Dudley Castle is situated in a commanding position in the Black Country Geopark on a high limestone ridge overlooking the medieval planned town of Dudley and the monastic remains of St James’s Priory. It was designated as a Scheduled Monument on the 8th February 1915 and on the 14th September 1949 the upstanding remains were placed on the statutory list as Grade I.
It survives as a good example of a motte and bailey castle c.1070 which was remodelled in stone in the mid-12th and early 14th-centuries. It was slighted in the 1180's and rebuilt in the mid to late 13th century. Later additions included the late 15th century Kitchen Annex. The domestic wing was demolished and rebuilt in the 1530's. The quality of the surviving remains has been enhanced by the archaeological excavation undertaken in the 1980’s which indicated the castle retains important structural and artefactual evidence relating to both its early history and to the 16th century structural improvements which converted it from a defensive castle into a high status domestic residence.
The 16th century Sharrington Range is of particular interest as one of the earliest known examples of the influence of the Italian Renaissance on the secular architecture of the West Midlands. The wealth and importance of the castle and its inhabitants is reflected in extensive surviving documentary records. The castle was held as a Royalist stronghold during the Civil War and was slighted by order of Parliament in 1649. Although the domestic wing was still habitable, this succumbed to a fire in 1750 and thereafter it was considered to be a Romantic ruin. In 1936 a zoo was placed around it and the castle became a tourist attraction along with the 1930’s Tecton Structures. For more information about Dudley Castle and the Castle Hill Conservation Area look at the Castle Hill Conservation Area Character Appraisal.
For more information about visiting Dudley Castle go to the Dudley Zoo and Castle webpage and the Discover Dudley webpage.