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Dud Dudley was the first man to smelt iron ore to coke

By Black Country Bugle  |  Posted: July 24, 2014

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I AM writing to inform you of a serious error in Dr. Matt Thompson's letter in The Bugle (July 17 edition).

Abraham Darby was related by marriage to Dud Dudley, who was the first man to smelt iron ore using "sea cole" turned to coke.

This was at Cradley Forge in 1620 – nearly 100 years before Darby at Coalbrookdale. A flood and rival iron makers put paid to Dud's endeavour. However, it is commemorated by a plaque adjacent to the site where Mousesweet Brook joins the River Stour.

All this and much more is recorded in his book Metallum Martis.

The intervening Civil War muddied the waters somewhat, especially as Dud was on the losing side – the Royalists. Both Darby and Dud were Dudley born and bred.

Gordon Hensman.


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