In the year 1272 AD the English King Henry III was succeeded by his
son King Edward 1. This did not bode well for the principality of Wales
as Edward was determined to impose his authority on the Welsh. Llywelyn
ap Gruffydd, Llywelyn II, Prince
of Wales, had other ideas and refused to
pay homage to the English King.
War was declared in 1276 with the first campaigns centred on the
Severn and the Dee valleys. Llywelyn was forced to retreat to the river
Conwy and formally submitted to the king
at Rhuddlan. Edward seized the opportunity to consolidate his conquests
by building the first of his iron ring of castles ....Flint Castle
and Rhuddlan Castle. They were to be the spring boards for King
Edward's later attacks into Gwynedd and the very heart-lands of Wales.
To conform with Edward's strategy of being able to reinforce and provision
his castles by sea Flint Castle was built on land next to the Dee estuary
between 1277 and 1284. Although today the river
Dee is some way from the castle walls, in the middle ages it filled the
moat at high tide, and history shows that Edward's strategy proved
successful as the castle survived the attacks of Dafydd ap Gruffydd in
1282 and the Welsh revolt led by Owain Glyndwr in 1400.
Having established his fortresses in North Wales, at Flint and Rhuddlan,
King Edward was better able to respond to the next Welsh rebellion and
when it came in 1282 he launched his attack from his bases in north east
Wales and struck deep into the heart of Gwynedd.
Llywelyn ap Gruffydd, Llywelyn the Last, was killed at Builth Wells and another
Welsh revolt foundered on the English sword.
Castle also played it's part in the history of Britain when in August
1399 King Richard II was ambushed at Penmaenhead in Colwyn Bay and surrendered
to Henry Bolingbroke at Flint Castle. He was forced to return
to London and abdicate in favour of Henry who became King Henry IV. Richard
was eventually taken to Pontefract Castle in Yorkshire where it is said
he died in custody.
William Shakespeare records the incident in the play " The Tragedy of
King Richard the Second"
King Richard II :
" Of that sweet way I was in to despair!
What say you now? what comfort have we now?
By heaven, I'll hate him everlastingly
That bids me be of comfort any more.
Go to Flint castle: there I'll pine away;
A king, woe's slave, shall kingly woe obey.
That power I have, discharge; and let them go
To ear the land that hath some hope to grow,
For I have none: let no man speak again
To alter this, for counsel is but vain."
Civil War (1642 - 1651) Flint Castle changed hands several
times between the Royalists and the Parliamentarians. But following its
eventual fall to parliament it was largely destroyed (some time after
1646) and ignominiously used as a quarry
for the town houses leaving only a few remnants that
can be seen today.
It is now in the care of Cadw, the official guardian of the
built heritage of Wales and it's remains still stand silent sentinel
on the banks of the River Dee.
Location : Castle Street, Flint, Flintshire,
Facilities (2007) :
None. But it is free to enter.
Parking on road adjacent to Castle