Place:Dudley, Worcestershire, England

Watchers
NameDudley
TypeBorough (county)
Coordinates52.5°N 2.083°W
Located inWorcestershire, England     (1865 - 1966)
Also located inStaffordshire, England     (1966 - 1974)
West Midlands, England     (1974 - )
See alsoDudley Metropolitan Borough, West Midlands, Englandmetropolitan borough of which the town of Dudley is the principal community
source: Getty Thesaurus of Geographic Names
source: Family History Library Catalog
the following text is based on an article in Wikipedia

Dudley has been since 1974 a large town in the county of the West Midlands in England. It is located 6 miles (9.7 km) south-east of Wolverhampton and 8 miles (13 km) north-west of Birmingham. The town is the administrative centre of the Metropolitan Borough of Dudley and in 2011 had a population of 79,379. However, this figure excludes areas such as Sedgley and Gornall which under previous methodology were included in the town. The Dudley urban sub-division up area has a population of 194,919, while the wider metropolitan borough has a population of 312,900 (see Demography in the Wikipedia article). Dudley is sometimes called the capital of the Black Country.

The metropolitan borough also includes the towns of Stourbridge, Halesowen and Brierley Hill These towns build the Dudley Borough population up to 312,925 (2011 UK census).

For many years the town (but not the castle, which was outside the boundary in Staffordshire) formed part of an exclave of the county of Worcestershire. The change to include Dudley in Staffordshire only occurred in 1966. Wikipedia includes a map of 1814 illustrating the placement of the county border at that time. Despite the more recent changes in county boundaries, the town and borough still remain part of the Anglican Diocese of Worcester. There are further notes on Dudley Castle below.

Contents

History

the following text is a condensation of an article in Wikipedia

Period of the Middle Ages

Dudley Castle, constructed in 1070 by Ansculf de Picquigny after his acquisition of the town, served as the seat of the extensive Barony of Dudley, which possessed estates in eleven different counties across England.

The town was attacked by King Stephen in 1138, after a failed siege of the castle following the Baron's decision to support Empress Matilda's claim to the throne during The Anarchy.

The castle provided the centre from which the town and borough grew, with early coal and iron workings helping establish Dudley as a major market town during the Middle Ages, selling not only agricultural produce, but also iron goods at a national level. Working iron and mining for coal was in practice as early as the 13th century. The first mention of Dudley's status as a borough dates from the mid-13th century, when Roger de Somery, then Baron of Dudley, approved of the establishment of a market in nearby Wolverhampton. An inquisition after his death further established the value and importance of the borough, with mentions to the town's growing coal industry.

Early modern and Industrial Revolution

By the early 16th century the Dudley estate, now held by the Sutton family, had become severely in debt, and was first mortgaged to distant relative John Dudley, Duke of Northumberland, before being sold outright in 1535. Following Dudley's death, the estate returned to the Sutton family, during which time the town was visited by Queen Elizabeth during a tour of England.

In 1605, conspirators of the Gunpowder Plot fled to Holbeche House in nearby Wall Heath, where they were defeated and captured by the forces of the Sheriff of Worcestershire.

During the English Civil War Dudley served as a Royalist stronghold, with the castle besieged twice by the Parliamentarians and later partly demolished on the orders of the Government after the Royalist surrender.

Dudley had become an incredibly impoverished place during the 16th and 17th centuries, but the advent of the Industrial Revolution began to reverse this trend. In the early 17th century, Dud Dudley, an illegitimate son of Edward Sutton, 5th Baron Dudley, devised a method of smelting iron ore using coke at his father's works in Cradley and Pensnett Chase, though his trade was unsuccessful due to circumstances of the time. His techniques were later refined by his distant relative Abraham Darby, who established his works in Coalbrookdale, Shropshire.

Dud Dudley's discovery, together with improvements to the local road network and the construction of the Dudley Canal between 1779 and 1792, made Dudley into an important industrial and commercial centre. The first Newcomen steam engine, used to pump water from the mines of the Lord Dudley's estates, was installed at the Conygree coal works a mile east of Dudley Castle in 1712. This is challenged by Wolverhampton, which also claims to have been the location of the first working Newcomen engine.

Dudley's population grew dramatically during the 18th and 19th centuries because of the increase in industry, with the main industries including coal and limestone mining. Other industries included iron, steel, engineering, metallurgy, glass cutting, textiles and leatherworking.

19th and 20th centuries

During this time living conditions remained incredibly poor, with Dudley being named 'the most unhealthy place in the country', which led to the installation of clean water supplies and sewage systems, and later the extensive development of council housing during the early 20th century to relocate the occupants of local slum housing.

The town was re-incorporated as a Municipal Borough in 1865, later becoming a County Borough in 1889.

Following parliamentary reforms in 1966, Dudley was expanded to include the majority of the former urban districts of Brierley Hill and Sedgley, along with parts of Coseley, Amblecote and Rowley Regis; an area in the eastern section of the town was also transferred into the new borough of Warley. At this time Dudley commenced its 8-year sojourn in Staffordshire before transferring to the West Midlands in 1974.

In 1974, further reorganization led to the creation of the present-day Dudley Metropolitan Borough, which included the nearby towns of Stourbridge and Halesowen.

Dudley Castle

the text in this section is copied from an article in Wikipedia

Dudley Castle is a ruined castle in the town of Dudley, West Midlands, England. Dudley Zoo is located in its grounds. The location, Castle Hill, is an outcrop of Wenlock Group limestone that was extensively quarried during the Industrial Revolution, and which now along with Wren's Nest Hill is a Scheduled Ancient Monument as the best surviving remains of the limestone industry in Dudley. It is also a Grade I listed building. The Dudley Tunnel runs beneath Castle Hill, but not the castle itself.

Quoting from Wikipedia

In 1889, the extra-parochial place of Dudley Castle, formerly in Worcestershire, became a detached part of Staffordshire, surrounded by the county borough of Dudley, itself a detached part of Worcestershire. In 1894, [on the establishment of rural districts], the area became the only parish in Dudley Rural District. In 1929, it was absorbed by the civil parish and county borough of Dudley, Worcestershire.

Dudley Castle Hill was also considered to be part of Dudley Rural District.

This page uses content from the English Wikipedia. The original content was at List of county exclaves in England and Wales 1844–1974. The list of authors can be seen in the page history. As with WeRelate, the content of Wikipedia is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.
This page uses content from the English Wikipedia. The original content was at Dudley Castle. The list of authors can be seen in the page history. As with WeRelate, the content of Wikipedia is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

Local Archives

Dudley Archives and Local History This is a dead link.

Research Tips

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This page uses content from the English Wikipedia. The original content was at Dudley. The list of authors can be seen in the page history. As with WeRelate, the content of Wikipedia is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.