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Dudley, Worcestershire Family History Guide

Parishes in Dudley

Historical Descriptions

The Parliamentary Gazetteer of England and Wales 1851

Dudley, a borough, market-town, and parish in the hund. of Halfshire, union of Dudley, county of Worcester, though locally situated in Staffordshire; 119 milis north-west of London, 26 miles north-north-east of Worcester, and 8½ west-north west of Birmingham. The Dudley canal proceeds from the Worcester and Birmingham canal, about 4 miles south of Birmingham, and joins the Staffordshire and Worcestershire canal a little west of Stourbridge. Its whole course is 13 miles; and in this short distance, it passes under 3 tunnels, the aggregate length of which is considerably more than 4 miles. About a mile north of Stourbridge, a branch goes to that town. The town was originally comprised in one long street, with a church at each end; but several other wide and well-paved streets have been added, containing some very good houses. They are lighted at night with gas. North of the town, on an elevated hill, are the extensive remains of an ancient castle, from the top of the lofty tower of which, the prospect, in walking round it, is singularly beautiful, and so extensive, that, on a clear day, the eye may discern the counties of Worcester, Stafford, Derby, Leicester, Warwick, Salop, Hereford, and part of Wales. Nor is the prospect more extensive than full of variety, comprising hills and dales, woods and villages, populous towns and busy seats of manufacture. The stupendous hills of Malvern, though at the distance of about forty miles, bounding the horizon towards the south, are noble features in the scene; as are also those of Clent, Abberley, the Cleys, and the Wrekin. To the west of the castle, stand the venerable ruins of Dudley-priory. Acres 3,930. Houses 4,326. A.P. £20.833. Pop., in 1801, 10,107; in 1831, 23,043.
Living, a vicarage, with St. Edmund's chapel, in the archd. and dio. of Worcester; rated at £7 18s. 6½d. , gross income £615. Patron, in 1835, Lord Ward. The church was rebuilt in 1819. It is a fine edifice. Two chapels connected with the establishment have been recently built. Here are an Independent church, formed in 1788; a Baptist, in 1776; a Presbyterian, in 1704; a Wesleyan Methodist, in 1788; one of the New Connexion, in 1829; a Friends' meeting house; a Unitarian and a Roman Catholic cbapel. The Baptist and Independent chapels are licensed under the new marriage act. A new and spacious Independent chapel was opened on 9th August, 1840: it accommodates 1,400 persons; and cost about £3,500. There are 250 free sittings. Here are also 23 daily and 18 Sunday schools, including 1 school connected with the British and Foreign school society, and 3 Sunday and daily National schools. The free grammar-school, Baylie's charity-school, the blue-coat school, the female school of industry, and Mrs. Cartwright's school for 40 poor girls, are all endowed schools.
The grammar-school was established by an inquisition under a commission of charitable uses in 1638, on a previous foundation by grant from Queen Elizabeth, aided by other donations. The income of this school, in 1790. hardly amounted to £50 per annum; in 1822, it amounted to £199 8s. 6d.; and, in 1832, to £368 18s. 5d. The master's salary was fixed, in 1830, at £240. In 1806. a new school-house was built, which was occupied till 1826, when the walls cracked and the foundations gave way, — the house having been built on ground under which mines had been worked: the recent workings had also drained away the water with which the house was supplied. The school was of course removed to a safer locality. It is open to all the boys of parishioners of Dudley, for instruction in the classics, so soon as they can read English. The average number of scholars on the foundation, in 1832, was 37. They were sons of the most respectable inhabitants: several have gone to the universities. Baylie's charity-school was founded in 1732, for instructing and clothing 50 poor boys “out of the parishes of the Town and Foreign of Dudley.” The income of this charity, in 1832, was £455 7s. 6d. A new school, consisting of one lofty room, capable of containing 250 boys, was built in 1827. There were between 230 and 240 boys in the school, all supplied with books and stationery, and instructed on the Lancasterian system; 50 boys were annually clothed with caps, coats, and breeches, &c, at an expense of about £2 each. The master's salary was £100, with £50 to a treasurer and superintendant. A Presbyterian chapel was vested in the trustees, for purposes connected with this charity. A school of