List of English flags

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This is a list of flags used exclusively in England. For flags used in the United Kingdom, see List of British flags.
List of British flags
Flag of the United Kingdom.svg
English flags
Northern Irish flags
Scottish flags
Welsh flags
Royal Standards

This is a list of English flags, including symbolic national and sub-national flags, standards and banners used exclusively in England.

The College of Arms is the authority on the flying of flags in England and maintains the only official register of flags. It was established in 1484 and as part of the Royal Household operates under the authority of The Crown.[1] A separate private body called the Flag Institute, financed by its own membership, also maintains a registry of United Kingdom flags that it styles 'the UK Flag Registry', though this has no official status under English law.[2]

Certain classes of flag enjoy a special status within English planning law and can be flown without needing planning permission as advertisements. These include any country’s national flag, civil ensign or civil air ensign; the flag of the Commonwealth, the European Union, the United Nations or any other international organisation of which the United Kingdom is a member; a flag of any island, county, district, borough, burgh, parish, city, town or village within the United Kingdom; the flag of the Black Country, East Anglia, Wessex, any Part of Lincolnshire, any Riding of Yorkshire or any historic county within the United Kingdom; the flag of St David; the flag of St Patrick; the flag of any administrative area within any country outside the United Kingdom; any flag of Her Majesty’s Forces; and the Armed Forces Day flag.[3]

National flag[edit]

Flag Date Use Description
Flag of the United Kingdom.svg from c. 1801 in present form De jure flag of the United Kingdom, used by HM Government in England
Amalgamation of St. George's Cross, St. Andrew's Saltire and St. Patrick's Saltire.
Flag of England.svg from c. 1245 De facto Flag of England
(also known as the St George's Cross)
A centred red cross on a white background, 3:5.[4]

Royal Standards[edit]

Flag Date Use Description
Royal Standard of the United Kingdom.svg 1837 The Royal Standard of the United Kingdom. It is the banner of Queen Elizabeth II in her capacity as Queen of the United Kingdom. Split into quadrants, the first and fourth quadrants contain three gold lions passant on a red field (representing England and Wales); the second quadrant contains a red lion rampant on a gold field (representing Scotland); the third quadrant contains a gold harp on a blue field (representing Ireland).
Flag of the Duke of Cornwall.svg Standard of the Duke of Cornwall 15 golden circles forming a triangle on a black field
Flag of the Duchy of Lancaster.svg Standard of the Duchy of Lancaster The Royal Banner of England, with a three point label, each containing three fleurs-de-lis
Lord Warden Cinque Ports (Lord Boyce).svg 1305 Standard of the Lord Warden of the Cinque Ports A banner of the Lord's coat of arms featuring three Lions passant guardant con-joined to these hulls, all in gold

Government[edit]

Flag Date Use Description
Flag of Metropolitan Police.svg 1829 Flag of the Metropolitan Police The Badge of the Metropolitan Police on a blue background, with white squares at the edge

Church[edit]

Flag Date Use Description
Compassrose Flag.svg 1954 Flag of the Anglican Communion A dark blue background with the symbol of the Anglican Communion (a compass rose surmounted by a bishop's mitre; in the centre is a cross of St. George). The Greek motto, Ἡ ἀλήθεια ἐλευθερώσει ὑμᾶς ("The truth will set you free") is a quotation from John 8:32.
Standard of Westminster Abbey.svg Flag of Westminster Abbey Tudor arms between Tudor roses, above Edward the Confessor's arms

Historic counties[edit]

