A Welsh castle worthy of Shakespeare

“Wales. Before Flint castle.
Enter, with drum and colours, Henry Bolingbroke, Duke of York, Northumberland, Attendants, and forces”
This is how Act III, Scene III in Shakespeare’s The Tragedy of King Richard II. starts. And if Flint Castle is good enough for Shakespeare to mention it (ok, it actually played a part in Richard II. history), it is certainly good enough for me to pay a visit.

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View of the castle from the outer bailey with the prominent Great Tower in the back. The small fragment in the foreground is the remains of the outer gatehouse.

Flint Castle was the first castle to be built by Kind Edward I. in a chain of castles which he built to encircle North Wales, the so-called Iron Ring. It was started in 1277 and stands at the eastern doorway into North Wales.

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Approaching the castle with the South West Tower on the left and the Great Tower on the right. The modern bridge leads over the inner ditch into the castle grounds.

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The North East Tower. The views across the Dee estuary bring us in contact with England, and the Wirral.

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Inside the North East Tower.

In 1282 Dafydd ap Gruffydd, brother of Llywelyn the Last, attempted an uprising against the Crown and attacked the castle. In 1294 it was attacked again by Madog ap Llywelyn and with the end of the Welsh Wars English settlers and merchants were given land and property in the new town of Flint next to the castle.

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West curtain wall and North West Tower from the inner ward. The well is clearly visible in the foreground.

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Entrance into the North West Tower.

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Inside the tower.

In 1399 Richard II of England was held in the castle before being taken back to London. The Royalists held the castle during the English Civil War and it was finally captured by the Parliamentarians in 1647 after a three month long siege. It was partly destroyed under Cromwell’s orders so that it couldn’t be used again.

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Looking back across the grounds towards the bridge and the Great Tower on the right.

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The North East Tower viewed from the top of the Great Tower with the estuary in the background.

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Stone vaulted gallery running through the basement of the Great Tower.

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You really get a feel for the thickness of the walls down there.

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After my tour around the castle I decided to go for a walk along a stretch of the Wales Coast Path. I was really impressed, even though some parts were still closed due to damages caused by the severe weather, and I will definitely explore more of it.

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The Wales Coast Path passes Flint Castle. View of the North East Tower (left) and North West Tower (right).

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The waters of the estuary once ran up to the slopes of the castle’s bailey and would have provided an excellent defensive barrier.

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A reminder of the contrast between our modern world and the Middle Ages – the castle and marches with Connah’s Quay Power Station and Deeside Industrial Park in the background.

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Flint Castle seen from the marches with the Great Tower on the left and the North East Tower on the right.

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3 thoughts on “A Welsh castle worthy of Shakespeare

  1. Pingback: Wales Coast Path – Flint Castle to Greenfield Dock | design and dragons

  2. Any mention of Shakespeare grabs my attention and I am so glad it did. This post is wonderful. It is so interesting and the photos are breathtaking. I especially love the photos in the basement because I love light and shade on stone. Enjoy the rest of your explorations.

    Liked by 1 person

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