About Dudley Castle

Dudley Castle is a ruined Norman motte and bailey castle which is now open to visitors and also hosts the popular Dudley Zoo within its grounds.

Originally built in the 11th century it was constructed by Ansculf de Picquigny, one of the followers of William the Conqueror. It was rebuilt over the centuries, particularly in the mid-16th century when under the ownership of John Dudley, Duke of Northumberland, and a key player in the politics of the time. Dudley was beheaded for his attempt to set Lady Jane Grey on the throne after the death of Edward VI.

Dudley’s son, Robert was a favourite of Queen Elizabeth I and the queen visited Dudley Castle in 1575.

The castle was held by the Royalists during the English Civil War and was besieged by Parliamentarian troops in 1644 and 1646 before it was surrendered on May 13, 1646. As with many Royalist strongholds of the time, the Parliamentarian forces later ordered the castle to be slighted, leaving much of the castle in ruins.

In 1750 a fire raged through the complex, finally gutting the once-magnificent palace. Never rebuilt, Dudley Castle became the picturesque ruin which we see today.

Today the castle forms part of Dudley Zoo and a visitors centre within the grounds contains more about the history of the site.

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