industry for girls, under the management of the trustees for the chapel, but entirely supported by voluntary contribution, was built at an expense of £500, derived from the funds of this charity. The blue-coat school was founded in 1706, by subscription, for the instruction of 50 boys, children of the poor of Dudley: most of them received clothing in 1707. Endowments followed, and, in 1832, the income of this charity was £482 6s. 6d. The school-house originally occupied by the children of this charity, was also undermined; and, about the year 1812, they were removed to an enlarged building in Fisher-street, in the lower room of which the boys' blue-coat school, and in the higher, the girls' school of industry was held in 1832, when the charity commissioners visited Dudley. The boys, 241 in number, were taught on the Madras system, and 100 of them annually clothed, at Easter, in blue, with numbered badges, the clothes being chiefly made, and the stockings knit, by the girls of the school of industry. In 1821, the trustees established an infant school: 114 boys and 22 girls were taught in this school in 1832: at 7 years of age they are transferred to the blue-coat school, and the school of industry. Schools for the instruction of adults, male and female, are also supported out of the funds of this useful charity. In March 1832, 15 men and 11 women were receiving instruction at these schools. The girls' school of industry also derives considerable aid from its funds. This latter institution was founded by John Hodgetts in 1755: there are generally 230 girls in the school, 50 of whom, parishioners of Dudley, are clothed when they have been 2 years in this or the infant school: 15 others are also clothed, partly by the trustees, and partly by their parents. The girls take in work, and make the clothes for the blue-coat school and Sunday school — another charitable institution belonging to this parish — and they are allowed to work for their parents two half days in each week. They make also their own clothing. Some of the ladies of Dudley frequently attend to inspect the school. Besides female work, the girls are otherwise well educated. Amongst Mrs. Cartwright's benevolent gifts, the girls' school, which she established in 1818, is also a meritorious institution 40 girls, 6 of whom were usually nominated by the benefactress herself, are taught to read, write, knit, and sew; and all of them annually receive complete suits of clothing on Christmas-day. Clothing charities were also instituted by Mrs. Cartwright and others. There are charity dissenting schools in Dudley; and a valuable contingent charity, for various purposes beneficial to Dudley and other parishes, was devised by Daniel Parsons in 1814. but had not come into operation in 1832: the annual income of this charity amounted to £526. The annual income arising out of the numerous and valuable charities connected with Dudley, exclusive of Parsons', amounted, in 1832, to upwards of £1,500; besides the proceeds of valuable coal mines and other property. Poor rates, in 1837, £4,309. — The Dudley poor-law union comprehends 4 parishes, embracing an area of 26 square miles; with a population returned in 1831, at 66,009. The average annual expenditure on the poor of this district, during the three years preceding the formation of the union, was £11,455. Expenditure in 1838, £9,563; in 1839, £9,562 16s.
Dudley was a borough, and sent members to parliament in the reign of Edward I.; but had lost the privilege, till it was restored by the Reform act. It now returns one member: the limits of the parliamentary borough and those of the parish are coincident. The number of electors registered for the year 1836-7 was 844. The number who actually polled at the general election, in 1837, was 67+ The sheriff of the county appoints the returning officer.
The manufactures of Dudley are iron, nails, chains, chain cables, fire irons, &c, and glass. In 1831 there were 570 men employed as nailers, and a great number in the iron works. The vicinity abounds with coal, iron-stone, and lime-stone: there are extensive collieries, mines, and quarries of these, which furnish employment to a large proportion of the inhabitants: in 1831 there were 500 hands employed in the coal mines alone. The mineral riches of this vicinity are remarkable: — Dudley may be considered as forming the centre of two ranges of hills, of which one runs towards the north to Wolverhampton, and consists of lime-stone; the other takes a southern course from Dudley, through Rowley from thence called the Rowley hills — towards Bir mingham, and consists of basalt. On the last of the former chain is situated part of the