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Flint
YFflintLB07.JPG
Flint Castle
Flint is located in Flintshire
Flint
Flint
Population 12,953 (2011 Census)
OS grid reference SJ243729
Community
  • Flint
Principal area
Ceremonial county
Country Wales
Sovereign state United Kingdom
Post town FLINT
Postcode district CH6
Dialling code 01352
Police North Wales
Fire North Wales
Ambulance Welsh
EU Parliament Wales
UK Parliament
  • Delyn
Welsh Assembly
  • Delyn
List of places
UK
Wales
Flintshire
53°14′54″N 3°08′09″W / 53.2482°N 3.1358°W / 53.2482; -3.1358

Flint (Welsh: Y Fflint) is a town and community in Flintshire, Wales, lying on the estuary of the River Dee. It is the former county town of Flintshire. According to the 2001 Census, the population of the community of Flint was 12,804, increasing to 12,953 at the 2011 census. The urban area including Holywell and Bagillt had a population of 26,442.

Transport

Flint railway station lies on the North Wales Coast Line and is served by Transport for Wales services from Manchester Piccadilly to Llandudno. A north-south service between Cardiff and Holyhead also calls, as do some Avanti West Coast services between London Euston and Holyhead. Bus services are operated by Arriva Buses Wales.

Geography

Flint is located in north-east Wales, adjoining the River Dee, to the north of the town of Mold. Across the River Dee, the Wirral can be seen from Flint and views to the south of the town include Halkyn Mountain. As the crow flies, Flint is located less than 12 miles from the English urban area of Liverpool, and even closer to its metro area. However, due to the two bays/rivers in between, driving distance is almost twice as long.

History

Wales, Pays de Galles, par John Speed, 1610, BNF Gallica
John Speed's map of Wales, made in 1610. The town of Flint can be seen at the top right

The name refers to the stoney platform on which the castle was built, and was first recorded in 1277 in the French form le Chaylou (cf modern French caillou, "gravel"). Flint has the oldest town charter in Wales, dating from 1284.

Edward I began to build Flint Castle in 1277, during his campaign to conquer Wales. Both castle and town were attacked by the forces of Madog ap Llywelyn during the revolt of 1294-95; the defenders of the town burnt it in order to deny its use to the Welsh.

Richard II was handed over to his enemy Henry Bolingbroke in the castle in 1399. As a consequence, it is the setting for Act III, Scene III of the Shakespeare play Richard II. The castle was the first of Edward I's 'iron ring' of royal castles to be built in Wales, and the design served as the basis for larger castles such as Harlech and Rhuddlan. Owain Glyndŵr unsuccessfully assaulted it at the commencement of his revolt in 1400.

The town did not have a wall, but a protective earthen and wooden palisaded ditch. The outline of this remained visible in the pattern of streets until the mid-1960s, and the medieval boundary can still be traced now. This can be seen in John Speed's map of Flintshire.

In 1969 Flint hosted the National Eisteddfod, and so the town has a circle of Gorsedd stones in the field adjacent to Gwynedd County Primary School. In July 2006 the stones were centre stage in the National Eisteddfod Proclamation Ceremony which formally announced Mold as the 2007 host town of the event.

Culture and demography

In 2001 only 18% of the local population identified as Welsh, although this census controversially had no "Welsh" tick box.

In the census of 2011, 57.1% stated they had Welsh, or Welsh and other combined, identity. Many people in Flint have some knowledge of the Welsh language, although competence varies. Implementation of the European Union's freedom of movement provisions has led to a noticeable increase in the numbers of Polish-language speakers in Flint. Several retail businesses display information in Polish as well as in English and Welsh and the town has a number of Polskie sklepy (Polish shops) specialising in Polish products.

The Flint accent is frequently misidentified with that of Liverpool, although it has arisen in fact as a unique blending of the speech patterns of the area's Welsh speakers, earlier Irish settlers, and the residents of nearby Cheshire, Wirral, and the wider Merseyside region.

There are several songs associated with Flint. The most widely sung is "The Yard". Another popular song is "Fifty German bombers over Flint", which tells the story of a wartime bombing raid over nearby Liverpool that accidentally targeted the town of Flint instead. Verses describe the arrival of the bombers over Flint, and how they were shot down by the "Bagillt Navy". Eventually, the ill-fated German aircrew were fished out by the "Greenfield Fishers". The song is often sung in a drunken, friendly manner to the accompaniment of much hand clapping and revelry.

Community

Footplate sculpture at Flint Station. - geograph.org.uk - 384656
Footplate sculpture at Flint railway station, designed by Brian Fell.

Flint once had its own low-powered television relay transmitter, designed to provide improved coverage of Welsh channels in an area that would otherwise receive only English television signals. Since 2009, signals are now transmitted from Storeton transmitting station on the Wirral.

Perhaps one of the town's most striking images, in addition to the castle, is the group of three tower blocks of flats near the town centre. The first two blocks were built in the 1960s and named Bolingbroke Heights and Richard Heights, with a third, Castle Heights, added shortly afterwards.

Flint has a local football team Flint Town United. They play in the Cymru Alliance.

Brian Fell's sculpture footplate can be seen at Flint railway station. Initially it was thought to be an imitation of the famous Monty Python foot drawn by Terry Gilliam.

The library, leisure centre (renamed in 2012 as the Jade Jones Pavilion) and the town centre have been renovated. Flint Retail Park has also expanded and now Flint is the only town in Flintshire with a Sainsbury's supermarket.

A lifeboat station was established in Flint in 1966, and is run by the RNLI. The lifeboat operates both inshore and inland.

Education

The town has three high schools: St Richard Gwyn Catholic High School, Flint High School and Ysgol Maes Hyfryd. Primary schools in Flint include the Gwynedd School, Cornist Park School, Ysgol Croes Atti (Welsh medium), St Mary's Catholic Primary School and Ysgol Pen Coch.

Notable people with local connections

  • Paul Draper – Songwriter and musician, formerly of Mansun, now a solo artist whose first album "Spooky Action" was released in August 2017. Went to St Richard Gwyn Catholic High School.
  • Ron Hewitt – Starred in Wales's only FIFA World Cup finals appearance.
  • Andy Holden – Former footballer, and nephew of Ron Hewitt.
  • Jade Jones – 2012 and 2016 Olympic taekwondo gold medalist is from Flint and attended Flint High School.
  • Chris Pritchard - President, Mathematical Association, 2021–22.
  • Ian Puleston-Davies – Actor best known for playing the role of Owen Armstrong in ITV's Coronation Street.
  • Ian Rush – Former Liverpool F.C. striker and Wales football captain Ian Rush attended St Richard Gwyn Catholic High school in Flint; some of his family live in the area.
  • Thomas Totty – Admiral who served with Lord Nelson and inherited Cornist Hall, Flint.

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