Edward 1st chose the perfect strategic spot for his Castle – a rocky outcrop at the narrowest crossing of the Dee with a plentiful supply of raw material from the Wirral – and the port of Chester only a days march away!
Building it was an immense task! Much of the stone was quarried at Ness and shipped across the river on wooden rafts. Timber was cut and transported from Toxteth Forest and Cheshire. Such a huge feat required a massive work force. Thousands of drafted labourers were forcibly marched from many parts of England, converging on Chester and then onto Flint to set up camp.
In 1277 1800 dykers arrived to dig the foundations. Many were from the Netherlands and the Lincolnshire Fens men experienced in ditch digging. It was tough dangerous work against the tidal clock. By August 1277 numbers had swollen to 2300. All would have lived in the rapidly expanding camps on site, a sprawling mass of humanity.
Once the dykers had left the stonemasons moved in. 36000 stones were prepared at Nesshead Quarry and transported over here. Stone masons would have carved windows, spiral staircases and arrow slits – you can still see some of these features today.
All in all the castle took 9 years to build and had cost just over £6791 – that’s around £4.5million today!For Edward 1st it was a small price to pay for his launch pad for the invasion of Wales.