Dudley Castle is a ruined fortification in the town of Dudley, West Midlands, England. Rebuilding of the castle took place from the half of the thirteenth century. The fortifications were sleighted by order of Parliament during the English Civil War, in the nineteenth and early twentieth century the site was used for fêtes and pageants. Today Dudley Zoo is located in its grounds and it is also a Grade I listed building. The Dudley Tunnel runs beneath Castle Hill, but not the castle itself, the antiquarian William Camden claimed a castle was constructed at Dudley about the year 700 by a Mercian duke named Dodo or Doddo and some subsequent histories and articles repeated this claim. However, this assertion is not taken seriously by todays historians and it is thought one of the Conquerors followers, Ansculf de Picquigny, built the first castle in 1070. The Domesday Book records that Ansculfs son, William Fitz-Ansculf, was in possession of the castle when it was recorded at the time of the survey of 1086. The first line of the Domesday entry for Dudley translates as, the said William held Dudley, some of the earthworks from this castle, notably the motte, the vast mound on which the present castle keep now sits, still remain. However the earliest castle would have been of wooden construction and no longer exists, after Fitz-Ansculf, the castle came into the possession of the Paganel family, who built the first stone castle on the site. This castle was strong enough to withstand a siege in 1138 by the forces of King Stephen, however, after Gervase Paganel joined a failed rebellion against King Henry II in 1173 the castle was demolished by order of the king. The Somerys were the dynasty to own the site when Ralph de Somery I succeeded his uncle. Roger de Somery II set about rebuilding the castle in 1262, the castle was far from complete on the death of Roger de Somery II in 1272 and construction carried on from this time into the 14th century by Rogers heirs. The keep and the main gate date from this re-building, the last of the male line of Somery, John Somery, died in 1321. It is thought that the fortifications were complete by this date, the castle and estates passed to John Somerys sister Margaret and her husband John de Sutton. Subsequently, members of this family often used Dudley as a surname, John and Margaret were only in possession for the castle for a few years before the property was seized by the younger Hugh Despenser, a favourite of King Edward II. Despenser owned the castle from 1325-1326, being dispossessed when the fell from power. The castle was returned to John and Margaret in 1327 and it was probably during the time of John and Margarets son and successor John Sutton II that a chapel and great chamber were added within the castle walls. Following the death of John Sutton II, the passed to his wife, Isabel
Image: Dudley Castle England 8
The castle was partly demolished during the 17th century on the orders of Parliament.
During the Tudor period, John Dudley, 1st Duke of Northumberland ordered the construction of a range of new buildings within the ancient castle.