The “Real” Lord Dudley

Posted: October 11, 2009 in Other Ripper Research
 
DEVASTATOR DUDLEY.
HOW HE "HOME-RULED" THE QUARRY BANKERS.
 
The Gainful Games of Australia’s Governor-General.
 
DUDLEY’S DESTRUCTIVE DOINGS IN THE ENGLISH "BLACK COUNTRY."
The Mystery of the Marvellously Missing Maps.
 
The "Sydney Morning Herald" and many other Australian newspapers in Melbourne, Adelaide, and elsewhere, have given us (Sydney "Truth") much information about the Tory Lord who has recently arrived in this country as the Governor-General of Australia. Some of the journals have harped upon the immense income that he draws from that unhappy part of England called the Black Country, as if he were a benevolent person who had done much good by being gracious enough to accept a revenue from the wretched dwellers in the Black Country that has been termed by some writers, aptly enough, "enormous." Moreover, some of the newspapers, and paltry periodicals making a pretence of being newspapers, are ladling out stuff to us in which Lord Dudley is represented as a
 
NOBLE-MINDED ALTRUIST
 
oozing benevolence and beneficence at every pore. This being the condition of things with regard to the Governor-General, it becomes necessary in the interest of truth, to impart to the public some information with regard to Lord Dudley that the majority of Australian journalists are either shockingly ignorant of or else are deliberately suppressing. Let Lord Dudley be judged as to what he is; not as what he ought to be, nor as what he is alleged to be by untruthful scribblers. The tragic story of Quarry Bank should be told, at any rate, before men are induced to grovel at the shrine of "enormous wealth," some of which have been obtained by means that destroyed and desolated the homes of the townsmen of Quarry Bank.
The Quarry Bank business was first made public by the English Land Restoration League – an organisation consisting, largely, of English Churchmen, who deplore the evils of ground landlordism as exhibited in the rural parts of England. The Treasurer of this League is the
 
REV. STEWART D. HEADLAM, B.A., M.L.S.B.,
 
and its secretary is Mr. Frederick Verinder. The League sent out into the rural districts a number of Red Vans, which contained representatives of the League, who made notes as to the conditions of the rural population. In the Red Van report for 1897, a full account of the Quarry Bank business was given, and this report was utilised by J. Morrison Davidson, barrister-at-law, in the fourth volume of his "Annals of Toil." The report also contained photographs of the ruin wrought in Quarry Bank by the operations of Lord Dudley’s agents; and these photographs were reproduced in the London "Labor Annual" for 1899.
Barrister Morrison Davidson calls Lord Dudley "the Autocrat of the Black Country,"  and says that his Lordship is able to "lay waste the dwellings of the people of the Black Country with perfect impunity because in all he does he has "law and order," nay, the "entire resources of civilisation" at his back." "And yet," says Morrison Davidson, "this mighty potentate did not, as one might have expected, "come over" at the Conquest." Dugdale, in his "Baronage" (1675), quaintly says of the ninth Sutton de Dudley that – Betaking himself wholly
 
TO A CONCUBINE.
 
on whom he begot diverse children, he so wasted his estate in the support of her and them that he left not much of that fair inheritance which descended to him, and it so clog’d with debts that , for the disengaging thereof, he married Frances, his grand-daughter and heir, to Humble Ward, the only son of William Ward, a wealthy goldsmith in London, jeweller to the late Queen.
Apparently the title of Earl of Dudley was bestowed upon the descendants of Humble Ward, the goldsmith’s son, for the name of the present Earl of Dudley, who is only the second holder of the title, is William Humble Ward.
The rents received by the Earl of Dudley are said to yield him an income of 130,000 pounds a year, but it is regarded as probable that this estimate is below the mark. The London "Daily Telegraph" for May 9, 1885, declared that the Earl (the father of the present Earl) derived in one year, "from his coal and iron mines in Staffordshire not much less than one million pounds." Besides having three "seats" in the country, the Earl has a London residence. Again, says Barrister Morrison Davidson, "Though by no means a conspicuous paragon of piety, he is the patron of thirteen livings." That is to say, he has, practically, the power to appoint thirteen clergymen to clerical stipendiary positions in charge of the souls of the people of certain parishes. He is also the owner of racehorses and a patron of racing, and, for things alleged to have been done in these capacities, has been caustically criticised by "Bob" Sievier. The town of Dudley, Lord Dudley’s own town, a place that he, with his immense wealth, might easily have made the most beautiful and the most healthy in the United Kingdom, is
 
A HELL UPON EARTH.
 
