History of Flintshire

Flintshire, or the County of Flint, is a very old county, and has perhaps been rather ill served by the powers that be in later times. It is one of the thirteen historic counties of Wales, and dates back to 1284, when Edward I sought to make Wales an enduring part of his English empire by creating shire counties on the English model. However, the border between England and Wales was more of a flexible concept than a physical reality, and power swept back and forth as marcher lords came and went.

One of the interesting things about the county is that it was in several parts - apart from the main lands west of Chester, there was a large chunk to the south, known as Maelor Saesneg and completely surrounded by English counties. A small area north of the Dee, which had become stranded when the river was 'improved' in the 18th century, and other 'exclaves' around Wrexham and Erbistock, completed the set.

But partitioned though it was, Flintshire remained intact throughout it all, prospering in the Industrial Revolution and surviving the carnage of the World Wars. It was brought down by the bureaucrats of the Heath government, finally disappearing in the 1974 welter of reorganisation that saw off many of the historic counties of Great Britain. It was subsumed into the new county of Clwyd, notable mainly for being named after a river rather than any historic kingdom - it seems the civil servants were rather short of inspiration!

Today, Flintshire is an echo of the historic county, and abuts Cheshire (itself now split in twain by politicians). It is a pretty county, embracing the northern part of the Clwydian Hills and the coastline from the Dee estuary out to the Irish Sea, and offering a transition from the easy lowland of the Cheshire Plain to the spectacular hill country that lies beyond.