Mold High Street, with Christmas lights
|Mold shown within Flintshire|
|Population||10,058 (2011 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 2011 UK Census, it has a population of 10,058.
Origin of the name
There is some debate about the origin of the place name. The name "Mold" originates either from the Norman-French "mont-hault" (high hill) or from Robert de Montalt. It 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, AD 430.
Mold developed around Mold Castle. The motte and bailey were built by the Norman Robert de Montalt in around 1140 in conjunction with 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 cantrefi in the Perfeddwlad (English: Middle Country). In 1146, Owain Gwynedd captured the castle. 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. The next few decades were a period of peace; Llywelyn ap Gruffudd built the Welsh native castle of Ewloe further to the east establishing the House of Gwynedd's military control over the area. Under Welsh rule, Mold Castle was deemed to be a "royal stronghold". It was recaptured by the forces of Edward I during the first months of the war of 1276–77. Mold Castle was still 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, the castle's importance began to decline. The last mention of the fortification is in Patent Rolls from the early 15th century.
With the end of the Welsh Wars, English common law was introduced by the Statute of Rhuddlan. This led to an increase in commercial enterprise in the township which had been laid out around Mold Castle. Trade soon began between the Welsh community and English merchants in Chester and Whitchurch, Shropshire. 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 who 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 they were 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.
16th century onwards
In the 1530s, the Tudor antiquarian John Leland noted the weekly market had been abandoned. By now Mold had two main streets: Streate 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 begun to develop in areas near the town. This led to a rise in Mold's population. By the 1630s there were more than 120 houses and huts in the area.
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 Bronze Age mound at Bryn yr Ellyllon (Fairies' or Goblins' Hill) discovered a unique golden cape, which dates from 1900–1600 BC. The cape weighs 560 g and was produced from a single gold ingot about the size of a golf ball. 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, 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 Mold Riot
In summer 1869 there was a riot in the town which had considerable effect on the subsequent policing of public disturbances in Britain.
On 17 May 1869, John Young, the English manager of the nearby 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, after a meeting at the pithead, miners attacked Young before frogmarching him to the police station. Seven men were arrested and ordered to stand trial on 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 4th King's Own Regiment (Lancaster), based temporarily at Chester, to be present. As the convicts were being transported to the railway station, the crowd of 1500 to 2000 grew restive and threw missiles at the officers, injuring many of them. On the command of their commanding officer, Captain Blake, the soldiers opened fire on the crowd, killing four, including one innocent bystander, Margaret Younghusband, a 19-year-old domestic servant from Liverpool, who had been observing events from nearby high ground. The musket ball severed her femoral artery and she bled to death. The others killed included 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, wife of Isaac Jones, living at Coed Talon, was shot in the back and died two days later from the injury.
The Coroner's inquest on the first three deaths was held in the same week as the riot, on Saturday 5 June. The Coroner, Mr Peter Parry, was described as "exceedingly old and infirm and being so deaf as to be compelled to use a 'speaking' trumpet, to which affliction must be added that greater one of partial blindness." He was assisted by the Deputy Coroner, his brother Robert Parry, surgeon, of Mold. The verdict of the Jury, following clear direction of the Coroner, and after retiring for five minutes to consider the matter, was that of justifiable homicide. Later that afternoon the Coroner held a further inquest on the death of Elizabeth Jones, who had died at 11 pm the previous night. The same verdict was reached. The following week Isaac Jones, a collier at Black Diamond, 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. The other men tried were William Griffiths (medical herbalist, former collier, Mold), Rowland Jones (age 25, collier, Pontyblyddan), Gomer Jones (age 17, collier) and William Hughes (collier) At the conclusion of their trial they were found guilty of "felonious wounding" and Lord Chief Justice Bovill sentenced them all to ten years' penal servitude.
Transport and other facilities
Mold railway station closed to passenger traffic in 1962, leaving the town difficult to reach by public transport. The nearest station is at Buckley, 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 trains to Cardiff, London and Manchester. Through the day there are frequent buses from Mold Bus Station to Chester and Wrexham as well as other nearby towns (including Denbigh, Holywell and Ruthin) and villages.
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); it was the first town in Wales to achieve this distinction. Mold has a diverse street market every Wednesday and Saturday for fresh produce and many other goods. 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 each September. 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. The year 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 about 1,800 pupils, the Alun School is the largest school in the county. It is adjoined by the only Welsh medium secondary school in Flintshire, Ysgol Maes Garmon. It is also home to the largest primary school in the county, Ysgol Bryn Coch, with about 650 pupils.
Companies based in Mold include NWN Media, publisher of The Leader.
Like the rest of the British Isles, Mold has 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) in August 1990. However, the warmest day is typically around 26.4 °C (79.5 °F) in an "average" year, one of around four days to reach a temperature of 25.1 °C (77.2 °F) or above.
Annual rainfall averages 925 mm, with almost 152 days having at least 1 mm 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
|Average precipitation mm (inches)||82.24
|Source: Royal Dutch Meteorological Institute|
- Jane Brereton (née Hughes, 1685–1740), poet, was born at Bryn Gruffydd near Mold.
- Jonny Buckland (born 1977), Coldplay guitarist, is from nearby Pantymwyn and attended the Alun School.
- Sîan Gibson (born Siân Foulkes) (1976), actress, was born and raised in Mold.
- Raymond Davies Hughes (1923–1999), airman and Nazi collaborator, was from Mold.
- Ron Hughes (born 1930), footballer with Chester City F.C. and Mold Alexandra F.C., which he managed, was born in Mold.
- Rhys Ifans (born 1967), actor in the films Notting Hill, The 51st State and Kevin & Perry Go Large, attended the Welsh-speaking high school Maes Garmon.
- The Joy Formidable, alternative rock band, were formed in Mold.
- Rhodri Meilir (born 1978), actor, was born in the town.
- Daniel Owen (1836–1895), a novelist writing in Welsh, was born in Mold.
- Adam Walton (born 1971), BBC Radio Wales DJ, was brought up at nearby Nannerch and attended the Alun School.
- Richard Wilson (1714–1782), a landscape painter and founder member of the Royal Academy, settled in Mold in 1781 and lies in St Mary's churchyard.
- "2011 Census: Mold". Office for National Statistics. Retrieved 25 September 2008
- Celtic Culture: A Historical Encyclopedia, Volume 1, by John T. Koch p. 806.
- 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
- North Wales Chronicle, 5 June 1869.
- Manchester Courier and Lancashire General Advertiser, 5 June 1869.
- Manchester Courier and Lancashire General Advertiser, 11 August 1869.
- Liverpool Mercury, 8 June 1869.
- County of Flint record of assizes at Mold 5 August 1869.
- Liverpool Mercury, 10 June 1869.
- Kentish Gazette, 15 June 1869.
- The Daily Post, 5 June 1869.
- Liverpool Daily Post, 7 June 1869.
- 1871 Census of England.
- "Station Name: Mold". Disused Stations. Retrieved 25 February 2017.
- "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.
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