Located on the north-east coast, Flint Castle famously features in Shakespeare’s Richard II. Begun in 1277, it was one of the first castles to be built in Wales by King Edward I. Its solitary round ‘Donjon’ tower, isolated from the rest of the inner ward, is unique in design. This is where Edward I’s “Iron Ring” of fortresses across north Wales to subdue the Welsh first began. Just 122 years on, Flint was the setting to another turning point in history. Edward I’s great, great grandson Richard II came face to face with his cousin, childhood playmate and rival to the crown Henry Bolingbroke. This scene, set at Flint Castle, famously features in Shakespeare’s Richard II.
The castle serves as an important setting for a crucial part of the play — the moment that Richard II is captured: “Cousin, I am too young to be your father, Though you are old enough to be my heir. What you will have, I’ll give, and willing too; For do we must what force will have us do” But perhaps it was Richard’s hound, Mathe, who made him realise the crown had been lost. Ever present at the King’s side, it is said that Mathe ran to greet Henry on his arrival; faithful to the crown, not the man.
“The greyhound maketh you cheer this day as king of England, as ye shall be; and I shall be deposed. The greyhound possesses this knowledge naturally” Richard II had given up his throne. Henry escorted him to London where Richard abdicated and later died in captivity. King Henry IV’s reign had begun and Richard’s sad fate, played out at Flint Castle, forever immortalised in Shakespeare’s words.