|Welsh: Yr Wyddgrug|
Mold High Street, with Christmas lights
Mold shown within Flintshire
|Population||9,568 (2001 Census)|
|OS grid reference|
|Sovereign state||United Kingdom|
Mold (Welsh: Yr Wyddgrug) is a town in Flintshire, Wales, on the River Alyn. It is the administrative seat of Flintshire County Council, and was the county town of Clwyd from 1974 to 1996. According to the 2001 UK Census, it has a population of 9,568.
Origin of the name
There is some debate about the origin of the placename. Mold either originates from the Norman-French "mont-hault" (high hill)or from Robert de Montalt and is recorded as Mohald in a document of 1254. The Welsh language placename of Yr Wyddgrug is recorded as Gythe Gruc in a document of 1280-1, and comes from the words "Yr" (the), "gwydd" (tomb, sepulchre) and "crug" (mound).
A mile west of the town is Maes Garmon, (The Field of Germanus), the traditional site of the Alleluia Victory by British forces led by Germanus of Auxerre against the invading Picts and Scots, which occurred shortly after Easter, AD430.
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 under Welsh rule was deemed to be a "royal stronghold". Mold was recaptured by Edward I during the Welsh Wars in the 1270s. It remained a substantial fortification at the outbreak of the rebellion by Madog ap Llywelyn in 1294. However with the death of the last Lord Montalt in 1329, Mold Castle's importance began to decline. The last mention of the fortification in the Patent Rolls is in the early 15th 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 the township that had been laid out around Mold Castle. Trade between the Welsh community and English merchants in Chester and Whitchurch, Shropshire soon began. During the medieval period, the town held two annual fairs and a weekly market which brought in substantial revenues 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 hanged 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.
By the late 15th century the lordships around Mold had passed to the powerful Stanley family. In 1477 records mention that Thomas Stanley, 1st Earl of Derby had appointed numerous civic officials in Mold (including a mayor), was operating several mills, and had established a courthouse in the town.
However in the 1530s, the Tudor antiquarian John Leland noted the weekly market had been abandoned. By now Mold had two main streets: Steate Byle (Beili) and Streate Dadlede (Dadleu-dy). About 40 houses made up the settlement. By the beginning of the 17th century, the coal industry had began to develop in areas near the town. This industry led to a rise in Mold's population, by the 1630s there were more than 120 houses and huts in the area.
As the government of Elizabeth I had established royal representatives (Justices of the Peace, Sheriffs, and Lords Lieutenant) in every county of Wales. Mold developed into the administrative centre for Flintshire. By the 1760s, the Quarter Sessions were based in the town; the county hall was established in 1833, and the county gaol in 1871.
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.
The Mold Riot
In the summer of 1869 a riot occurred in the town which had considerable effect on the subsequent policing of public disturbances in Great Britain. On 17 May 1869, John Young, the English manager of the nearby Leeswood Green Colliery, angered his workers by announcing a pay cut. He had previously strained relationships with them by banning the use of the Welsh language underground. Two days later, following a meeting at the pithead, the miners attacked John before frogmarching him to the police station. Seven men were arrested and ordered to stand trial on Wednesday 2 June. All were found guilty and the convicted ringleaders, Ismael Jones and John Jones, were sentenced to a month's hard labour. A large crowd had assembled to hear the verdict, and the Chief Constable of Flintshire had arranged for police from all over the county and soldiers from The King's Own Regiment Chester to be present. As the convicts were being transported to the railway station the crowd grew restive and threw missiles at the officers, injuring many of them. On the command of their C.O., Captain Blake, the soldiers opened fire on the crowd, killing four people including one completely innocent bystander, Margaret Younghusband. She was a 19-year-old girl, a domestic servant from Liverpool. She was observing events from the nearby high ground. The ball entered her thigh severing her femoral artery. She bled to death. The others killed were Robert Hannaby a collier from Moss, near Wrexham. He was shot in the head in the act of throwing a stone and died instantly. Edward Bellis, another collier, was shot in the abdomen. A local doctor, Dr Platt, performed surgery to remove the ball but Bellis died shortly afterwards. Elizabeth Jones, living at Coed Talon, wife of collier Isaac Jones, was shot in the back and died days later from the injury. The following week Isaac Jones was one of a number of men tried for their involvement in the riot. He was allowed bail to attend the funeral of his wife. Although he strenuously denied the connection, Daniel Owen's first novel, Rhys Lewis, published in instalments in 1882-1884, was heavily based on these events. Daniel Owen was a writer who lived in Mold.
Despite the closure of its railway station, Mold is still readily accessible by public transport. The nearest station is Buckley railway station, which has connections to Wrexham and Liverpool. Flint railway station, to which Mold is connected by regular bus services, is not much further, and has direct services to Cardiff, London and Manchester. Throughout the day, there are many bus services each hour from Mold Bus Station to Chester and Wrexham as well as other nearby towns (including Denbigh, Holywell and Rhuthin) and villages. Direct bus services connect Mold to Chester railway station (which have been advertised on the departure boards in Chester station).
