|Wedding party at Priory Hall
Underneath the path you're walking on, there is a
canal tunnel running right through the park.
Priory Hall was built in the 1820s for the first Earl of Dudley. It's
now a listed building which is now used as Dudley's register office.
out more about Priory Hall. Listen to John Hemingway »
Continue walking straight on towards the priory ruins.
|Detail of the mosaic
Just past Priory Hall, there's a mosaic depicting life
in the priory. It's made of pebbles and slate set in the path. You're
now in entering the borough of Dudley from the borough of Sedgley.
is there a small area of Dudley in the borough of Sedgley? Listen to John
does the mosaic look like? Listen to John Hemingway »
As you walk towards the priory ruins, there are dips
in the ground where old ponds used to be. On the left is a 1920s/30s rectangular
formal pond set inside a garden with a low wall. It's on the site of an
|The formal pool in the park
out more about Dudley Priory's pools. Listen to John Hemingway »
out more about the formal pond. Listen to John Hemingway »
There are roses growing in the garden, water lilies in
the pond and you might be lucky enough to see some frogs or bats which
come out here at night.
out about wildlife in the pool. Listen to Ali Glaisher »
Explore the ruins of Dudley Priory
|Marked out rooms
Dudley Priory is now in ruins - some spectacular arches,
staircases and walls have been preserved and you can clearly see the outline
of rooms marked in the grass by stones. These stone lines were put in
by the archaeologist Rayleigh Radford in 1939. They mark out the cloisters
and other rooms in the Priory. The location of the cloisters is unusual
- it's on the North side. Most priories and monastries have the cloisters
on the South side because it's warmer.
left of Dudley Priory? Listen to John Hemingway »
is the priory located here? Listen to John Hemingway »
did people originally settle in Dudley and who built the Castle and Priory?
Listen to John Hemingway »
do the lines mark out and why are the cloisters unusual? Listen to John
Often buildings are made with local stone. Dudley Priory
is made from limestone mined on Wren's Nest, where you've just walked
from. Look out for the thick simple pillars (built in the 1170s and 1180s)
which form an archway - the rocks in these pillars show ripples, just
like the Ripple Bed!
|Archaeologist John Hemingway looking
at the mortar joints in the Priory
The Priory seems to have been worked on by several different
builders. The low curved walls are evidence of this. You can also see
where newer areas of building work have been added to the Priory - the
neatest bricks are the most recent.
do the curved walls show? Listen to John Hemingway »
One of the most magnificent arches of the Priory is fenced
off (see photo at the top of the page). It's very tempting as a climbing
frame but it's too fragile and too dangerous to climb.
The arch was part of the Lady Chapel area of the Priory.
This was built in the 1300s, dedicated to the Virgin Mary. The stonework
in the Lady Chapel (and the arch) is much better quality than in the rest
of the walls. The mortar joints inside the arch (see photo, above left)
show that this was constructed by extremely skilled craftsmen - the Sutton
family who built this section of the Priory must have been very wealthy!
|John Hemingway looks at the patch
of tiles on the ground
Near this archway is a patch of tiling on the ground
at the top of the steps - this is a collage of the best medieval tiles
found by Rayleigh Radcliffe's team when the site was excavated in 1939.
out more about the Lady Chapel and the tiles in the ground. Listen to
John Hemingway »
There are ferns growing in the walls of the main chapel
of the priory. They anchor themselves in the rock (just like the plants
in the geological cutting - page 3) and obtain all the water and sunlight
they need here.
our more about the ferns growing on the walls. Listen to Ali Glaisher
|Fern growing in the Priory walls
Now, Dudley Priory is part of the park and local children
enjoy playing in and around it. Like any building, the Priory needs to
be looked after and the council take care to maintain the ruins as they
is the priory being restored? Listen to John Hemingway »
From the priory, walk past the Technical
College into Gervaise Drive. Behind the college, you can just spot the
tip of Dudley Castle.
map of this stage
(Optional detour: Dudley Castle and Zoo. These are
some of the Black Country's biggest tourist attractions and well worth
a visit. More
information » )