town of Dudley, and the ruins of its castle; which are undermined by immense quarries of admirable lime-stone, forming rude caverns of vast extent, the great entrance to which is half-a-mile to the north of the castle. Here an enormous scene of subterraneous excavation discovers itself, consisting of lime quarries worked into the rock, and one of the canal tunnels, which perforates it entirely, and opens again into day-light at the distance of nearly two miles from its entrance. This tunnel is 13 feet high and 9 wide, and, at one point, is 64 feet below the surface of the earth. It was begun and made navigable in about the space of 4 years; and affords a striking proof of the vast power and effects of human industry and perseverance. The height and great extent of the caverns, with the massive lime-stone pillars which support their roof, cast over them an air of rude magnificence and grandeur. Numerous fossils have been here discovered, such as enchrini, cornua ammonis, anomiæ, and others; but the rarest and most curious production of this sort is the pedicalus marinus, or sea-louse, the “entimolithus paradoxus manoculi deperditi” ot Linnæus, which is less learnedly, though perhaps more euphoniously, styled “the Dudley locust,” in the homely vocabulary of the workmen. The market-day is Saturday. The fairs, which are chiefly for cattle, wool, and cheese, are held on the 8th of May, 5th of August, and 2d of October. Races are held here on July 24th, and continue for two days. The head establishment of the Dudley and West Bromwich banking company commenced business here in 1834.
Dudley seems to have derived its name from the Saxon prince Dudo or Dodo, to whom it belonged at the time of the heptarchy, and who, in 700, built a castle here, which was demolished in the 20th year of the reign of Henry II.; but it was rebuilt by Roger de Soinery, in the reign of Henry III. It was garrisoned by the royalists at the commencement of the parliamentary war; and, in 1644, Col. Beaumont bravely and successfully defended it against the parliamentarians. It was destroyed by fire in 1750; but, as already observed, some of its interesting remains still exist. It consisted of a variety of buildings, partly encompassing an area about an acre in size, surrounded by an exterior wall, flanked with towers: the keep, which still stands, on a considerable eminence, in the south-west angle of the area, has evident marks of great antiquity, and is probably the only part remaining that was built by Dodo, the original founder. Lord Dudley and Ward, some time since, restored part of the keep to its original state, and raised the mutilated tower to the height and form of its corresponding one. The vast heap of lime-stone which was battered down in the civil wars, and filled up the area, being now taken away, exhibits the original form in which Dodo is stated to have erected it. This massive structure is of an oblong shape, having a lofty tower at each corner, with staircases and communications from one to the other, all built of the same durable limestone, dug from the rock below. The bases of each of these four towers gradually increase to the foundation, and those on the south side, which are now laid bare, seem to unite with the formation of the mount itself: on examining the base apartments cleared from rubbish, instead of windows, appear loop-holes, with a flight of steps ascending to the apertures, similar to those of Rochester-castle. Next to the keep, in point of antiquity, is the chapel, of which two fine Gothic windows remain — one of them is of the lancet form — and the great gateway, with the apartments over it: this entrance appears to have been very strong; the walls are 9 feet in thickness, having a portcullis at each end. Under the chapel is a large vault, arched over, which is commonly called the prison, but the brick-work being broken, it now affords shelter for cattle. The other parts of the castle appear to have bven built about the time of Henry VIII., or of Queen Elizabeth. In the kitchen, which is on the east side, are two enormous chimneys; the fire-place of one measures four yards and a half in width. Gervase Pagnell, lord ot the manor, founded a priory of Benedictine monks near the site of this castle before the year 1161. It afterwards became a cell to Wenlock, a monastery of the same order in Salop. The principal fragments of the building are a handsome Gothic window, with the upper part of its tracery almost entire, and an elegant little tower, of an octangular form: a considerable part of the building was taken down some years since, for the convenience of a manufactory into which the tenable remains were converted.