Sharing a building with Mold Library and Museum is Visit Flintshire, which is the main Tourist Information Office for the town and its surroundings, and provides an outlet for local artists and craftspeople to sell their work.
Mold is a cittaslow (slow food town), which became the first town in Wales to achieve this distinction. Mold has a diverse street market every Wednesday and Saturday at which much fresh produce and many other goods can be obtained. For speciality and fresh local food, the Celyn Farmers' Market is held on the first and third Saturdays of every month in Mold. There have been several producers in the Mold markets who also appeared regularly at Borough Market in London. The Mold Food & Drink Festival is held during September each year. The food festival has a main event area on the edge of the town centre, and many central and nearby businesses contribute to the event. 2012 saw Mold's first annual "November Fest" - a beer festival held in St. Mary’s Church Hall, King Street and venues in and around Mold to promote real ale, cider and wine.
Mold has two secondary schools that serve the town and the surrounding villages. With approximately 1,800 pupils, the Alun School is the largest school in the county. It is adjoined by the only Welsh language secondary school in Flintshire, Ysgol Maes Garmon. It is also home to the largest primary school in the county, Ysgol Bryn Coch, with approximately 650 pupils.
As with the rest of the British Isles, Mold experiences a maritime climate with cool summers and mild winters. The nearest official Met Office weather station for which online records are available is at Loggerheads, about 3 miles west of the town centre.
The highest temperature recorded in the area was 31.7 °C (89.1 °F) during August 1990. However, the warmest day is typically around 26.4 °C (79.5 °F) in an 'average' year, one of around 4 days to reach a temperature of 25.1 °C (77.2 °F) or above.
The lowest temperature recorded was −18.7 °C (−1.7 °F) during December 1981. In a more typical year the coldest night averages around −9.7 °C (14.5 °F), with a total of 62.1 frosty nights.
Rainfall averages 925mm per year, with almost 152 days reporting at least 1mm of precipitation.
|Climate data for Loggerheads 210m asl, 1971-2000, Extremes 1961-2005 (Weather Station 3 Miles West of Mold)|
|Record high °C (°F)||15.7
|Average high °C (°F)||6.3
|Average low °C (°F)||0.3
|Record low °C (°F)||−18.3
|Precipitation mm (inches)||82.24
|Source: Royal Dutch Meteorological Institute|
Companies based in Mold include NWM Media, publisher of The Leader.
- Jonny Buckland, guitarist for Coldplay, hails from Pantymwyn (a village two miles from Mold) and attended the Alun School.
- Ron Hughes, a former professional footballer who enjoyed a long career with Chester City F.C. and played for and managed Mold Alexandra F.C., was born in Mold.
- Rhys Ifans, actor who appeared in the films Notting Hill, The 51st State and Kevin & Perry Go Large, attended Mold's Welsh-speaking high school, Maes Garmon.
- Rhodri Meilir, actor, was born in the town.
- Daniel Owen, Welsh language novelist.
- Adam Walton, BBC Radio Wales DJ, attended the Alun School and comes from the nearby village of Nannerch.
- Richard Wilson, a Welsh landscape painter, and one of the founder members of the Royal Academy, settled in Mold in 1781. He is buried in the grounds of St Mary's Church.
- The Joy Formidable, alternative rock band, were formed in Mold.
- Raymond Davies Hughes, Nazi collaborator and Welsh language broadcaster, was from Mold.
- 2001 Census: Mold. Office for National Statistics. Retrieved 25 September 2008
- Celtic Culture: A Historical Encyclopedia, Volume 1 By John T. Koch p806
- John Marius Wilson. "Descriptive Gazetteer Entry for Mold". Imperial Gazetteer of England and Wales (1870-72). Retrieved 16 october, 2012.
- The Mold gold cape. British Museum. Retrieved 25 September 2008
- Mold cape. BBC Wales. Retrieved 19 October 2007
- Mold Riot of 1869. Historic UK. Retrieved 2 August 2009
- Cittaslow Status for Mold. Mold Town Council. Retrieved 25 September 2008
- "Station Locations". MetOffice.
- "1990 High". KNMI.
- "1971-2000 Average Warmest day". KNMI.
- "1971-2000 Average >25c days". KNMI.
- "December 1981 low". KNMI.
- "1971-2000 average coldest night". KNMI.
- "1971-2000 Frost Incidence". KNMI.
- "1971-2000 average wetdays". KNMI.
- "Loggerheads-Colomendy 1971-2000 averages". Met Office. Retrieved 25 Sep 2011.
- Tourism information for all of Flintshire, including Mold
- Official Tourism and Business Database search for Mold
- Mold Town Council
- Mold Food and Drink Festival
- BBC Wales's Mold website
- Community Website About the Historic Market Town
- www.geograph.co.uk : photos of Mold and surrounding area