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Warwick, Rhode Island (U.S.)

Kent County

Last modified: 2018-07-27 by rick wyatt
Keywords: warwick | rhode island | kent county |
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[Flag of Warwick, Rhode Island] image provided to Valentin Poposki, 19 November 2008



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Current Flag

Text and image(s) from American City Flags, Raven 9-10 (2002-2003), courtesy of the North American Vexillological Association, which retains copyright. Image(s) from American City Flags by permission of David B. Martucci.

Design

Warwick’s flag has a white field with the city seal centered in full color. The seal consists of a white disk bearing the shield of the city’s coat of arms. In heraldic terminology, the shield is described as: Gules, a chevron between three crosses botonny Or, on a chief Azure, an eagle displayed Or. In lay terms, the shield is a red field with a chevron (inverted “V”) between three crosses, each tip shaped like a trefoil (cloverleaf ), all in gold. The upper third of the shield is blue with a gold eagle facing the hoist with wings extended. Around the white disk is a dark blue ring with the inner lining resembling a chain and the outer lining resembling a rope. On the blue ring THE CITY OF WARWICK, R.I. curves over the top clockwise, 1642 and 1931 are paired at the bottom counterclockwise, and two five-pointed stars separate the inscriptions, all in gold.
James Croft, American City Flags, Raven 9-10, 2002-2003

Symbolism

Warwick was founded on 12 January 1642. It was originally called Shawomet, after a local Indian tribe, a branch of the Nanhiganset (Narragansett) Nation. The land, on the west shore of Narragansett Bay, was purchased from this tribe by Samuel Gorton and his friends. Gorton, like Roger Williams, the founder of the Colony of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations, was a fugitive from Massachusetts for championing religious freedom.

In 1644 Gorton left for England to defend the title to this land, as the Massachusetts-Bay Colony was challenging its ownership. In 1647, a charter was granted by Robert Rich, the Earl of Warwick and Governor- in-Chief of Foreign Plantations. The grateful townspeople then renamed the settlement after their benefactor and adopted his family coat of arms as the town’s arms, changing some colors on the shield. For the next thirty years Massachusetts would dispute the title to this land near Narragansett Bay. At the age of 84, Gorton had to return to England again to secure this land against a Massachusetts challenge.
James Croft, American City Flags, Raven 9-10, 2002-2003

Selection

Unknown.
Flag adopted: Unknown.
James Croft, American City Flags, Raven 9-10, 2002-2003

Designer

Unknown.
James Croft, American City Flags, Raven 9-10, 2002-2003

More about the Flag

Nathaniel Tiffany designed the seal. Although the shield has an “azure” or blue chief (upper section) with a spread-winged golden eagle, on the shield of the family of Warwick the chief is “Or” or gold and the eagle is “Gules” or red. Heraldic tradition requires a city or other entity adopting a coat of arms from a family to change (“difference”) it in some manner, by adding another symbol or changing the colors. Although the bird is clearly an eagle, there has been controversy over this creature. A Warwick Heritage Committee publication entitled: Origin of the Seal of the City of Warwick, Rhode Island (n.d.), argues that the eagle is really a wyvern, a heraldic beast.
James Croft, American City Flags, Raven 9-10, 2002-2003

The city clerk sent me a nice image of the flag of the City of Warwick, Rhode Island.
Valentin Poposki, 19 November 2008

I think Warwick, Rhode Island, and Warwick, England, share arms according to this article:
www.warwickonline.com/warwickonline/index2.php?option=com_content&do_pdf=1&id=15024

It says: "We were founded in the traditional New England way - religious freedom issues and trying to break from the oppressive Massachusetts Bay colony. And our seal is very much a connection to Warwick, England. The flag utilizes that seal in a simple and traditional way," said Mayor Scott Avedisian. "It may not be exciting and trendy, but it is a tangible connection to our vibrant and rich history." "
Alekdsandar Nemet, 20 November 2008