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Mercia (England)

Last modified: 2014-11-22 by rob raeside
Keywords: england | mercia |
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[Ancient Flag of Mercia] image by Ivan Sache

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Flag of Mercia

The Flag of Mercia is a gold cross (from corner to corner) on a blue background. This flag flies from Tamworth Castle, and bares no resemblance to the proposed flag. Tamworth is the Capital of Mercia. Local historians here in Tamworth seem to think that this flag is or was the flag of the Kingdom of Mercia, and fly it as often as possible on along with other flags of the region.
Stan Wilde
, 30 May 2003

The saltire flag of Mercia comes from this source, along with the Sussex swallows, the Middlesex and Essex seaxes, the golden dragon of Wessex, the white horse of Kent, the golden crowns of East Anglia and the rampant lion of Northumbria. All seven of the Saxon Heptarchy kingdoms were assigned arms at a much later date.
Source "The Romance of Heraldry" by C.W.Scott-Giles, London 1929, reprinted with revisions 1965 & 1967
Mike Hill, 23 February 2007

The Mercian flag is now up the Flag Registry at Mercia was the ancient kingdom equivalent to what is now known as the English Midlands. The term Mercian being associated with the Midlands long after the end of the kingdom until 1387 when a quote by John Trevisa directly links the identity of Mercia and the Midlands.

The gold saltire on blue has been linked to the kingdom since at least the seventeenth century when it represents the area on John Speed’s atlas. It is likely that, like other ancient kingdoms, the arms may have been an attribution by mediaeval heralds. The saltire refers to the first British martyr, St Alban, after whom the town in Hertfordshire that also uses the saltire is also named.

In Scott-Giles’ “The Romance of Heraldry” the author believes that the saltire was a Mercian symbol and adopted by the town after King Offa founded the monastery to the saint there in 793AD. It is certainly true that the first evidence for the use of the saltire by the town comes a couple of decades after its appearance on John Speed’s map representing Mercia.

The historic capital of the province, Tamworth Castle continues to fly the flag every day. The flag flown from the castle uses a darker shade of blue that that flown by the town, which helps to differentiate between them. The darker shade has been acknowledged in the Mercia registration.
Jason Saber, 30 October 2014

Earlier proposal of flag of Mercia

[Proposed Flag of Mercia] image by Jaume OlléA proposed flag for the Mercia historic region should the region be restored, according Flagmaster 103.
Jaume Ollé
, 22 May 2002

Abstracted from an article in Flagmaster v. 103, "A Flag for Mercia: The Central Region":

Summarizing the article, Mercia was one of three kingdoms (Northumbria, Mercia, Wessex) that were consolidated from the Angle-Saxon heptarchy in the early 9th Century in England, and united with Wessex after the reconquest of the Danelaw in 973 under Edgar. The flag is new, designed for the Region of Mercia. Graham Walker, the designer stated, "The Mercia Movement was founded on 19 August 1993, by a group of individuals inspired by a common vision of a sustainable alternative future. It is a movement rooted in historical reality and intends to re-create Mercia as a legal autonomous entity, within the boundaries which existed prior to 1066 and within an English Confederation." The flag is intended to be adaptable for use by sub-units (i.e., counties) by adding a badge in the white field. The flag has a white field bordered above and below by wavy, light blue bands, which are each from one-quarter to one-fifth the height of the flag. A vertical green panel, one third the length of the flag, at the hoist bears a gold shield, carrying an odal rune and the word MERCIA in black. The blue bands represent the Humber and Thames, the sometime northern and southern boundaries of Mercia. The green vertical is for Offa's Dyke, a defence against the Welsh to the west. The design was approved on 12 May 2001 by the Mercia Second Constitutional Convention.
Rob Raeside, 26 June 2002