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Meeting Report - July 2018

On Tuesday 24th July, 45 members attended the last meeting of the season of the Romsley and Hunnington History Society. Max Keen was the speaker and his subject was, "The History of Dudley Castle, 1071 – 1933."

Max was welcomed with enthusiasm, but he found that he had a bit of a battle on his hands. Not only did he fight off all the attacks on the castle from the Normans to the Civil War, dressed in authentic armour with replica weapons, he also had to battle with the heat wave that had been with us for the last few days!

A visit to Dudley Castle will never be the same again after his vivid description of how the castle could be attacked. You needed a lot of courage and bravery to cross the moat, grapple with the drawbridge, dodge the portcullis and batter down the stout oak doors, while being bombarded with stones, rocks, boiling oil and water and arrows from crossbows. Life was not easy for a soldier in the days of old!

Over the years the castle had been owned by various wealthy families who had built on different parts, which made it one of the grandest castles in the land. In 1575 it even had a visit from the first Queen Elizabeth, when it was in the keeping of the Dudley family. Unfortunately by the time of the Civil War, Oliver Cromwell had his eye on the castle as it stood in a prime location, in the heart of the iron industry. His army fired cannons from Windmill Hill, which devastated parts of the castle and a huge fire in 1755 completed the destruction.

However the ruins that are still standing intrigue visitors and school children alike, and when Max hints that there might be ghosts, and unimaginable objects found at the bottom of a deep pit, Dudley Castle comes alive once again after centuries of neglect.

The talks Max gives are always full of historical facts, laced with amusing anecdotes, richly illustrated with excellent photographs, with an array of costumes and convincing weapons. The last talk of the season was truly local and thanks to Max, very memorable.

The next meeting will be on Tuesday, September 25th at 7.30pm in the Church Hall when John Billingham will be giving a talk on, "An Amble around Staffordshire." There will be a meeting of the Court Rolls Group on Wednesday 10th October at 2.30pm. in the Church Hall. Everyone is welcome.

Pat Evans

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