A tour of Flint Castle, Flintshire

Flint Castle - external 6

(View from the south-east)

Flint Castle, the first of the great Edwardian castles to be built in north Wales, is situated on the estuary of the river Dee on a rocky outcrop. Its remains are less impressive than some of the other royal castles constructed in this Wales in this period, such as Conwy and Caernarfon, but still has some interesting features.

Flint Castle - front

(South-west tower on left, gatehouse middle, and south-east tower on right)

Flint was constructed by command of Edward I at the beginning of his war with the Welsh prince Llywelyn ap Gruffydd in 1277. The author of the Chronicle of the Princes notes that the king ‘fortified a court in Flint with huge ditches around it’, with more than £7,000 spent on the construction of the castle and town from 1277 to 1286 (to find out more see my book).

Flint Castle - north-west - north-east - and round tower

(view from the south-west. North-west tower on left, north-east tower middle, and south-east tower on the right)

The castle has an outer and inner ward, with four towers surrounding the courtyard of the latter. The south-east tower was unusual in that it was much larger than the others and was separated from them by its own moat, which was accessed via drawbridge.

Flint Castle - great tower view from north-east tower 2

(South-east tower viewed from the north-east tower)

Flint Castle - great tower internal 9.jpg

(Internal view of the south-east tower)

Flint was well maintained throughout the Late Middle Ages and it was where Richard II surrendered to his cousin Henry Bolingbroke in 1399. Flint was subsequently slighted by the Parliamentarians in the seventeenth century and became a ruin.

Flint Castle - south-west tower 2

(the south-west tower)

Flint is an unmanned site and free to visit (subject to opening hours). Substantial masonry remains and it is possible to explore most of the castle. Fantastic views can be obtained from the north-east tower, which can be climbed through using modern steps.

Flint Castle - north-west tower view from north-east tower

(view of the north-west tower from the north-east tower)

Visiting information

Free to visit

Accessible by car (with adjacent car park) and public transport

For further information see the Cadw website

Further reading

D. F. Renn and Richard Avent, Flint Castle, Ewloe Castle (Cardiff: Cadw, 2001)

Dan Spencer, The Castle at War in Medieval England and Wales (Stroud: Amberley Publishing, 2018)

Images

All photographs taken by Dan Spencer

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