Evaluation trenches to west of outer ward. Site levelled in 20th century. Trace of 19th century chemical works and waste located. To the south the outer wall was located below the car park. Limits of outer ward defined (Hannaford, H R 1988, 71). Excavations were carried out at Flint Castle from 1971 to assist in the conservation of structures and to enhance their display. The inner moat was sectioned against the inner curtain wall and the South-West tower, showing that it originally had a nearly vertical outer face 20ft high. Excavation within the outer ward revealed road surfaces, boundary gullies and a large post hole, but no remains of major buildings. the deep moat between the outer ward and the town was found to be crossed by a submerged rock causeway, at the castle end of which were the remains of a masonry gatehouse which had contained a pivoting bridge. This gatehouse sealed construction-period timbers and part of a turf revetment. Stone supports for a multi-span timber bridge, contemporary with the gatehouse, survived on the rock causeway. A stone-revetted causeway replaced the bridge in the early C17th. The north-east end of the outer curtain wall was examined: it continues towards the Great Tower as a narrower wall revetting the make-up of the outer ward. Part of a construction-period mason's lodge was seen here. A well-preserved ashlar wall revetting the deep channel of the outer moat was revealed nearby. In the town of Flint, part of the Edwardian defences was sectioned (Miles, T J, 1996, 67-151). (Clwyd Powys Archaeological Trust HER)
Begun in 1277, one of the first castles to be built in Wales by King Edward I. Its most impressive feature is a solitary round tower, isolated from the rest of the inner ward. It is sited on a rocky outcrop on the estuary of the river Dee which may have been the site of an earlier castle. Consists of an almost square inner ward, c.52m by 57m, with round angle towers except on the SE, where there is a detached round tower, c.22m in diameter. On the SW is an outer, much ruined, sub-rectangular enclosure, c.100m NW-SE by 68m. The largest tower, which was never finished, overlooks the small gate. Unlike most castles little evidence has been found for domestic buildings within the wards. The castle was surrounded by a deep moat and outer defences of timber were still being maintained in 1337.
"In the long term, the great tower of Flint was more admired (and therefore more imitated) than any other building begun by Edward I. It is a sad irony, therefore, that it remains amongst both scholars and visitors the least loved of all the royal castles." (Goodall, 2009, p. 162). Much of the glory of the great tower of Flint would have been in the 'carola lignee nobili et pulchra' (noble and beautiful timber gallery) built by Richard the Engineer (Turner, 2009, p. 50). The lose of this, and the complexity of the tower's design, make it a difficult building to understand and appreciate, particularly if one looks at castles as primarily military buildings. It may be the limited view of earlier castellologists have lead to them basically ignoring this important building because it did not fit into that view.