Did you know that there is ruins of a Priory in Dudley in what is now Priory Park? It was founded in circa 1160. And closed in the 1530s during the English Reformation. It fell into disrepair and ruins after the 1540s. In the 18th century part of the ruins were used as a tanner. Dudley Borough Council bought the ruins in 1926 and the land around it to develop Priory Park.

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The ruins of Dudley Priory in Priory Park, Dudley





Did you know that there is ruins of a Priory in Dudley in what is now Priory Park? It was founded in circa 1160. And closed in the 1530s during the English Reformation. It fell into disrepair and ruins after the 1540s. In the 18th century part of the ruins were used as a tanner. Dudley Borough Council bought the ruins in 1926 and the land around it to develop Priory Park.


Dudley Priory Ruins in Priory Park, Dudley

My first visit to Priory Park in Dudley was in January 2011, when there was snow on the ground. The park opened in 1932, covering a site of 19 acres. The park is the historic site of the Dudley Priory. The park was restored in 2013.

 

Historic details from Wikipedia (below).

The Dudley Priory is a former priory in Dudley, West Midlands (used to be in Worcestershire). The ruins is a Scheduled Ancient Monument and is Grade I listed. The priory was founded in 1160 by Gervase Paganel, Lord of Dudley. It was dedicated to Saint James. It was built of local limestone, quarried from Wren's Nest. The priory was enlarged many times, including the addition of a Lady Chapel in the 14th century. The priory was closed down int he 1530s during the national Dissolution of the Monasteries. It was granted to Sir John Dudley, 1st Duke of Northumberland in 1540, but after his execution it fell into disrepair and fell into ruins.

In the 18th century, part of the ruins were used by a tanner. The area around it became industrialised. Pools nearby were drained and Priory Hall was built nearby in 1825. In 1926 the Dudley County Borough bought Dudley Priory and the land around it, to create Priory Park and the Priory Estate. The ruins were brought into their current state in the 1930s, during clearance and restoration works, when Dudley Council took over the running of the parkland and ruins.

 

Now some details from the Grade I listing at British Listed Buildings. Priory Ruins.

It was founded in about 1160 as a dependant of Cluniac Priory of Much Wenlock. Was made of Limestone rubble. There are some remains of the church left, with tiled pavements exposed.

 

Now onto my visit from January 2011. There was snow in Dudley at the time, but more grass to see here. The approach to the ruins from the park entrance on The Broadway. It was the 4th January 2011.

There was signs on fences around part of the ruins saying No Ball Games in and around the Priory Ruins. To the right was Paganel Drive. The houses up there were built after 1929 in the Priory Estate.

Snow rests on the limestone blocks that have survived the centuries.

This might be the ruins of where the Church was.

There must have been a large stained glass window here at one point in time.

The ruins to the north looking up Paganet Drive.

A bit like a castle here. It's amazing that these walls have survived the 500 years since the Dissolution of the Monasteries.

This was the West Front of Dudley Priory.

The ruins here are just about exposed above ground level. Archaeologists led by Rayleigh Radford dug here in 1939 (before WW2). Exposing the walls and tiles.

There would have been Cluniac monks based here. The Dormitory could have been around here.

Unlike other abbeys or monasteries, Dudley Priory wasn't fully demolished. It just fell into ruins. And wasn't rebuilt in the centuries after the 1530s to 1540s.

The view of the ruins towards Paganel Drive. Everything exposed above the ground would have been buried until the 1930s.

One last look at the snow covered ruins, before I checked out the rest of the park.

I'll do another Priory Park, Dudley post soon, covering the rest of the park, as well as my second visit during October 2016.

 

For another Dudley related ruins post go to: The remains of a fortified manor house at Weoley Castle.

 

Photos taken by Elliott Brown.

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