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Northumberland (England)

Last modified: 2015-02-21 by rob raeside
Keywords: northumberland | england |
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[Northumbria] image by Thanh-Tâm Lê

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About the flag

Northumberland exists as a county and the flag is based on the arms granted to the Council in 1951. In 1996 it was said to be flying in 200 locations within the county.
David Prothero, 22 June 2001

The following information appeared on the website of Northumberland County Council:

The Northumberland flag is based on a traditional flag which is probably the oldest known flag design in Britain. The Venerable Bede, England's first historian, records a banner of purple and gold which hung over the tomb of St Oswald, the 7th century king of Northumbria. The flag for this ancient kingdom is now generally regarded as having 8 alternate stripes of red and gold. Later, in medieval times, the colours were adopted by the first Earl of Northumberland. The present pattern was granted to Northumberland County Council as its own banner in 1951. In November 1995, the Council took the historic decision for its own flag to become the flag for the modern day County of Northumberland; and it has rapidly been adopted as a symbol for the County by a wide range of businesses and individuals.

Thanh-Tâm Lê, 13 March 1999

The following item appeared in the Newcastle Journal of 1 February 2000:

The flag of Bernicia has eight stripes alternating red and gold and as Mr Wilson points out, Bernicia was the ancient Angle Kingdom which stretched from the Tees to the Forth.

The Northumberland flag however, used the traditional flag as its model to create a new flag which can only be flown in the present, modern County of Northumberland. This flag was granted to the council as part of its arms in December 1951, and on 15 November 1995 the county council made the historic decision to permit the flying of this flag anywhere within the present county and to register this 'new' flag with the United Kingdom Flag Institute.

It fulfils a 1,200-year tradition in which the county has been associated with the colours red and gold.

As described in the history, the Northumberland flag should only be rightfully flown within the present administrative County of Northumberland (e.g. not Newcastle or Whitley Bay). It should not, for example, be flown by a Northumberland company at their distribution depot outside the county. The flag may be flown on any appropriate flagpole within the county by businesses, voluntary organisations and individuals.

Spokesperson for Community, Services,
Northumberland County Council.

David C. Fowler, 1 February 2000

According to an article by William Crampton in Flagmaster 083 (1996) the flag has the traditional pales of Northumberland interlocked to represent the stones of the Roman wall. Each pale should be outlined separately, but in practice this is rarely, if ever done.
David Prothero, 25 September 2001

Variant size

[Northumberland] image by Marcus E.V. Schmöger

The Northumberland flag is also seen in the dimensions 1:2.