Occasionally family historians turn up relationships that throw light on major industrial developments. Carl Higgs has just uncovered such a link through his own family history project - the surprising prospect that Dud Dudley of Woodsetton and the Darby family of Coalbrookdale had a blood tie.
This is a significant find since Dud Dudley published a book in 1665, Mettallum Martis (in fact recently reprinted from an 1854 edition and available from The Kates Hill Press, Dudley), detailing his use of coal instead of charcoal for iron smelting. Yet Abraham Darby, in 1708, claimed to be the first in the field. Intriguingly Abraham was born in the Wren’s Nest area of Woodsetton village in 1678. His grandson built the world famous cast iron bridge over the river Severn.
Carl has produced a fine article illustrated with photographs taken in the Manor. This can be found here on the Black Country Society’s website.