Mold, Flintshire - History


Shortly after Easter AD430, a mile west of the town is Maes Garmon, (The Field of Germanus). It is the traditional site of the Alleluia Victory by British forces led by Germanus of Auxerre against the invading Picts and Scots.

Mold developed around Mold Castle. The motte and bailey was built by the Norman Robert de Montalt in around 1140. The castle was part of the military invasion of Wales by Anglo-Norman forces. The castle was besieged numerous times by the Princes of Gwynedd as they fought to retake control of the eastern cantrefs in the Perfeddwlad (English: Middle Country). In 1146, Owain Gwynedd may have captured the castle; however the event may refer to another castle of the same name in mid-Wales. By 1167, Henry II was in possession of the castle, although it was recaptured by the Welsh forces of Llywelyn the Great in 1201.

Anglo-Norman authority over the area began again in 1241 when Dafydd ap Llywelyn yielded possession of the castle to the de Montalt family; however he recaptured it from the Plantagenet nobility in 1245. During the next few decades there was a period of peace, Llywelyn the Last built Ewloe Castle further to the east complimenting his military hold on the area. Mold castle remained a Welsh stronghold until Edward I began the Welsh Wars in the 1270s. Following the conquest of Wales, and the subjugation of the rebellion by Madog ap Llywelyn in 1294, Mold Castle had fallen into ruin by the end of the 14th century.

With the end of the Welsh Wars, the Statute of Rhuddlan brought the introduction of English common law. This led to an increase in commercial and business enterprise in Mold as the community began trade with English merchants in Chester and Whitchurch, Shropshire. During the medieval period, the town held an annual fair and market which brought in substantial revenue as drovers brought their livestock to the English-Welsh border to be sold.

Nevertheless tensions between the Welsh and the English remained. During the War of the Roses, Reinalt ab Grufydd ab Bleddyn, a Lancastrian captain that defended Harlech Castle for Henry VI against Yorkist forces, was constantly engaged in feuds with Chester. In 1465 a large number of armed men from Chester arrived at the Mold fair looking for trouble. A fight broke out which led to a pitched battle; eventually Reinalt triumphed and captured Robert Bryne, a former Mayor of Chester. The Welsh captain then took Bryne back to his tower house near Mold and hung him. In retaliation up to 200 men-at-arms were sent from Chester to seize Reinalt. However the Welshman used his military experience to turn the tables on his attackers. He hid in the woods while many of the men entered his home, once inside, he rushed from concealment blocked the door, and set fire to the building trapping those inside. Reinalt then attacked the remainder driving them back towards Chester.

In 1833, workmen digging a prehistoric mound at Bryn yr Ellyllon (Fairies' or Goblins' Hill) discovered a unique golden cape, which dates from 1900-1600 BC in the Bronze Age. The cape weighs 560 g and was produced from a single gold ingot about the size of a golf ball. Unfortunately it was broken when found and the fragments were shared out among the workmen, with the largest piece going to Mr Langford, tenant of the field in which the mound stood. The find was recorded by the vicar of Mold and came to the notice of the British Museum. In 1836 Langford sold his piece to the Museum and subsequently most of the pieces were recovered, though there is a tradition that the wives of some of the workmen sported new jewellery after the find! Restored, the cape now forms one of the great treasures of the British Museum in London.

Mold hosted the National Eisteddfod in 1923, 1991 and 2007. There was an unofficial National Eisteddfod event in 1873.

Mold was linked to Chester by the Mold Railway, with a large British Rail station together with adjacent marshalling yards and engine sheds; however, these closed when Croes Newydd at Wrexham was opened. The station was closed in 1962 in the Beeching Cuts of the early 1960s, though the track survived until the mid 1980s to serve the Synthite chemical works. A Tesco supermarket was built on the station site in the 1990s. The nearest station is now Buckley railway station.

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