Skip to content

The Big MEND project at Wightwick Manor

A view of the outside of the Great Parlour stained glass windows from ground level. The scaffolding as part of the MEND project at Wightwick Manor can be seen on the building on the right.
The Big MEND Project at Wightwick Manor | © National Trust/Rachael Parry

A three-year conservation project to repair and restore the Grade I listed Wightwick Manor, ensuring its preservation for future generations to enjoy. Find out more about The Big MEND project.

Wightwick Manor was built and furnished according to the Arts & Crafts ideals; it dates from 1887-8, with a later extension in 1893. It is recognised as an important example of the architecture and design of the later 19th century, containing much work by the leading designers of the day and is one of only a few such houses.

How the project started

Wightwick Manor's significance comes from its interior equally as its exterior. The iconic & ornate timber frame however is not structural, but instead superficial and allowing for high decorative features. The facades also contain rich decorative bay windows, chimneys, stained glass, bargeboards and stonework.

After more than 125 years, the frame is showing signs of deterioration due to age and weathering and the timber is losing its integrity. This is resulting in movement of the frame, the plaster infill panels becoming loose, oak pegs falling out and window frames requiring repair.

Our project aims

By the end of 2026, The Big MEND project aims to:

  • Repair the timber framework
  • Remove moss and plant growth
  • Reinstate lead flashing
  • Repair sills and frames to oak windows
  • Repairs & repointing to chimneys and rain water goods
  • Repair Porch to Upper Hall
  • Stripping & relaying of roof slopes
  • Repair weathervane & regild compass letters

This work will be phased over three years, between 2023/24 to 2025/26.

Wightwick Manor's roof, window and chimney
The east side of Wightwick Manor | © National Trust / Lindsey Bucknor


We’re delighted to have been awarded a grant from Arts Council England, on behalf of the Department for Culture, Media and Sport, to allow this extensive repair work to get underway.

This Museum Estate & Development (MEND) Fund is for a total of £658,260, which will go towards the repairs to the exteriors at Wightwick, and also inspires the project’s name, ‘The Big MEND’.

The National Trust is contributing £139,320, taking the total project cost to just under £800,000.

A view of the intricate oak and plaster framework of Wightwick Manor, with a decorated rainwater pipe on the right has side. Some of the plaster work is damaged or missing and awaiting repair.
Damaged plaster on the timber frame. | © National Trust/Lindsey Bucknor

Adapting to climate change

The cast iron gutters and downpipes on the 1887 parts of the house require repair and need modifying from their smaller form (as was per the fashion of the late 19th century) to larger and deeper ones, in order to enlarge their capacity to cope with increased rainfall and volume of water caused by climate change.

Other significant projects

Over the next few years, you will also see more repairs and improvement works on other aspects of Wightwick Manor and Garden's built heritage. These include:

  • Repairs and redecoration to the historic Peach House in the Kitchen Garden
  • Removal, repair and reinstatement of the War Memorials
  • Structural repairs to the Mathematical Bridge and reopening of the Bridge Garden
  • Continuation of our accessible paths project after the successful installation of the Formal Rose Garden link path in 2023

How will the Big MEND project affect your visit?

We are now busy preparing for Phase 2 which will to start in March 2024, with the erection of the scaffolding on the south front of the Manor, with building work commencing after the Easter Holidays.

The majority of the work will focus on the Great Parlour and the frames of the stained glass windows, but there will also be some scaffolding near the front door of the Manor. There may be some limited areas of the garden roped off to allow for the safe installation of the scaffold.

To facilitate these works, we'll briefly close the Great Parlour and Billiard Room. Fear not though, as the rest of the Manor will remain open and visitors can peek into the Great Parlour, providing a unique opportunity to witness the restoration process in action.

When the Great Parlour reopens as the work continues, visitors will gain unprecedented access to the intricacies of building and collection care. Some of the restored stained glass windows will be displayed in the Great Parlour at eye-level, providing a unique perspective on Charles Eamer Kempe's craftsmanship.

As part of our commitment to preserving our artistic treasures, some key artworks, such as Edward Burne-Jones' 'Love Among the Ruins' and G.F. Watts' 'Mrs Nassau Senior (Jane Hughes),' will be safeguarded off-site until January 2025. 'Love Among the Ruins' embarks on a journey to Italy for the ‘Pre Raphaelites: A Modern Renaissance’ exhibition, before being shown at Upton House NT. 'Mrs Nassau Senior' will have a temporary home at the Watts Gallery in Surrey. Other artworks and furniture will be moved to other areas of the Manor for safe storage or temporary re-display.

This phase of the project emphasizes both structural improvements and the opportunity for visitors to witness the care and preservation of the Manor's heritage. We invite the community to join us in this journey as we enhance and protect our historic gem. Thank you for your support during this exciting project.

If you have any questions about the work during your visit, team members will be on hand to answer. Alternatively, you can email the office on

The Big MEND project timeline

January 2024

Next Steps

We are now busy preparing for Phase 2, which we aim to start in April, working around the Easter Holidays. Phase 2 will see repairs to the stained glass windows in the Great Parlour, which will bring some interesting challenges. We plan to close some areas of the Manor whilst we remove collection items and install protection and scaffold, otherwise everything will remain as normal (and open) whilst the project continues. 

A view from the outside of the Manor of the stained glass windows in the bay of the Great Parlour, taken from atop the scaffolding next to this area. The sun is shining on the glass. picking out some of the colourful details.
The stained glass windows in the Great Parlour | © National Trust/Libby Taylor

Our partners


Arts Council England is the national development agency for creativity and culture. Supporting the arts sector with funding from Government and the National Lottery.

Visit website 

Looking over the hedges and sun dial on the thimbles lawn at Wightwick, the Manor can be seen in the spring sun at the top of the South Terrace in the distance.

Wightwick Manor and Gardens 

Paint, Politics and Pre-Raphaelite Artists

Wolverhampton, West Midlands

Fully open today
The Malthouse Gallery at Wightwick Manor and Gardens, West Midlands

The De Morgan Gallery at Wightwick 

Visit the De Morgan Gallery, a partnership with the De Morgan Foundation. ‘Look Beneath the Lustre’ looks at how Evelyn and William De Morgan were inspired to create art.

A view of Wightwick Manor's south terrace with pink magnolia tree in the foreground.

The garden at Wightwick 

The garden at Wightwick is the perfect place for a walk after enjoying the delights of the house. Designed by Thomas Mawson, today it has something to see no matter what the season.