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In 1618 Dud Dudley, the natural son of Lord Dudley, left Balliol College, Oxford, at the age of 20 to take over his fathers furnace & forges on Pensnett Chase. He soon claimed to have perfected the use of coal instead of charcoal for the production of Iron, and obtained a Patent from the King in 1620

However a series of misfortunes prevented Dud Dudley exploiting his discovery, first devastating floods, then jealous competitors and finally the Civil Wars. Most of his works passing into the hands of the Foley family.

The Foley's Ironworks began to dominated the English iron trade of the late 17c and by 1665 the family had become a powerfull force in the country, holding major contracts with the navy. (Thomas Foley is mentioned many times in the diaries of Samuel Pepys).

"Metallum Martis" is Dud Dudley's personal view of his discovery and subsequent misfortunes, published after the Reformation of the Monarchy, when he had petitioned the King, Charles II, to restore his lands & patents, and been turned down. In this book he claims the continued use of his process at his former works.

The accounts of Philp Foley's Stour Valley Ironworks for 1668 show the sale between works of Pit-cole Iron. All this is around 90 years before Abraham Darby working in Coalbrookdale introduced the widescale use of coal for iron manufacture which is widely taken to be the birth of the Industrial Revolution.




Message to the Public

The Cover

Message to the King

Message to the Parliament

Message to the Reader

Dud Dudley's Metallum Martis