Flint Castle, North Wales

The first Edwardian castle to be built in Wales, Flint Castle is located no more than five miles from Ewloe Castle and was most likely to have been constructed in the mid to late 13th century to command an area brought under control by the English.

Flint Castle consists of a rectangular inner bailey, with a round tower located on three corners. The cylindrical Great Tower (Donjon), situated at the fourth corner, may have provided the principle accommodation at the castle, and is separated by its own moat, the water for which is supplied from the River Dee. Also protected by a moat, detaching the inner and outer baileys, is the southern curtain wall of the enclosure, and a further moat at one time surrounded the outer bailey. There was a gatehouse in this curtain wall but today only the steps survive.

Of the three towers, the North East Tower overlooking the sea, has survived the best and the shaft of a spiral staircase is still visible, along with fireplaces on the first and second floors. It is also possible to determine that the upper rooms were of an irregular hexagonal shape. During Edward's crusades abroad, he was probably inspired to build the Great Tower because it displays a definite French influence. Although only the first floor survives, the unique design clearly shows how the rooms were arranged in a circle, each entered from the adjacent room. Among the remains of the small chapel, a lovely piscina can be found in the right hand wall.

During the Civil War Flint Castle changed hands a number of times before being taken by Parliament in 1646, when the castle suffered severe destruction. However, enough of the castle structure remains to give an impression of how the first Edwardian Welsh castle would have appeared at the end of the 13th century.

Our first visit to Flint Castle, was on a cold and windy day and, as we walked back across the marshland, the bleakness merely emphasised the sorrowful state of the Castle - a once great sandstone fortress - now sadly neglected and defaced.

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