Dudley (city), Worcestershire Genealogy

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Guide to Dudley history, family history, and genealogy: parish registers, census records, birth records, marriage records, and death records.

Dudley castle.jpg

History[edit | edit source]

Dudley coat of arms
Dudley location in England
Dudley flag

Dudley is a large town in West Midlands of England (but historically in Worcestershire). It is 6 miles (9.7 km) south-east of Wolverhampton and 10.5 miles (16.9 km) north-west of Birmingham. While its castle is in Staffordshire, historically the main town was always an enclave in the county of Worcestershire. With the administrative changes made by the UK Government in 1974 when it was incorporated into the county of West Midlands. Dudley covers an area of the South Staffordshire Coalfield, which contributed heavily to its growth and industrialization during the 18th century Industrial Revolution.

Dudley has a history dating back to Anglo-Saxon times, its name deriving from the Old English Duddan Leah, meaning Dudda's clearing, and one of its churches being named in honor of the Anglo-Saxon King and Saint, Edmund.

Mentioned in the Domesday Book as Dudelei, in the hundred of Clent in Worcestershire, the town was listed as being a medium-sized manor in the possession of Earl Edwin of Mercia prior to the Norman Conquest, with William Fitz-Ansculf as Lord of the Manor in 1086. Dudley Castle, constructed in 1070 by William's father 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 castle provided the center 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.

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.

Dud Dudley, an illegitimate son of Edward Sutton, 5th Baron Dudley and Elizabeth Tomlinson, 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. Abraham Darby was descended from Dud Dudley's sister, Jane, and was the first person to produce iron commercially using coke instead of charcoal at his works in Coalbrookdale, Shropshire in 1709. Abraham Darby was born near Wrens Nest Hill near the town of Dudley and it is claimed that he may have known about Dud Dudley's earlier work.

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 leather-working.

With the decline of industry in Dudley since the end of WWII, the area has had an extremely high level of unemployment, resulting in the closure of many businesses in the town. [1]

Resources[edit | edit source]

Cemeteries (Civil)[edit | edit source]

The area of Dudley and surrounding towns has a number of cemeteries. These follow:

Gornal Wood
Chase Rd
Brierley Hill
Dudley DY3 2RL
Phone: +44 1384 813970

Dudley Cemetery
Stourbridge Rd
Dudley DY1 2DA

Ruiton Cemetery
Duke St
Dudley DY3 2DJ

Quinton Cemetery
Halesowen Rd
B62 9AF
Phone: +44 121 472 1575

Church Records[edit | edit source]

Parishes[edit | edit source]

Dudley, including the surrounding towns that are all part of the greater Wolverhampton metropolis, has a number of Anglican Churches. They follow:

St Francis Parish Church
Laurel Rd
Dudley DY1 3EZ
Phone: +44 1384 832164

St James' Eve Hill
92 Wolverhampton St
Dudley DY1 3AP
Phone: +44 1384 214487

Holy Cross, Tividale
Ashleigh Rd
Tividale, Oldbury B69 1LL
Phone: +44 1384 257888

St Michael's Tividale
16 Charlotte Cl
Tividale, Oldbury B69 2LZ
Phone: +44 1384 257888

For a complete list of Warwickshire parishes, please see:

Because Dudley is so close to Staffordshire, the following list of Staffordshire parishes might also be helpful:

Non Conformists[edit | edit source]

Because Dudley is now part of an extremely large urban area including Wolverhampton and all the way to Birmingham, there are a diverse number of Christian and non Christian communities. Some of these follow:

  • Apostolic Revival Center
  • Baptist
  • Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints
  • Dudley Community Church
  • Jehovah's Witness
  • Methodist
  • New Testament Church of God
  • Pentecostal
  • Primrose Hill Community Church
  • Roman Catholic
  • Salvation Army
  • Seventh Day Adventist

Additionally the following non-Christian groups have assemblies in the Dudley area:

  • Buddhist
  • Hindu
  • Muslim
  • Sikh

Civil Registration[edit | edit source]

Birth, marriages and deaths records have been kept by government since July 1837 to the present day. Prior to that, local parishes of the Church of England, and local branches of other faiths were the only repositories of this information.

Local Histories[edit | edit source]

Maps and Gazetteers[edit | edit source]

Newspapers[edit | edit source]

Occupations[edit | edit source]

Dudley, in concert with most Black Country towns, has seen a severe downturn in its economy over the past 30+ years. Relative to the UK as a whole, Dudley unemployment stands at 6.5%, compared to the UK as a whole at 4.7%. A large proportion of the population need to travel to larger centers such as Wolverhampton and Birmingham.

Most local employment is in the retail sector, education, and local government. However there are still many small to medium sized manufacturing companies left. Many of the local businesses are small and medium sized but Dudley also has a number of large-scale employers including Sandvik, Rentokil and London & Cambridge Properties.

Due to the fact that historically the Midlands was the major UK area for car manufacturing, there are still a large number of parts manufacturers in the area.

The service sector is very strong with financial services, distribution, retail and leisure playing a significant role. The visitor economy continues to grow, and is worth around £225m and attracts over four million visitors every year. [2]

Societies[edit | edit source]

Archives[edit | edit source]

Websites[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. Wikipedia contributors, "Dudley," in Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dudley, accessed 10 December, 2017.
  2. Dudley Business First org. http://www.dudleybusinessfirst.org.uk/why-dudley/business-in-dudley/, accessed 18 December, 2017.