NOTE: This content is old - Published: Monday, Jul 24th, 2017.
A petition launched on Saturday against plans for an ‘Iron Ring’ sculpture costing £395,000 at Flint Castle has gained over 1200 signatures in the first 24 hours.
Plans were unveiled on Friday by Ken Skates AM, Economy and Infrastructure Cabinet Secretary for a 23 feet high, 98 feet wide rusted ring sculpture which, according to the Welsh Government symbolises a giant crown representing “the relationship between the medieval monarchies of Europe and the castles they built.”
— Cerys Matthews MBE (@cerysmatthews) 24 July 2017
Construction of Flint Castle began in 1277, it was the first of a series of castles which formed a chain of fortresses known as Edward I’s “Iron Ring.” they were built as part of the King’s campaign to conquer Wales, he later moved on to construct the castles of Beaumaris, Conwy, Caernarfon and Harlech.
The petition slams the plans calling them “extremely disrespectful to the people of Wales” it says;
‘We the undersigned oppose the building of the Iron Ring outside of Flint Castle as we are well aware of the historical significance of Edward I and his so called Iron Ring as a use to subjugate and oppress our people.
We find this extremely disrespectful to the people of Wales and our ancestors who have battled oppression, subjugation and injustice for hundreds of years.’
We ask that you please rethink the decision to build this monument and use the money elsewhere.’
Plaid Cymru’s North Wales AM Llyr Gruffydd.
“The London-based architects have specifically referenced the ring of steel in drawing up this design.
The ‘ring of steel’ is the description given to the chain of castles across Wales that were built to conquer and subjugate Wales. The architects say this is to celebrate the Year of Legends but from a Welsh perspective, this is certainly not something to celebrate.
It does not either reflect the many rich Welsh legends that could have been the source of a far more appropriate sculpture.
The result of this ‘ring of steel’ and conquest by Edward I was to effectively make Welsh people second-class citizens within their own country.
They were excluded from the walled towns that sprung up around the castles.
It’s inconceivable that someone on the panel deciding on this matter would not have understood the symbolic significance of a sculpture that ‘celebrated’ our conquest.
This is a year when we should be celebrating our legends, which have been the inspiration for many books and films including the Game of Thrones.
Instead we’re getting this inappropriate and frankly insulting piece of artwork.
I’m all for public art, especially work that celebrates and promotes the best of Wales but this sculpture is not doing that – and that’s reflected in the thousands of people who have already signed the petition .”
A Welsh Government press release hailing the plans specifically references Edward I who subjected Wales to English rule, built the castles as well as new towns and settled them with English people.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][mp_carousel_1 carousel_images=”54840,54839,54838,54837,54836″][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]There were around 100 comments on the Deeside.com Facebook page about the proposed sculpture, the majority of those commenting felt the installation was ‘a waste of money’ which could be put to better use in Flint.
At one point the leader of Flintshire County Council Aaron Shotton chipped in to say the council was not funding the plans after it came in for the usual barrage of Facebook criticism.
[miptheme_quote author=”Facebook Comment” style=”text-left”]Which person was wearing rose tinted glasses when they thought of this, Flint castle was not built as a tourist attraction, in its day it was one of many buildings of oppression of a nations people. The people trying to “sell” this idea are making King Edward 1st out to be a latter day Billy Butlin which he certainly was not, he was an out and out tyrant.[/miptheme_quote]
Deputy Leader used Twitter to also point out Flintshire County Council is not funding the project and have not been consulted on it.
The sculpture forms the largest part of a £630,000 project to transform Flint Castle into a key site for tourism.
The Iron Ring was chosen as part of a UK wide competition for an artwork concept to celebrate Wales’ Year of Legends.
The awarding panel for the project was made up from the Welsh Government and the the Arts Council for Wales which is funded by the Welsh Government, the EU and the National Lottery.
[miptheme_quote author=”George King Architects” style=”boxquote text-left”]Iron Ring has been carefully designed to work at many scales.
From afar its striking, iconic form resembles a giant ancient artefact, washed up on the shore of the Dee Estuary.
Its scale and dynamic form, complemented by LED lighting, means that it will become an instantly recognisable landmark for the area.
However, as you approach the sculpture it becomes obvious that piece is more than a sculpture.
A passageway is carved out of the giant ring, allowing visitors to travel over its circumference.
The gently sloping path elevates you above the ground, providing views of the estuary and of Flint Castle[/miptheme_quote]
The winning design was submitted by London and Gloucester based George King Architects who said;
“The sculpture symbolises a giant rusted crown representing the intimate relationship between the medieval monarchies of Europe and the castles that they built.
The sculpture’s precarious balanced form, half buried beneath the ground, half projecting into the air, demonstrates the unstable nature of the crown.
Its location at Flint Castle marks the spot where the crown was famously transferred from one medieval dynasty to another, as described in Shakespeare’s Richard II.
Flint Castle was the setting as Richard II surrendered the crown to Henry IV, a momentous event that shaped the history of Britain and Europe.”[/vc_column_text][vc_column_text]