Mold High Street, with Christmas lights
|Population||10,058 (2011 Census)|
|OS grid reference|
|Sovereign state||United Kingdom|
|Senedd Cymru – Welsh Parliament|
Mold (Welsh: Yr Wyddgrug) is a Welsh town and community in Flintshire, on the River Alyn. It is the county town and administrative seat of Flintshire County Council, as it was of Clwyd from 1974 to 1996. According to the 2011 UK Census, it had a population of 10,058. A 2019 estimate puts it at 10,123.
Origin of the name
The original Welsh-language place name, Yr Wyddgrug was recorded as Gythe Gruc in a document of 1280–1281, and means "The Mound of the Tomb/Sepulchre".
The name "Mold" originates from the Norman-French mont-hault ("high hill"). The name was originally applied to the site of Mold Castle in connection with its builder Robert de Montalt, an Anglo-Norman lord. It is recorded as Mohald in a document of 1254.
A mile west of the town is Maes Garmon, ("The Field of Germanus"), the traditional site of the "Alleluia Victory" by a force of Romano-Britons 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), and about 40 houses making up the settlement. By the beginning of the 17th century, the population was rising with the development of the coal industry near the town. 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) found a unique golden cape dating from 1900 to 1600 BCE. It weighs 560 grams (20 oz) and was made from a single gold ingot about the size of a golf ball. It was broken when found and the fragments shared among the workmen, with the largest piece for 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, which has since acquired most of the pieces, though it is said that some wives of the workmen sported new jewellery after the find. The restored cape now belongs to the British Museum.
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 and adjacent marshalling yards and engine sheds; however, the latter closed when Croes Newydd at Wrexham was opened, as did the station 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 in Leeswood, 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 transported to the railway station, the crowd of 1500–2000 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 an innocent bystander, Margaret Younghusband, a 19-year-old domestic servant from Liverpool, 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 week of the riot, on Saturday 5 June. The Coroner, 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 Jury's verdict, following clear direction from the Coroner and after retiring for only 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 several men tried for 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) The trial found them guilty of "felonious wounding" and Lord Chief Justice Bovill sentenced them all to ten years' penal servitude.
Mold railway station closed to passengers in 1962. The nearest station is now Buckley, which has services to Wrexham and Liverpool. Flint railway station, to which Mold has regular bus services, is not much further and has direct trains to Cardiff, London and Manchester. There are frequent daytime bus services from the bus station to Chester, Wrexham, Denbigh, Holywell, Ruthin and other places.
- Loggerheads Country Park is nearby.
- St Mary's Church, Mold is the town's parish church, dating from the 15th century.
Sharing a building with Mold Library and Museum is Visit Flintshire, the main Tourist Information Office for the town and its surroundings, which provides a sales outlet for local arts and crafts.
Mold is a cittaslow – the first town in Wales to achieve the distinction. It has a varied street market on Wednesday and Saturday for fresh produce and other goods. For speciality and fresh local food, Celyn Farmers' Market is held on the first and third Saturdays of each month in Mold. Several producers who feature in the Mold markets also appear regularly at the Borough Market in London.
The Mold Food and Drink Festival is held each September, with a main event area on the edge of the town centre and many central and nearby businesses contributing. 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. The Alun School with about 1,800 pupils is the largest school in the county. It is adjoined by Flintshire's only Welsh-medium secondary school: Ysgol Maes Garmon. The town also has 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.
Mold has a typical British maritime climate of cool summers and mild winters. The nearest Met Office weather station for which online records are available is at Loggerheads, about three miles to the west.
The highest temperature recorded was 31.7 °C (89.1 °F) in August 1990. However, the warmest day is typically around 26.4 °C (79.5 °F), one of around four days to reach a temperature of 25.1 °C (77.2 °F) or above.
Annual rainfall averages 925 mm; 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|
- Thomas Henry Blythe (born Thomas Williams, 1822–1883), emigrated to San Francisco, United States, and became a wealthy businessman.
- Jane Brereton (née Hughes, 1685–1740), poet, was born at Bryn Gruffydd near Mold.
- 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 films, attended the Welsh-language high school Maes Garmon.
- 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 is buried in St Mary's churchyard.
- UK Census (2011). "Local Area Report – Mold Parish (W04000197)". Nomis. Office for National Statistics. Retrieved 19 December 2019.
- http://www.moldtowncouncil.org.uk/Mold-TC/Default.aspx[bare URL]
- City Population site. Retrieved 3 December 2020.
- John T. Koch: Celtic Culture: A Historical Encyclopedia, Volume 1, 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. Archived from the original on 10 October 2008. Retrieved 25 September 2008c. Cite journal requires
- "Mold cape". BBC Wales. Retrieved 19 October 2007. Cite journal requires
- "Mold Riot of 1869". Historic UK. Retrieved 2 August 2009. Cite journal requires
- 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. Archived from the original on 3 July 2009. Retrieved 25 September 2008. Cite journal requires
- Food festival site. Retrieved 27 April 2019.
-  Archived 2013-11-03 at the Wayback Machine
- "Station Locations". MetOffice. Archived from the original on 2 July 2001.
- "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 wet days". KNMI.
- "Loggerheads-Colomendy 1971–2000 averages". Met Office. Retrieved 25 September 2011.
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