Flag Date Use Description
Flag of Buckinghamshire.svg Traditional Flag of Buckinghamshirereg Traditional county flag. A field party per pale of black and red with a white swan.
Flag of Cornwall.svg early 19th century Saint Piran's Flag, the Flag of Cornwallreg
A white cross on a black field, 3:5.[5]
Cumberland flag.svg 19 September 1950 The Flag of Cumberland Design based on the arms of the former Cumberland County Council.[6]
Derbyshire flag.svg 22 September 2006 Flag of Derbyshirereg
A green cross with a white border on a sky blue field, with a gold Tudor rose in the centre, 3:5.[7]
Flag of Devon.svg 23 July 2002 Flag of Devon, alias St Petroc's Crossreg
A white cross with a black border on a green field, 3:5.[8]
County Durham Flag.svg 21 November 2013 Flag of County Durham A gold and blue horizontal bicolour with St. Cuthbert's Cross countercharged upon it, 3:5.[9]
Saint Wite's Cross.svg 16 September 2008 Flag of Dorset – The Dorset Cross, aka St Wite's Crossreg
A white cross with a red border on a gold field, 3:5.[10]
Flag of Essex.svg Ancient Flag of Essexreg
A red field with three white, gold hilted Saxon swords or Seaxes.[11]
Severn Cross.svg March 2008 Flag of Gloucestershire – The Severn Crossreg
A mid-blue cross, outlined in cream, against an apple green background – the winning entry in a competition to commemorate the county's millennium.[12]
Hertsflag.jpg November 2008 Flag of Hertfordshirereg coa Against eight blue and white wavy lines, representing the county's rivers, a gold shield bearing a resting deer or hart.[13]
FlagOfHuntingdonshire.PNG 25 June 2009 Flag of Huntingdonshire reg On a green background, a gold, ribboned hunting horn – a flag displayed on the crest of the district council (and former county council) arms
Flag of Kent.svg 1605 Flag of Kentreg
A red field with a white horse in the centre, 3:5.[14]
FlagOfLancashire.svg Modern form since 2008 Flag of Lancashirereg
The Red Rose of Lancashire on a yellow field (originally a white field) [15][16]
Flag of Lincolnshire.svg 24 October 2005 Flag of Lincolnshirereg
A red cross with yellow trimming on a blue and green field, and a yellow fleur de lys in the middle of the cross.[17]
Flag of Middlesex.svg 1909 Flag of Middlesexreg A red field with three white, gold hilted Saxon swords or Seaxes under a gold Saxon crown.[18]
Flag of Northumberland.svg 7th century (modern form 1951) Flag of Northumberlandreg coa Historical flag readopted in 1951 and used officially by the county council, with use permitted to local people. Flies in more than 200 locations across the county.[19] Eight yellow rectangles on a red field, note that the canton (top corner nearest the flagpole) should be gold.[20]
County Flag of Nottinghamshire.svg 20 May 2011 Flag of Nottinghamshirereg The inescutcheon represents Robin Hood
Proposed Flag of Oxfordshire.jpg 20 May 2011 Flag of Oxfordshire – Saint Frideswide Cross A white cross on a blue and green field.
Flag of Shropshire.svg March 2012 Flag of Shropshirereg The leopards' faces, fondly referred to as loggerheads locally, are a traditional emblem for Shropshire and have historically evolved from the loggerheads on the Shrewsbury town arms. The erminois aspect differentiates the county flag with that of its county town.
Somerset Flag.svg July 2013 County flag of Somersetreg A red dragon rampant on a gold field, from a longstanding local badge; the winning entry in a competition
Flag of Sussex.svg 20 May 2011 County flag of Sussexreg Six gold martlets on blue are the traditional arms of Sussex
County Flag of Warwickshire.svg 1931 County Flag of Warwickshirecoa A banner based on the County Coat of Arms, a silver bear with red muzzle and gold collar and chain supporting a silver ragged staff on a red shield, with three red crosses (each of which has its arms crossed) on a gold band at the top. The bear and staff is taken from the Coats of Arms of the Earls of Warwick, although the Bear is muzzled but not chained to the staff.[21] The chief is derived from the arms of the Beauchamp family, Earls of Warwick.
Flag of Westmorland.svg 30 September 2011 Flag of Westmorlandreg A golden heraldic apple tree on white and red bars
County Flag of Wiltshire.svg 5 June 2007 Flag of Wiltshirereg Alternating stripes of green and white represent the grassy downs of the county and their chalk underlay. The colours can represent hope, joy and safety (green) and peace (white). In the centre, the male Great Bustard is depicted in gold on a solid green circle to represent the open grassland. The circle is bordered in six sections alternating green and white representing the stone circles of Stonehenge and Avebury in the county. The six portions also represent the six surrounding counties of Gloucestershire, Oxfordshire, Berkshire, Hampshire, Dorset and Somerset.
FlagOfYorkshire.svg 1965 or earlier County flag of Yorkshirereg The White Rose of Yorkshire (the traditional county emblem) on a blue field.[22]

Islands[edit]

Flag Date Use Description
Flag of Isle of Portland.gif 14 April 2010 Flag of the Isle of Portlandreg The colours represent the landscape of the area: Portland stone, grass and the sea. The white tower represents the castles and the naval coronet shows the long connection with the Royal Navy.[23]
ScillonianCross.svg February 2002 Flag of the Isles of Scillyreg The Scillonian Cross – A white cross on an orange upper field and blue lower field with five white stars in the upper right quarter, 3:5.[24]
Flag of the Isle of Wight.svg January 2009 Flag of the Isle of Wightreg A white lozenge with an upper indent or "pile" on a light blue background, over six wavy stripes of blue and white.

Local government areas[edit]

Heraldic bearings are granted to individuals and corporations by the Lord Lyon in Scotland and by the College of Arms in England, Northern Ireland and Wales on behalf of the sovereign as the fount of all honours. Local authority flags come within this category when based on the arms granted to that authority, and such a flag is the authority's personal property, representing that authority rather than its area.


Flag Date Use Description
Flag of Bedfordshire.svg Flag of the former Bedfordshire Council Red and gold quarters split horizontally by blue and white waves and vertically with a black band containing three white shells.

The red and gold quarters are from the arms of the Beauchamps, the leading family in the county after the Norman Conquest. The waves signify the River Great Ouse, and the shells are from the arms of the Russell Family, commemorating their services to the state and to the county.

