Dud Dudley


 Dud Dudley was born in 1598 and was the illegitimate son of Edward Sutton, the 5th Baron Dudley of Dudley. Lord Dudley brought up the eleven children which he has had with Elizabeth Tomlinson at Himley Hall. Here Dud began to study the theory and processes used in iron manufacturing, which his father encouraged.

By the time Dud was 20, he been educated at Balliol College, part of Oxford University but left suddenly to take over his father’s furnace business on Pensnett Chase, which was in financial trouble. It was whilst here, that Dud developed the use of coal rather than charcoal in the iron making process. His success led to the process receiving a patent from the King in 1620.

In 1626, Dud married Eleanor Heaton at Worcester. Dud fought in the Bishops War and on the Royalist side in the Civil War, both times as an officer. Later, as part of a group organising a Royalist uprising, Dud was captured and sent to London where he was charged with treason, for which they were sentenced to death. However the group managed to escape from the prison where they were being held in Westminster.

After escaping, Dud headed for Bristol where he practiced as a medical doctor under a false name, Dr Hunt. He remained working as a doctor until the patent on his smelting process was about to expire. He set up a lead smelting works in 1638 in association with a medical patient; however this did not work out.

Dud Dudley created the first ever geological map which was of the geology of Castle Hill, Dudley in 1665. Throughout his experimenting with the smelting process, Dud kept a note of his processes and published them in a book entitled Metallum Martis, which was also published in 1665.

Towards the end of his life, Dud moved back to Worcester, where he remarried and had a son before passing away in 1684.

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