Flint Castle is located in far north eastern Wales on the Dee Estuary, one of the first castles built by King Edward I in 1277 at the end of the first Welsh war as part of his conquest of Wales.
Like its brother castles throughout north Wales, Edward saw Flint as a foothold for his conquest, which was to be cultural as well as military. To that end, he established an English town at Flint, associated with and protected by the castle. Even today, it’s possible to discern the medieval street system he established. The castle was mostly completed by 1282, at which point Prince Dafydd, Llywelyn ap Gruffydd’s younger brother, whose castle of Caergwrlie is nearby, rose in rebellion and besieged it. After the final defeat of Wales six months later, Flint was rebuilt. During the rebellion of Madog ap Llywelyn in 1294, the castellan burned the castle rather than allow the Welsh forces to take it. It was rebuilt again, and a century later, it was at Flint that Richard II agreed to submit to the authority of Henry Bolingbroke. The castle was finally slighted and made unusable by Cromwell’s forces during the English Civil War.
As one of Edward’s first castles in Wales, its style was somewhat different from what came later, since Edward’s chief castle builder, James of St. George, didn’t take over its construction until 1280. Particularly, the decision to convert one of the corner towers into a separate keep with its own moat and gatehouse may be influenced by Aigues-Mortes in the south of France (which we visited in a previous season of Making Sense of Medieval Britain). Also visible today are two baileys, the curtain wall, the outer gatehouse, and the outer ditch and moat system.