NOTE: There are two villages named Cradley in the Midlands of England; the "other" Cradley lies about 30 miles to the southwest, near to the Malvern Hills, but just across the county boundary in Herefordshire.
Cradley is a village in the Black Country and Metropolitan Borough of Dudley; near Halesowen and the banks of the River Stour. Cradley was part of the ancient parish of Halesowen, but (unlike much of the rest of that parish, which was an exclave of Shropshire) was always in Worcestershire, until the creation of the West Midlands County in 1974. This meant that for civil administrative purposes, Cradley formerly had the officers which a parish would have had (in other words, it was an independent parish).
Although Cradley was historically a village in its own right, increasing residential development during the first half of the 20th century has seen it swallowed up into Halesowen so it became not only part of the Halesowen Borough, but also part of the town of Halesowen. Cradley's old High Street is located along what is now known as Colley Lane.
In the 19th century a new settlement grew up in heathland on the other side of the River Stour, and became known as Cradley Heath. This was in the ancient parish of Rowley Regis. Previously the residents of Cradley had the right to graze their animals on that heath, subject to a small annual payment to the lord of the manor.