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Delving into Flints past

Published: 09/11/2015

Flint is currently the focus of a major archaeological excavation on the site of the former medieval town which has unearthed secrets of its illustrious past dating back to the 12th Century The archaeological excavation has been taking place since January on the site of the former Leas Council maisonettes site in Flint town centre. The former maisonettes site has been demolished to make way for the ambitious redevelopment of a new Extra Care 73 unit scheme which will be built by Pennaf. Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board (BCUHB) will build a new Medical Centre on the remainder of the site. Both schemes are scheduled to start on site early in 2016. The areas intended for development across the whole regeneration area include the largest modern re-development of a medieval town and its defensive circuit ever undertaken in Wales. Mark Walters, Development Control Archaeologist, Clwyd-Powys Archaeological Trust, The development excavation areas are of regional and national archaeological importance and the archaeology we have found here have provided a unique and unrepeatable opportunity to fully understand the origins and development of the town and the people who settled here. To everyone’s amazement the trench on the Coleshill frontage revealed intact archaeology relating to the town defences within just 20 cm of the library access road surface! This was entirely unexpected as we had thought that the 19th and 20th century expansion of the town would have completely destroyed the rampart bank in particular. The single trench to the north of the maisonettes indicated deep demolition disturbance from the 1960s on the line of the medieval defences, but also the preservation of the earlier 18th century stone frontage walls on Earl Street and possible intact medieval and post medieval deposits at greater depth. The level of preservation of the medieval defences, which turn down Earl Street from Coleshill Street, is wholly unquantified at this stage for the majority of the Earl Street frontage as there were no opportunities to sample the defences due to the presence of the maisonettes on the frontage. All of the archaeological findings made on the Leas site are being fully documented and a detailed report, along with photographs will be available for the public to view at Flint Library and via Flintshire County Councils website at the end of November. Councillor Vicky Perfect, who, along with a number of local elected members had a guided tour of the site said, The Flintshire community clearly has a huge interest in the archaeology judging by the number of people looking in each day and reading the information panels and this is a rare opportunity to engage with the Flintshire community to offer them a better understanding of our past. Initial investigations are now being undertaken on The Duke Walks, Flint which is the adjoining former Council maisonettes site and former Police Station and Magistrates Court which are also earmarked for housing redevelopment early in 2016. Councillor Ian Roberts, Chair of the Flint Regeneration Steering Group said, The findings from the archaeological excavation confirms the cultural and historical significance of Flint town on both a local and national scale. It is important that future generations have the opportunity to learn of its unique past. It is important that we now move forward with the redevelopment of Flint town centre as quickly as possible for the benefit of both local people and businesses alike. Councillor Helen Brown, Cabinet Member for Housing said, I am delighted that the exciting development and regeneration work in Flint Town Centre has also provided a fantastic opportunity for archaeologists to delve deeper into the rich history of Flint. I would like to thank Pennaf and BCUHB for their cooperation and the support they have offered to the team undertaking the excavation.