By Philip Lloyd
Tony Cattermoul and I are fellow-members of the Civic Society. We also both live in the shadow of Mold’s historic Bailey Hill. Its steep-sided summit was once the site of the town’s 11th century Norman castle. Lower down, on a broad flat area, stands the circle of stones where the Gorsedd of Bards held their ceremonies when the National Eisteddfod visited Mold in 1923 and 1981.
From years of walking with our dogs on the hill, Tony and I have been made aware of another event which took place there, and which is commemorated by a cast-iron plaque. I refer, of course, to the ceremonial planting of an oak-tree near the bowling-green on the occasion of the coronation of Edward VII in 1902. The message on the plaque, boldly executed in raised capital letters, reads as follows:-
Some years ago we both noticed that the plaque had been seriously vandalised. It seemed to have been hit with a heavy blunt instrument along the top. Solid as it was, its top right-hand corner had been broken off. Being a County Councillor, Tony promptly arranged for the removal of the bulk of the plaque to the safety of a Council store with a view to eventual repair and re-instatement.
The top right-hand corner remained, still attached to the upright which held it – now at a drunken angle – in the ground. I took the fragment and the upright home, and, with the liberal application of WD40, succeeded in unscrewing the nut-and-bolt which had held them together for over 90 years. The manufacturers certainly deserve my unsolicited praise as a highly satisfied customer!
1 reported my success to the appropriate Council official, and he soon visited me at my place of work at County Library HQ to collect the smaller piece. Some time later, Tony and I were delighted see that the plaque had been returned to its rightful place, duly repaired and re-painted – white letters on a dark green background. Even though I have examined it carefully several times, I cannot see the join. An excellent job of work!
Mold’s Coronation Oak and its plaque celebrate their centenary this year. When I copied out the words on the plaque for this article in late October, I was saddened to note that the vandals have been at it again. The top right-hand comer has suffered two blows from above – apparently in an attempt to prize the plaque away from the upright at that end. The only result (so far!) is that the thick layer of green paint has been chipped, exposing the bare metal.
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