Source: The Parliamentary Gazetteer of England and Wales; A Fullarton & Co. Glasgow; 1851.

Leonard's Gazetteer of England and Wales 1850

Dudley, 126 miles W. London. Locally situated in Staffordshire. Market, Sat. P. 31,232

Source: Leonard's Gazetteer of England and Wales; Second Edition; C. W. Leonard, London; 1850.

Worcestershire Delineated C. and J. Greenwood 1822

Dudley – a market town, having two parishes, St. Edmund and St. James; 6 miles N.N.E. from Stourbridge, Worcestershire, 10 from Birmingham, and 120 from London; containing 3184 inhabited houses, entirely surrounded by Staffordshire. The castle, which now consists only of dilapidated fragments of different styles of architecture, was once very extensive, occupying nearly an acre of ground. During the civil wars, in 1644, it was gallantly defended by Lieutenant-Colonel Beaumont, for three weeks, against the Parliament army, and at length released by the King’s troops. At the restoration it was dismantled, and the site sold, after which, both the castle and town came by female descent to the ancestors of the present Lord Visc. Dudley and Ward. In 1750, a fire destroyed great part of the castle, occasioned, it is supposed, by some coiners, who carried on their nefarious practices in this place to avoid detection. Part of the keep has lately been fitted up by Lord Dudley. Here are 2 churches, both united in one vicarage. A new church has lately been erected at the north end of the town, on the site of the old one, at a very considerable expense, great part of which was raised by subscription. In the town are several meeting houses for various denominations of dissenters, 3 good charity schools, and no less than 7 Sunday schools.
Dudley has been raised to its present importance from the vast number of coal mines in its vicinity; indeed, for six miles round there is one continued strata of coal, and this accounts for the number of iron and glass manufactories in the neighbourhood. The market is on Saturdays. Fairs, 8th May, 5th Aug. and 2nd Oct. St. James’s is a vicarage, with St. Edmund’s annexed; Rev. L. Booker, L.L.D. incumbent; instituted 1812; patron, Lord Visc. Dudley and Ward. Population, 1801, 10,107 – 1811, 13,925 – 1821, 18,211

Source: Worcestershire Delineated: Being a Topographical Description of Each Parish, Chapelry, Hamlet, &c. In the County; with the distances and bearings from their respective market towns, &c. By C. and J. Greenwood. Printed by T. Bensley, Crane Court, Fleet Street, London, 1822.

Parish Records

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A list of people that were declared bankrupt between 1820 and 1843 extracted from The Bankrupt Directory; George Elwick; London; Simpkin, Marshall and Co.; 1843.

London Gazette

John Green - Dudley Worcestershire, Long Whatton Leicestershire & Deffield Derbyshire - London Gazette 1850

Pursuant to the Acts for the Relief of Insolvent Debtors in England.
The following PRISONERS, whose Estates and Effects have been vested in the Provisional Assignee by Order of the Court for Relief of Insolvent Debtors, and whose Petitions and Schedules, duly filed, have been severally referred and transmitted to the County Courts hereinafter mentioned, pursuant to the Statute in that behalf, are ordered to be brought up before the Judges of the said Courts respectively, as herein set forth, to be dealt with according to Law :
Before the Judge of the County Court of Worcestershire, holden at the Guildhall, Worcester, on Wednesday the 8th day of May 1850, at Ten o’Clock in the Forenoon precisely.

John Green, late of Dudley, in the county of Worcester, out of business, previously of Dudley, in the county of Worcester aforesaid, Victualler, and Dealer in Corks, previously of the parish of Long Whatton, in the county of Leicester, Victualler and Dealer in Corks, previously of the parish of Deffield, in the county of Derby, Victualler, but formerly of the parish of Long Whatton aforesaid, in the county of Leicester aforesaid, Victualler.


Dudley Bennett's Business Directory for Worcestershire, 1914

Dudley Trades and Professions Lewis Worcestershire Directory 1820

Dudley Universal British Directory 1791


Ordnance Survey Drawings: Stourbridge, Dudley (OSD 219)

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Birmingham & Black Country Murder Stories by Brendan Hawthorne | 17 Jul 2017

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Memories of the Black Country: 100 Years of Photography (Alton Douglas Presents) by Alton Douglas | 1 Feb 1999

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Black Country Chronicles by Larkin | 30 Mar 2009

Whatever Happened to the Real Black Country?: Black Country Chronicles 1939-1999 by Tom Larkin | 20 Nov 2019

A Century of the Black Country (Century of North of England) by Williams | 1 Nov 2007

Black Country in the Great War (Your Towns & Cities/Great War) by Michael Pearson | 3 Sep 2014

The Little Book of the Black Country by Michael Pearson | 1 Oct 2013

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As If It Were Yesterday: Birmingham and The Black Country - Photographs From A Time Remembered by Mr Peter Donnelly and Simon Donnelly | 1 Nov 2019

Black Country Memories by Carl Chinn | 1 Nov 2004

Black Country Memories: v. 2 by Carl Chinn | 1 Nov 2005

Black Country Memories: v. 3 by Carl Chinn | 18 Nov 2006

Black Country Memories: v. 4 by Carl Chinn | 5 Nov 2007

Black Country Memories: v. 5 by Carl Chinn | 21 Nov 2008

Francis Frith's the Black Country (Photographic Memories) by Alan Rose, Dorothy Nicolle, et al. | 27 Jun 2002