Bailey Hill Project Manager Jo Lane and her team describe the extent of the works undertaken around “Mold’s Castle”
Members of The Rotary Club of Flint and Holywell were guests of The Mold Town Council when they visited the recently completed Bailey Hill Park in Mold. Showing the Rotarians around the site, The Bailey Hill Project Officer, Jo Lane gave a brief history of the site from its earliest days following the Norman invasion of England and Wales in the 11th century. William “The Conqueror”, following his successful invasion of 1066 rewarded the Norman Knights who helped him defeat the Saxons at the Battle of Hastings, with grants of land. The area now known as Mold was given to a Roger De Monthaul and to protect his new domain, he constructed the first castle in the traditional ”Mott and Bailey” style of that period, with a large mound “The Mott” built at the top of Bailey Hill, positioned to take full advantage of its commanding views looking over the Alyn Vale whilst providing living accommodation for “The Lord” and his knights and families. This would have been a defensive structure protected by wooden palisade fencing, with a lower area occupied by the villagers, (The Bailey) also protected by firstly wooden and later by more substantial and permanent stone walling.
Jo, and three of her volunteer guides, Bill, Graham and Karin explained that following a Heritage Grant from the National Lottery of £1.8m, the entire Bailey Hill site had been dramatically improved with a new visitor centre. New pathways and cosmetic re planning of the site, with improved access was also undertaken, designed to encourage increased visitor numbers. Jo, a Mold resident herself, explained that there were many Mold residents who had lived in the town all their lives but had never explored the site, which in the past had been used for a variety of recreational purposes including tennis courts and a bowling green. Indeed to the lower “Bailey” twelve Gorsedd Stones from the 1922 Eisteddfod can be found on a plateau adjacent to the northerly boundary. The excavation works had also uncovered a wide range of artefacts, many in excellent condition, including arrow heads, building and cooking implements and over twenty skeletons! These skeletons, many of which are in surprisingly good condition, have been sent to Durham University for analysis and Jo stated the entire team were eagerly looking forward to the results of these tests which would give them a much clearer picture of the type of people who lived in Mold in Norman and Mediaeval times, including their ancestry, their diets, life spans etc. The President of The Rotary Club, Malcom Mellor thanked Jo and her team for such an interesting talk and for providing such a fascinating history on the origins of The Town of Mold and its castle.
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