Priory Park is on the north side of Dudley, close to the town centre. It was once part of the lands held by neighbouring Dudley Castle and it was here that the Cluniac Priory of St James was founded in the mid-12th century. The ruins of the Priory, which was dissolved in 1539, still remain.
In 1825, the area was laid out as gardens and parkland for Priory Hall built by the Earl of Dudley. The Priory Estate was bought by Dudley Borough Council in 1926 to develop housing for people displaced by slum clearance and, by the late 1930’s, the housing had been built and the park had been laid out to service the new suburb. It was designed by Edward Prentice Mawson, son of Thomas Mawson the first president of the Institute of Landscape Architects.
Today, the park retains the evidence of its historical layers: the Priory ruins to the south with the imprint of its fishponds; Priory Hall with its wooded landscape and formal gardens; and the northern axis of the 1930’s municipal layout with recreational provision, open lawns and children’s playspace.
Priory Park was restored between 2012 and 2013 with the support of Dudley Council, the Heritage Lottery and Big Lottery Funds. The restoration of the Park was very much community-led, particularly by us, The Friends of Priory Park & The Green. Our partnership with Dudley Council lead to the restoration and following improvement to Priory Park itself:
- The creation of a community building with classroom, toilets and educational staff;
- Improvements to Park entrances with arts features, sculptural elements;
- The repair of historic structures, interpretation of the Priory and lighting;
- Improvements to footpaths, paving and seating;
- Strengthening of historical planting, tree avenues, horticultural beds, herb garden;
- Improved recreational provision, football, tennis and bowls;
- A greater understanding of the history and significance of the park.
Our website contains more information about Priory Park’s buildings and structures, landscape features, signage and interpretation as well as the sports and play provision available to all our visitors.
You can also read more about the Restoration of Priory Park on Dudley Council’s website and follow how we documented the Park’s transformation on this website’s blog.
The combination of formal and informal space Priory Park provides for tranquility and contemplation, and also energetic sports and play activity. Priory Hall is now the Register Office for Dudley and the park provides a continuing backdrop for wedding celebrations, while the year is punctuated with community events.