The Red Van lecturer was struck with horror at the appearance of the town, and he was glad that he was able to escape from such a place. He reports:
The Earl of Dudley is "owner" of most of the land, and all that is under the land, and most that is on the land. Wages are low. This is absolutely the worst town I have ever been in. The greater part of the cottage property here is in a frightful condition. I was very glad to turn my back on Dudley, and hope that I may never have to go there again.
Now, for the matter of the demolition of the township of Quarry Bank. Originally, the land upon which the township was built was a "Chase." In the days "when George the Third was King," however, and men were returned to Parliament as the representatives of pocket boroughs, all sorts of acts of injustice could be perpetrated by those who
 
SAT FOR THE POCKET BOROUGHS.
 
It is not surprising, therefore, to discover that, by Act of Parliament, the Chase, Pensett Chase, was "enclosed" (some people might term it stolen; but it was quite "legal," for it was done by Act of Parliament). The first Lord Dudley was given the right to most of what was on the surface of the Chase, as well as everything that was below the surface. It was provided that, in case of damage done by undermining, not only was the Lord of the Manor responsible, but also all the other freeholders. It appears that this provision as to the liability of the other freeholders has made the Compensation Clause unworkable, and, says Morrison Davidson, "Lord Dudley is consequently master of the situation." In connection with this matter of the Compensation Clause of the Act, one of the chief difficulties in the way of its enforcement is the fact that a map required for the definite ascertainment of the boundaries of Pensett Chase is missing. In the House of Commons the following questions were asked of the Home Secretary by Mr. Brynmor-Jones, Q.C., M.P., concerning
 
THE MISSING MAPS: –
 
Whether he was aware that the Kingswinford Enclosure Act made provision that copies of the map annexed to the award of the Commissioners showing the common lands alloted under the Act should be deposited in the parish church of Kingswinford in the County of Stafford, and in one of her Majesty’s Courts of Record at Westminster; whether he was aware that the copy deposited in the said parish church had disappeared, and that the copy of the map deposited in one of her Majesty’s Courts at Westminster, and duly indexed there, could no longer be found, and that the sole copy now remaining was in the hands of the Lord of the Manor of Kingswinford (Lord Dudley); whether he was aware that, owing to the subsidence of the soil at Quarry Bank, in the said parish, caused by mining operations, there were disputes pending between the Lord of the said Manor and diverse other persons which rendered access to the said map necessary; and whether, under these circumstances, he could see his way to having a certified copy of the said map made, and deposited in the record office.
Barrister Morrison Davidson comments upon these questions by saying, "Need it be said that the vanished map is as much a consideration as ever it was?" Thus, we see that Lord Dudley could not be compelled to compensate those whom his undermining operations might
 
RUIN AND RENDER HOMELESS.
 
As a matter of our common Christianity – not to speak of civilisation – he might, out of his enormous wealth, have handsomely compensated all those whose homes he destroyed, or, better still, he might have refrained from undermining Quarry Bank, or he might have built a new township for those turned out of their homes, but Lord Dudley had the law on his side. So had Shylock. This, according to the report published by the English Land Restoration League, and republished in Barrister Morrison Davidsons’ "Annals of Toil," is how Lord Dudley obtained his pound of flesh: –
After the enclosures, Lord Dudley’s ancestors, and probably some of the other freeholders, sold portions of the surface of what had once been the Chase for building purposes. The little township of Quarry Bank, with its dwelling-houses, its shops, its factories, schools, churches, and chapels, grew up on the slope of the hill, and – as things go in the Black Country – prospered. Within the last few years Lord Dudley has asserted his right to mine for coal or iron under these buildings – many of them standing on land which his predecessors in title sold expressly for building purposes. Owing to the angle at which the coal lies (45 deg.), to its great thickness (eight to ten yards), to its comparatively small depth below the surface (40 or 50 yards), and, it is alleged, to the
 
