Home to many ghosts, Dudley Castle is now regarded as perhaps one of the most haunted locations in the Midlands or even the world itself. The history of this very haunted Castle dates back to Domesday era of 1086. Dudley Castle itself sits within 40 acres of ground which is also the home of Dudley Zoo and gardens. The Dudley Zoological Society was founded in 1935 and the gardens themselves opened to the public in 1937. Dudley Castle sits prominently within the town of Dudley in the Black Country, renowned for many haunted locations.
Your night at Dudley Castle in the West Midlands have produced some of the most frightening and astounding paranormal activity we have witnessed and this 11th Century Castle has proved too much for some, who have witnessed such intense activity that they have felt unable to return to the Vigils. Poltergeist activity is not uncommon and ghostly figures have been captured on camera in different parts of the Castle. Join us for a ghost hunt at Dudley Castle and discover for yourself just how haunted it really is.
Dudley Castle in the West Midlands has a long history of hauntings and there are many ghosts and stories associated with the Castle. There have been reports of paranormal activity here for hundreds of years from staff and visitors alike and you are invited to spend the night within its walls to discover for yourself the ghosts and spirits that reside here.
Ghost hunts at Dudley Castle have unveiled some terrifying hauntings with many images being captured of figures seen peering from the old castle window areas and entrances. Those that have ghost hunted at Dudley Castle have described feelings of being touched and being watched. Others have complained of stones being thrown at them and this happens on a regular basis.
Our ghost hunts at Dudley Castle also include a two-course supper and a chance to meet fellow guests. Be prepared for anything during your ghost hunt as the activity can be phenomenal. Take part in ghost hunting experiments such as table tipping, glass moving, Ouija Boards and watch and wait vigils. Use our up to date ghost hunting equipment and carry out your own ghost hunt during free time.
The most famous ghost of Dudley Castle is that of The Grey Lady who is often seen by staff and visitors alike walking the grounds of the Castle, and people have also reported hearing a cat meowing up on the Keep from where it is believed a local witch and her cat were thrown to their deaths below. Extreme drops in temperature, a menacing male spirit and even Poltergeist activity have all been encountered here at Dudley Castle and people have reported hearing drumming from the Castle Keep which is thought to be associated with a young Drummer Boy killed by a single bullet during the Civil War.
Originally built around 1071 and recorded in the Domesday Book of 1086, the Castle has passed through the hands of many families and also suffered greatly as the result of many battles.
John Dudley (the man executed by Mary I for plotting to bring Lady Jane Grey to the Throne in her place) was present here in 1536 during the height of his power and the Castle eventually suffered its last tragic blow during the Civil War when the Royalist Soldiers were defeated by Cromwell and the Castle was 'slighted'. Much bloodshed and misery has occurred on this land and there are now many ghost stories associated with the history of Dudley Castle which seem reluctant to go away.
According to legend, a wooden castle was constructed on the site in the 8th century by a Saxon lord called Dud. However this legend is not taken seriously by historians, who usually date the castle from soon after the Norman Conquest of 1066. It is thought one of the Conqueror's followers, Ansculf de Picquigny, built the first castle in 1070. and that his son, William Fitz-Ansculf, was in possession of the castle when it was recorded at the time of the Domesday Book of 1086. 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 1153 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 Somery's were the next dynasty to own the site and set about building the castle in stone starting in the second half of the 13th century and continuing on into the 14th. The keep (the most obvious part of the castle when viewed from the town) and the main gate date from this re-building. A chapel and great hall were also constructed.
The castle was partly demolished during the 17th century on the orders of Parliament. The last of the male line of Somery, John Somery, died in 1321 and the castle and estates passed to his sister Margaret and her husband John de Sutton. Subsequently, members of this family often used Dudley as a surname. In 1532 another John Sutton (the seventh in the Dynasty named John) inherited the castle but after having money problems was ousted by a relative, John Dudley, later Duke of Northumberland, in 1537. Starting around 1540, a range of new buildings were erected within the older castle walls by him. The architect was William Sharington and the buildings are thus usually referred to as Sharington Range. Dudley was later beheaded, for his attempt to set Lady Jane Grey on the throne of England.
The castle was returned to the Sutton family by Queen Mary, ownership being given to Edward Sutton. The castle was later visited by Queen Elizabeth I and was considered as a possible place of imprisonment for Mary, Queen of Scots. However, the Sutton family were not destined to hold the castle for much longer and Edward Sutton's son, Edward Sutton III was the last of the male line to possess the property. In 1592, this Edward sent men to raid the property of Gilbert Lyttelton, carrying away cattle which were impounded in the Castle grounds. Financial difficulties continued to mount, however, until Edward Sutton III solved the problem by marrying his grand daughter and heir, Frances Sutton, to Humble Ward, the son of a wealthy merchant.
The castle became a Royalist stronghold during the English Civil War, and was besieged twice before its surrender to Cromwell's forces in 1646. The first siege in 1644 was lifted after the Royalists sent a relief force which drove away the Parliamentarians. In 1646 Sir William Brereton commanded the Parliamentarians in the second siege against the Royalists led by Colonel Leveson. The castle was surrendered on 13 May 1646. Parliament subsequently ordered that the castle be partly demolished and the present ruined appearance of the keep results from this decision. However some habitable buildings remained and were subsequently used occasionally by the Earls of Dudley although by this time they preferred to reside at Himley Hall, approximately four miles away, when in the Midlands.
A plan of the castle from J. D. Mackenzie's The Castles of England: their story and structure. A stable block was constructed on the site at some point before 1700. This was the final building to be constructed in the castle. The bulk of the remaining habitable parts of the castle was destroyed by fire in 1750. However, in the nineteenth century, the site found a new use as a 'Romantic Ruin' and a certain amount of tidying up of the site was carried out by the Earls of Dudley. Battlements on one of the remaining towers were reconstructed and two cannon captured during the Crimean Wars were installed. In the nineteenth and early twentieth century the site was used for fetes and pageants. In 1937, when the Dudley Zoo was established, the castle grounds were incorporated into the zoo.
Despite being situated on the edge of Dudley town centre, the castle was situated within the borders of Sedgley - which was part of neighbouring Staffordshire rather than Worcestershire - until the borders were changed to include the castle and its grounds within the Dudley borough in 1926, when restructuring of the boundaries took place to allow the development of the Priory Estate. The maps of Christopher Saxton drawn in 1579 and John Speed in 1610, Mark Dudley Castle in the County of Staffordshire not Worcestershire.