'Built for war and domination"
Overview of Flint Castle
Although Flint as we know it today is a peaceful town with thriving businesses and interesting historical attractions throughout the town, it was once an uninhabited, desolated land with no prior settlement. This changed with the arrival of Edward I.
The position of the low-lying land around today’s Flint, was considered a disadvantage to many colonisers, but for King Edward I, the pros outweighed the cons. The erection of Flint Castle was the first of many constructed after the Anglo-Welsh war of 1277, which was the beginning of a long and eventful feud between an English King and a Welsh warrior Prince. Sister Castles built by the feared Edward I in his conquest of Wales include; Conwy Castle, Caernarfon Castle, Rhuddlan Castle and the ever impressive Harlech Castle.
Edward I, who commissioned the construction of Flint Castle as a fortress in 1277, chose its location due to the numerous benefits of the nearby river. This historic waterway, known as the River Dee, allowed the castle structure to become a useful outpost for the importation and exportation of valuable goods. In addition to this, the River Dee estuary was only a days march from Chester and provided the king with easy access back to England. With boats providing safe passage when the tide was high and the ability to travel across the shallow water and marshes on foot, or by horse when the tide was low, the benefits of the castle’s erection and its location played a great role in helping Edward I conquer Wales.
Although the castle build was initially taken on by Richard L’Engenour, it was later assigned to the infamous master mason, James of Saint George in 1278. Under the supervision of this one-of-a-kind architect, the construction of Flint Castle accelerated considerably.
To accompany his extravagant architectural style, King Edward employed a large workforce from across England and Wales. Over 1,800 masons, builders and craftsmen worked and lived in or nearby Flint Castle for over 9 tedious years, offering their skills as hard labour which saw the build of the monumental foundations and grand regal structure and battlements. The fact that Flint Castle still dominates this position on the River Dee shows the calibre of skilled labour of the time, because although there is a ruined castle, it has incredibly withstood the test of time, weather and numerous skirmishes for nearly 1000 years.
Six facts about Flint Castle
- Flint Castle was the first of many. The English King, Edward I, demanded that a string of castles were to be built to circle North Wales. These became known as Edward I's 'Iron Ring'.
- Not only was Flint Castle used as a battle defence in Medieval times throughout Edward I's reign, it was also used to face horrendous battles during the Civil War years between 1642 - 1651.
- Over the years, Flint Castle changed hands numerous times and was even in the possession of the English politician, Sir Roger Mostyn. Mostyn repaired the site after it was weathered by battle and neglect, restoring it in the late 1600's.
- Flint Castle's design was inspired by the French fortified towns and strongholds that King Edward I had discovered whilst on his travels, making it the first of its kind in North Wales.
- After the Civil War and whilst in the possession of Parliamentarians, Flint Castle was ordered to be demolished. Through the wages of war and ordered dismantlement, Flint's monumental Castle was worn down to nothing but a skeleton of its former glorious past.
- Flint Castle and Flint town were built at the same time. Before their significant existence, the land was bare and undesirable to many settlers due to the surrounding high ground and marshy River Dee foreshore.
Find out more about Flint Castle
Many hurdles and complications stunted the progress of Flint Castle’s build, for example, the numerous attacks besieged upon the castle by Welsh royals and their devoted mercenaries. In 1282 Flint’s semi-built fortress and its surrounding grounds were attacked and ransacked by supporters of the Welsh prince, Llywelyn ap Gruffydd, and his brother, Dafydd ap Grufydd. These onslaughts forced the operation to come to a halt for over a month, periodically setting King Edward I and his men at a disadvantage in the ground-breaking battle between the two leaders.
Although the constriction of the castle was completed in 1284, it was destined to be rebuilt and repaired for the remainder of its life. This would be due to continuous attacks and rampages that took place over the following years, including the Welsh surprise strike lead by Madog ap Llywelyn causing the fortified town to burn in a blaze of glory and the revolt of Owain Glyndwr who stormed the grounds on numerous occasions (1400 and 1403) with his loyal army and supporters.
Flint Castle, although worn and in ruin, still stands to this day. You can find this inspiring creation towering high above the glistening River Dee estuary, open freely to all members of the public, owned by the government agency Cadw. Visiting the site allows you to relive and experience the unique history Flint Castle and its town has to offer for yourself. With free parking available accompanied by pathways and routes that can be easily accessed by foot or cycling, Flint castle and its surrounding grounds can be explored and toured by anyone and everyone.
If the castles previous lives and fascinating groundworks weren’t enough to convince you, a stone’s throw away from the historic site is Flint’s wondrous coastal path along the River Dee estuary where you can stroll along a beaten track, take in the scenic beauty, admire the animated artworks displayed and marvel at the nature and wildlife living amongst us. Don’t forget to bring your furry four-legged friends with Flint Castle’s dog friendly policy!
For more information about this monumental build and how you can witness the unrivalled site and its turbulent past for yourself, visit the official Cadw website.
Bailey Hill, now known as Mold Castle, is a monumental site located in the town of Mold, Flintshire. With an interesting history, this Park is under reconstruction to embrace its past and make it more accessible to visitors. With stunning views, nature and winding paths, it’s a great distraction after a shopping trip.
Flint is one of many historic towns based in Flintshire, North Wales. With beauty and culture around every corner and a fantastic Castle overlooking the River Dee Foreshore with wildlife and greenery in abundance, this town is a fascinating little find and a great way to fill your holiday with family fun and memories that last a lifetime.
More Places of Interest
Flint Castle is a timeless medieval monument based in Flint, Flintshire. Home to intriguing tales of war and conquest, this sand and stone structure is one of historic importance. Although the site was once an outpost of war, it is now a splendid tourist attraction situated on the shores of the beautiful River Dee estuary.
Mold is the fascinating county town of Flintshire located along the River Alyn. The town is known for it’s backdrop of scenic beauty that includes, the awe inspiring Clwydian Range. Historic elements include; Mold Castle, St. Mary’s Church and Bailey Hill.
You will find Buckley situated in the east of Flintshire only 6 miles from the English border. With the towns location resting on a high point of hills which extends between the valley of the River Alyn and the narrow plain beside the Dee Estuary, the spectacular Clwydian Range can be seen to the West too.