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  • Writer's pictureRegenerating Dudley

New welcome to historic Stour Bridge

Two new friezes telling the story of King Charles II’s flight across England after his defeat at Worcester in 1651 have recently been installed over the river Stour in Stourbridge.


The two decorative panels which have been fitted on the bridge parapets were designed by borough artist Steve Field and funded via the council’s Community Infrastructure Levy (a levy made on new developments) and a grant obtained with the support of two local community groups, the Rotary Club of Stourbridge, and the former Transition Stourbridge with community forum funding paying for the initial designs. The CIL has funded the detailed design and fabrication.


The two laser cut panels feature the wording STOUR BRIDGE in large lettering, the historic Town Crest in gold and in smaller script ‘Monarch’s Way’ in reference to the king’s escape after defeat by Cromwell in the final battle of the Civil Wars at Worcester in 1651. The young king fled the battle and was pursued by parliamentary troops across the West Midlands and down to the south coast before fleeing to France.


On the side of the bridge adjacent to Fox Removals, the end panels depict Charles II and his companion Lord Wilmot being pursued by Roundhead soldiers. On the other side near The Bonded Warehouse, Cromwell’s men are shown attempting to find Charles further down the route where he hid in an Oak Tree at Boscobel House.


Stourbridge would have been one of the first regions he crossed including Stratford upon Avon, the Cotswolds, Mendips and the South Coast from Charmouth to Shoreham.

The panels were finished locally at the historic Moor Forge of Blacksmith Robert Foxall-Colley in Brierley Hill which has been in business since 1919, following laser cutting at Mid Therm Laser at Cinder Bank. They were painted locally at Surface Technic in Gornal.


Helen Martin, Director of Regeneration & Enterprise at Dudley Council, said:

"We’re proud to celebrate the history of our borough with the creation of this artwork. It marks an important part of our history and also serves to welcome people to one of our wonderful towns.”

Rosanne Adams, one of the Founders of the Transition group, said :

“After a visit to Boscobel House (where Charles II stayed) I became fascinated by his escape and made a book for my grandson with all the anecdotes of the meetings he had on his 6 week journey to Shoreham on Sea (Cromwell’s men almost caught up with him there!).
“It was Transition Stourbridge who got the River Stour sign up on the bridge…before that there was absolutely nothing to indicate it was the river that names our town.  So for me this is a really great event!”

Dale Wilkins, President, Rotary Club of Stourbridge:

"For many years the location of the River Stour and its bridge in Lower High Street, Stourbridge has not been obvious.  The Rotary Club of Stourbridge is pleased to be associated with the provision, by Dudley Council, of panels marking its location."

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