With a reputation as one of the most haunted places in the Midlands Dudley Castle is somewhere that is always fascinating to visit. The castle has its origins as far back as 1071 when a Motte & Bailey fortification was established on the site following the Norman invasion of 1066. The primary function of the castle was to help William of Normandy control his new kingdom, and the ensure that no revolt got out of hand.
A stone castle was built there in 1130, only to be demolished in 1175 when the castles then owner rebelled against the king. It was not until 1264 that permission was obtained for the castle to be rebuilt. Over the next few years many additions where made to the castle, some of which are still present in the structure we see today.
In 1321 the castle passed to the de Sutton family who lived there until the 1500’s and continued to improve the structure. In 1536 The Duke of Northumberland (John Dudley) began the rebuilding of the castle into the style of a renaissance palace. The Duke did not live to see the building work completed as he became embroiled in the plot to put Lady Jane Grey on the throne of England and was executed.
Dudley Castle was awarded by Queen Mary to the Sutton family, it was visited by Elizabeth I, and it also a strong contender as the prison for Mary Queen of Scots.
Later the Castle passed to the Ward family, and was a Royalist stronghold during the English civil war until 1646 when it fell to the Parliamentary forces. The castle took on the form it holds today in 1647 when its fortifications were finally demolished. Many spirits have been reported at Dudley castle over the years. The most popular of these is the Grey Lady. Reportedly the spirit of Dorothy Beaumont, a young lady who lived at the castle for some time. She has been seen wandering near the castle Keep mourning the loss of her infant daughter.
The most haunted part of the castle is said to be the chapel undercroft. This room hosted a stone coffin which once held the body of John Somery one of the greatest of the the Castle’s Lords. Visitors have often spoken of seeing legs beside the coffin, while others have spoken of being prodded, poked, or tugged when they were alone.