The History of Dudley
Dudley has its origins in the Anglo-Saxon 'Duddah's leah' which translates as 'woodland clearing owned, or lived in, by Duddah'. Duddah or Dud, depending on the version, is believed to be the Saxon lord behind the construction around 700AD, of a wooden castle on the site of today's ruinous remains.
Until 1928 these came outside the boundaries of Dudley and were formerly in Staffordshire. As previously mentioned, it is believed a wooden castle was the first construct followed in the twelfth century by a more impressive castle of stone.
The original barons were Norman: Fitz Ansculf and Paganel, and it was Gervase Paganel who founded the Cluniac Priory of St James around 1160-80 whose remains we see today. In the Middle Ages the Sutton family inherited the title and estate of Lord Dudley, hence the name change, and thereby setting in motion a number of historical connections.
One relative Robert Dudley, Earl of Leicester, was a particular favourite of Elizabeth I. And it was John Dudley, Duke of Northumberland, who besides overseeing the renovation of considerable portions of the castle, married his son Guildford to the teenage Lady Jane Grey in a bid to prevent Mary Tudor from becoming queen; this unwise move resulted in the young couples' beheading and also his own in 1553.
Photos of Dudley Castle
Opened in 1938, the zoo is set in fifty acres of parkland surrounding the remains of Dudley Castle. It is home to more than two hundred species and heads a prestigious conservation programme. Percy Shakespeare (1906-43) a local artist killed by a bomb during World War II, used the zoo as a subject for one of his most famous works: 'Bird Cage at the Zoo.'
Dudley's stake in the iron trade was a considerable with John Wilkinson constructing the magnificent feat of Ironbridge on the River Severn in 1779. Nails made in Dudley were used in the building of Nonesuch Palace and Hampton Court, and one of the best known families in the trade were Foley's. Thomas Foley was a close friend of diarist Samuel Pepys and is mentioned several times.
Made by N Hingle and Sons Ltd of Netherton and taken by train from Dudley in 1911 to its final destination as part of the doomed vessel this anchor, at sixteen tons, was the largest in the world. Castings and patent still survive.
The industry dates back to the seventeenth century when gentlemen glassmakers from Lorraine settled in the area attracted by Black Country resources of clay and coal used in their melting pots. World Famous names surviving, and flourishing, today include Royal Brierly Crystal, Royal Doulton and Stuart Crystal.
Presents a celebration of this local industry with examples dating as far back as Roman times.
The Red House Glass Cone
Occupies the same site as Stuart Crystal and it's one hundred foot cone was part of the original glass works and is one of only four remaining in the country.
Photos of Dudley and the Black Country Living Museum