Flint Castle

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The History of Flint Castle
The History of Flint Castle dates back to 1277. In 1282 the massive fortress of Flint Castle survived a siege which was led by Dafydd ap Gruffydd (1235 - 1283). Dafydd ap Gruffydd, Prince of Gwynedd, was the first person to suffer the barbaric execution of by being hung, drawn and quartered. The Welsh besieged the castle again in 1294 when the English Constable, William de Ralegh, deliberately burned much of the castle and the town to prevent its capture by the Welsh. Extensive repairs were required to return Flint Castle to its former glory. Flint Castle saw the capture of King Richard II (1367 - 1399) by Henry of Bolingbroke. King Richard was forced to return to London and abdicate in favour of Henry of Bolingbroke who became King Henry IV (13671413).

 
 
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Richard was eventually taken to Pontefract Castle in Yorkshire where he infamously murdered in custody. Flint Castle was used by the Royalist during the English Civil War in 1642. In 1647 the castle was besieged and subsequently demolished by the Roundheads, the Parliamentary forces. All that was left of Flint Castle were ruins and so they still remain.  

Flint Castle

Flint Castle

  • The History and Design of Flint Castle
  • Information about the building of Flint Castle
  • When was this Welsh Medieval Castle built?
  • The Layout and Architecture of Flint Castle
  • Who was Prince Dafydd ap Gruffydd?
  • When was Flint Castle ruined and by who?

Key facts and Information about Flint Castle

  • The location of Flint Castle - Flintshire, North East Wales
  • The building of Flint Castle started in 1277
  • The building of Flint Castle was completed in 1280
  • The Architecture / Style - Gothic Architecture aka Edwardian
  • The original cost of building Flint Castle - 8,951
  • Labour required to build Flint Castle - 2,500
  • Built in conjunction with a Bastide - a Welsh Fortified town

Flint - A Concentric Castle Design
Welsh Castles including Flint Castle, built by King Edward I, are referred to as Concentric Castles. The Gothic architecture of the Medieval era together with the design of Concentric Castles encompassed some, or all, of the following elements:

  • A Stronger central Keep or Main Tower
  • A Round or Circular Shaped Keep
  • A High wall, complete with towers surrounded the Keep and the Inner Bailey
  • At least one lower, outer wall surrounded the Inner High Wall
  • Several Outer Walls and Outer Baileys were often added!
  • Several Gatehouses were featured
  • Moats were added which surrounded the whole Concentric Castle complex

Concentric castles were bigger than any previous castles! The walls were thicker, stronger and higher with turrets! The Inner Walls were higher than Outer walls! Drawbridges were added! The interiors were more comfortable, even luxurious! Concentric Castles, like Flint, were very expensive!

Flint Castle Keep - the Ultimate Stronghold
Flint Castle Keep is cylindrical. The Keep is 71 feet in diameter and was three storeys in height ( only the bottom portion of Flint Keep now remains ). Its walls were 23 feet thick. The Keep was built in a similar design to  a French Donjon and was surrounded by its own moat

The Building of Flint Castle
The history of the building of Flint Castle is fascinating. In just a relatively short period of time a significant number of new Welsh Medieval Castles were built or modernised under the instructions of King Edward I (1272-1307) including Flint Castle.  King Edward employed the services of an architect and master builder called Master James of St George to carry out many of these ambitious plans for a chain of Medieval castles to be built in Wales. Flint Castle was built in North Wales on the estuary of the River Dee. An important feature of Flint Castle is its access to the sea. During the construction of Flint Castle men, equipment and building materials were easily transported by boats to the site of the castle. Once Flint Castle was built fresh supplies, provisions and reinforcements prevented the castle occupants from being starved into submission during siege warfare. The advantages of swift and easy accessibility via the sea ensured that the new fortified town, which was built at the same time as the castle, became a successful and prosperous stronghold for its English inhabitants.

Flint - A Welsh Fortified Town (aka Bastide or Burgh)
Flint Castle was constructed in conjunction with a new, fortified town. The idea of building fortified, purpose-built townships were based on a combination of the Bastides of Gascony and the Burghs, or Burhs, built by King Alfred the Great of England. Welsh Medieval Fortified Townships. The 'Bastide' at Flint was a strongly defended town, the construction of which, had been subject to proper planning and architectural design. The layout of the town at Flint took into consideration the following defence factors:

  • The layout of the town's houses and buildings in Flint were planned so that they would not impede the circulation of troops
  • The rapid movement of the troops garrisoned at Flint was ensured by building a main road which provided direct access to the curtain wall and the main gate and towers
  • The central public square in the Flint township doubled as a mustering point for all troops
  • Wall Towers could only be accessed from a doorway on the battlement accessed via a moveable wooden staircase on the inside of the wall
  • The central public square doubled as a mustering point for all troops
  • The Town wall was defended by a number of towers
  • The weakest points of any building are the corners - these towers were therefore round
  • Wall Towers could only be accessed from a doorway on the battlement accessed via a moveable wooden staircase on the inside of the wall

Flint Castle
Flint Castle was one of the ten key Welsh Medieval Castles which were commissioned by King Edward I. The Welsh Medieval Castles built by the English under the direction of King Edward I provided a power base for the Medieval Plantagenet King and ensured that the Welsh were subservient to the new English rule. 

Flint Castle

Edward crushed the Welsh rebellion under Llewellyn ap Gruffudd and conquered his kingdom of Gwynedd in Northern Wales.

Wales was conquered by Edward I and became incorporated into England under the Statute of Rhuddlan ( also called the Statute of Wales ) in 1284 - the building of Flint Castle helped King Edward I to achieve his ambitions. 
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