National Recording Project


Detail from: Memorial to 158 Squadron by Peter W. Naylor, 2009

Medieval Life


Type Sculpture

     This series of five sculptures set on a series of five earth mounds depicts various aspects of medieval life in Dudley. The standing two-dimensional figure of the heraldic lion is symbolic of the Dudley family and, of course, the Zoo. Next to it is a giant bronze early cannon, with ten huge concrete cannon balls stacked in a pyramid, humorously pointing at the Castle nearby. The two sections of ruined 'wall' are reminiscent of the Castle, but could also refer to the forms of the Tecton Buildings at the nearby Zoo. Next to this is a giant crucible with a pouring spout with two pairs of tongs on the rim. Below the spout is a trapezium-shaped area of concrete representing metal poured from the crucible. This element of the sculptural cycle alludes to the early history of the iron industry in the area. Dud Dudley, the illegitimate son of the Earl of Dudley, is reputed to have smelted iron with coal instead of charcoal as early as 1619, long before Abraham Darby. Finally, the colossal plough makes reference to medieval agriculture, practised in what is now Dudley Town Centre. The earth mounds are reminiscent of the range of hills on which Dudley is built.
     This is one of a number of works along the route of the Southern Bypass that has been funded under the Per Cent for Art scheme.(1) It forms part of a route through time, starting with the medieval period at Castle Gate Island, and continuing with the theme of the area's industrial heritage at Cinder Bank, and a large sculpture of Pegasus at Scotts Green Island, representing the future of the borough.(2) The artist's original proposal additionally included a small dog, drawn from images found in medieval paintings, confronting a three-dimensional heraldic lion, as well as an anvil next to the crucible and pointing towards the Black Country Museum.

Contributor details

Contributor Role
Burton, Andrew Sculptor

Element details

Part of work Material Dimensions
Heraldic lion Corten steel 2.7m high x 4m long x 3cm deep
Cannon Bronze 4m long x 3m diameter (mouth) x 3.57m high
Cannon balls Concrete, covered in broken brick 1.2m diameter spheres
Ruined wall (2 blocks) Ceramic blocks first block 2.16m high x 4.4m long x 51cm deep; second block 2.75m high x 4.6m long x 51cm deep
Crucible Bronze 3.2m x 1.8m x 2.9m high
Plough Corten steel and wood 3.5m high x 2.4m wide x 2cm deep

PMSA recording information

Reference Region
WMduDUxx027 BM
General condition Good
Surface condition
  • No damage
Structural condition
  • None
  • None
Road Castle Hill
Precise location Castle Hill roundabout
A-Z ref 77 5G
OS ref SO950906
Date of design 1998-2001
Year of unveiling 2001
Unveiling details 16-22 July 2001
Commissioned by Dudley Metropolitan Borough Council
Duty of care Dudley Metropolitan Borough Council
Listing status Not listed
At risk? No known risk

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