NEGLECT OF LORD DUDLEY
 
to prop up the surface after the coal had been extracted, the houses of Quarry Bank have suffered so much damage that the general appearance of the place would suggest a recent earthquake or bombardment. The houses of Quarry Bank, where they have not fallen into utter ruin, may be seen in all stages of destruction, the walls leaning at all kinds of angles, often cracked from top to bottom, sometimes with the window-frames and glass broken into fragments with the movements of the walls. People walking along the streets or sitting in the houses can hear the shots fired in the mines under their feet, and feel the foundations shake as the coal is brought down. In the spring of 1897, notice was given to 70 families at once, numbering about 300 souls, that they could only continue to occupy their homes at the risk of their own lives. One of the worst of the
 
CASES OF RUIN WROUGHT
 
by Lord Dudley operations was that of a working miner named Tristram. Public attention was drawn to this case in the London "Daily Chronicle" of September 23, 1897. Morrison Davidson deals with the case; but says that it is but one "out of scores of instances of flagrant and insolent injustice which might be cited." His account is as follows:
A working miner named Tristram, some years ago, borrowed money to erect four houses at Quarry Bank, at a cost of 660 pounds. After many years of hard work he managed to pay off the mortgage. Lord Dudley’s mining operations destroyed the whole of his property, and Lord Dudley’s agent disclaimed all liability for compensation, but offered him 10 pounds (!) as an "act of grace"!
Nay, his Lordship’s benevolence, it would appear, eventually took a supreme form. In order to relieve cases of "urgent distress," he graciously deposited a sum (said to amount to 300 pounds), undertaking, moreover, to supply iron for crampings and wood for shoring threatened houses, if the owners cared to provide the labor. A munificent price to pay, truly, for the luxury of desolating a whole district, and destroying houses and businesses representing, in sundry instances, the industry and savings of a lifetime!
Morrison Davidson states that it is not only the houses and industries, Sunday schools and chapels of the Quarry Bankers that were ruined by Lord Dudley. He says: –
The whole Local Government and Municipal Institutions of the township are equally at his mercy. The District Council is being
 
IMPOVERISHED AND STARVED
 
by the wholesale destruction of rateable hereditaments, while local expenses are being increased by the "crowning-in" of the roads. The proper drainage of the district has to await Lord Dudley’s pleasure at the risk of an epidemic. In almost every discussion at the District Council, the dominant factor is "Lord Dudley’s mining operations." The Chairman of the Kingwinford School Board, in his recent annual review of the work of the board, showed that Lord Dudley, even under these painful circumstances, is not too proud to accept money from the impoverished ratepayers. The Rev. R.T. Stretton told the Board that –
The purchase of mines…cost at Bent-street School Board 570 pounds, and at Quarry Bank 1929 pounds, or a total of 2499 pounds. The Board were at present arranging the further purchase and exchange of mines at Quarry Bank at a cost of 300 pounds. He might say on the subject that the Board and the ratepayers might, he thought, be now reasonably satisfied that their schools would be safe from damage by the mining operations at Quarry Bank, which were doing so much injury to surrounding property. It was necessary for the Board to secure their schools as far as possible from damage. Of course it was not absolutely certain that they had gained their object, but he thought the Board had done all it could in that direction.
So much for the achievements of the Earl of Dudley at Quarry Bank. It is alleged that, speaking some time ago in the House of Lords, Earl Dudley declared himself in favor of Home Rule for Ireland, the sort of Home Rule favored by him being, probably, the Devolution Plan put forward by Earl Dunraven on behalf of the Tory party. No doubt the Dublin Statutory Body proposed by Dunraven would quite satisfy the Home Rule leanings of Lord Dudley, as it would most other Tories; but, in the light of what Lord Dudley is recorded to have done, in the Black Country, God help the people of Ireland if they had such Home Rule – and such landlordism! – as would be given to them by that genius of the ruined township of Quarry Bank! Even Home Rule would cease to be admirable if it afflicted the people of Ireland with a race of titled Shylocks.
 
Source: New Zealand Truth, Issue 172, 3 October 1908, Page 8
 
Notes:
* No wonder the Earl of Dudley, William Humble Ward, left England to make Australia his new home!
* Maybe this is what "Jack the Ripper" meant when he wrote in one of his letters to the police "From Hell"! (From Dudley)
 
 
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