaken restoration of the gardens including the south and east parterres. Of particular interest is the Perseus and Andromeda fountain which has been restored to working order.
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SO7664, 144 images   (more nearby )
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Date Taken
Monday, 16 April, 2018   (more nearby)
Saturday, 21 April, 2018
Geographical Context
Historic sites and artefacts  Park and Public Gardens 
Primary Subject of Photo
Subject Location
OSGB36: geotagged! SO 7695 6482 [10m precision]
WGS84: 52:16.8621N 2:20.3574W
Camera Location
OSGB36: geotagged! SO 7695 6481
View Direction
NORTH (about 0 degrees)
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Other Tags
Perseus and Andromeda Fountain  Fountain  Grade I Listed 

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Image Type (about): close look 
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