An excerpt from www.HouseOfNames.com archives copyright © 2000 - 2016
The Anglo-Saxon name Dudley comes from when the family resided in the important town of Dudley in the county of Worcestershire. The name of this town was originally derived from the Old English personal name Dudda and the Old English word leah, which means woodland clearing; thus it means Dudda's glade. The surname Dudley belongs to the large category of Anglo-Saxon habitation names, which are derived from pre-existing names for towns, villages, parishes, or farmsteads.
The surname Dudley was first found in Worcestershire at Dudley, a town that dates back to the Domesday Book where it was listed as Dudelei. "This place derives its name from Dodo, or Dudo, a Saxon prince, by whom it was owned at the time of the heptarchy, and who built a castle here about the year 700, which, during the contest between Stephen and the Empress Matilda, was garrisoned for the latter by Gervase Paganell, to whom the barony at that time belonged. Gervase having subsequently taken part in the rebellion of Prince Henry against his father, Henry II., his castle was demolished in the 20th year of that monarch's reign. The present keep, with the gateway and chapel, is of the architecture of the 13th century; the other buildings were erected by John Dudley, Duke of Northumberland, in the time of Edward VI. "  Dudley Castle was listed there and at that time Earl Edwin held the manor also located there. Dudley and much of the surrounding area was held by William fitzAnsculf and was part of the Came hundred.  Today Dudley Castle is a ruined castle but has a visitor's center that was opened by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II in June 1994. At one time, the family was found in the chapelry of Singleton-in-the-Fylde (Little Singleton) in Lancashire as evidenced by this entry: "Edmund Dudley, who was attainted and executed in 1510, possessed Little Singleton."  The same Sir Edmund Dudley's lands were lost also lost at Balderston, again in Lancashire. "A portion subsequently passed to the Dudley family; and after the execution of the celebrated Sir Edmund Dudley for high treason, an inquisition was taken, 1st Henry VIII., when it was found that the manor was an escheat to the crown." 
The English language only became standardized in the last few centuries; therefore, spelling variations are common among early Anglo-Saxon names. As the form of the English language changed, even the spelling of literate people's names evolved. Dudley has been recorded under many different variations, including Dudley, Dudlie, Dudly and others.
This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Dudley research. Another 693 words (50 lines of text) covering the years 1225, 1379, 1547, 1553, 1531, 1558, 1561, 1588, 1462, 1510, 1504, 1553, 1550, 1553, 1576, 1653, 1600, 1684, 1647, 1720, 1686, 1597, 1670, 1661, 1721 and 1684 are included under the topic Early Dudley History in all our PDF Extended History products.
Another 323 words (23 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Dudley Notables in all our PDF Extended History products.
Some of the Dudley family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt. More information about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products.
For many English families, the political and religious disarray that shrouded England made the far away New World an attractive prospect. On cramped disease-ridden ships, thousands migrated to those British colonies that would eventually become Canada and the United States. Those hardy settlers that survived the journey often went on to make important contributions to the emerging nations in which they landed. Analysis of immigration records indicates that some of the first North American immigrants bore the name Dudley or a variant listed above:
Dudley Settlers in United States in the 17th Century
Dudley Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
Dudley Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
Dudley Settlers in Canada in the 19th Century
Dudley Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
Dudley Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
The Dudley Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Dudley Family Crest was drawn according to heraldic standards based on published blazons. We generally include the oldest published family crest once associated with each surname.
This page was last modified on 16 April 2016 at 12:18.