County Flag of Berkshire (commercial version).png Commercially available Flag of Berkshire Two blue lions passant (referencing Berkshire's Royal and Norman connections) and a Saxon Crown (referencing Berkshire's formative Saxon history) on a white background.
Flag of Cambridgeshire.svg Flag of Cambridgeshire Council Local authority flag. Gold with a red bordure based on the Scottish tressure. The blue wavy pallets represent the many rivers of the County, while the straight pallets are for the drains and dykes that run through the Fenlands.
County Flag of Cheshire.png Flag of the former Cheshire Council Local authority flag. A trio of golden wheatsheaves on blue which have been associated with the Earldom of Chester since the late 12th century.
County Flag of Cumbria.svg Flag of Cumbria Council On the green border are Parnassus flowers (representing Cumberland) interspersed with white roses (Yorkshire) superimposed with red roses (Lancashire). The centre of the shield is made up of segments of blue, white, yellow and green divided by wavy vertical lines and zig-zag horizontal lines. This depicts the new County and from left to right the vertical lines of segments show: blue and white for the sea, blue and yellow (gold) for the lakes and agriculture, green and white for mountains and lakes and green and yellow (gold) for mountains and agriculture.
County Flag of Dorset (older version).png Commercially available Flag of Dorset Council Three red lions passant (referencing Dorset's Royal and Norman connections) and a fleur-de-lys on a white background. Banner of the Dorset Council Arms.
Flag of Durham County Council.svg Flag of Durham County Council Local authority flag. A yellow cross on a blue field with lions rampant in each quarter, the centre of the cross is broken with a white rose and black diamonds on each arm. Flag modified from the arms of the Bishopric of Durham[25]
Flag of East Riding of Yorkshire.JPG Flag of East Riding of Yorkshire Council Local authority flag based on the coat of arms.
County Flag of East Sussex.png Flag of East Sussex Council A variation on the arms attributed to the Kingdom of Sussex.
Flag of Greater London.svg Flag of Greater London The flag used officially between 1965 and 1984. Prior to 1965 it had been the flag of the County of London from 1889. Since 1984 the flag has had no official status.
Unofficial County Flag of Greater Manchester.svg Flag of the former Greater Manchester Council Local authority flag. "Gules, ten Towers three two three two, all within a Bordure embattled Or".
Flag of Hampshire.svg Flag of Hampshire Council Local authority flag.
County Flag of Herefordshire.png Flag of Herefordshire Council Local authority flag. The red field represents the county's red earth. Across this runs a white and blue wave for the River Wye. In chief is a gold lion from the arms of the City of Hereford, and in base is a Herefordshire Bull's head.
Hertsflag.jpg November 2008 Flag of Hertfordshire coa Against eight blue and white wavy lines, representing the county's rivers, a gold shield bearing a resting deer or hart. (Also used as a county flag.)[13]
County Flag of Leicestershire.png Flag of Leicestershire Council
The flag is divided into four quarters. The first quarter is a cinquefol, or five within a red circle,the second quarter is charged a white lion with two tails on a red ground, the third quarter shows an ermine plume on a red ground and the fourth shows a black maunch.[26]
County Flag of Merseyside.svg Flag of the former Merseyside Council The waves represent the River Mersey; the six golden mural crowns represent the six County Boroughs—Birkenhead, Bootle, Liverpool, Southport, St Helens, and Wallasey—that Merseyside was created from..
County Flag of Norfolk.svg Flag of Norfolk Council The top part of the flag, shows a lion from the Royal arms of England together with ostrich plumes and coronet referring to the Prince of Wales. This is a very special honour for the County Council, the King, in the Royal Licence, specifically instructs on the design of the arms to be granted "in commemoration of our long residence in Norfolk". This of course refers to Sandringham. The lower part of the flag comprises the arms attributted to Ralph de Gael or Guader, first Earl of Norfolk circa 1069. The ermine may well refer to Brittany as Ralph was Lord of Gael in that Duchy.
Flag of Northumberland.svg 7th century (modern form 1951) Flag of Northumberland Historical flag readopted in 1951 and used officially by the county council, with use permitted to local people as a County Flag. Flies in more than 200 locations across the county.[19] Eight yellow rectangles on a red field, note that the canton (top corner nearest the flagpole) should be gold.[20]
Flag of Nottinghamshire County Council.png Flag of Nottinghamshire Council Local authority flag. The wave is for River Trent and the oak tree for Sherwood Forest.
Flag of Rutland.svg Flag of Rutland Council Local authority flag. A green background strewn with golden acorns, surrounding a central golden horseshoe.
County Flag of Somerset.png Flag of Somerset Council Local authority flag. A red dragon on a yellow field, bearing a blue mace – a banner of the county arms.[27]
Unofficial County Flag of South Yorkshire.png Logo flag of South Yorkshire Council Former local authority flag.
Yorkshire Flag copy.jpg Former South Yorkshire Council Flag based on the council's arms.
County Flag of Staffordshire.png Flag of Staffordshire Council Local authority flag. All the devices on the flag come from arms of various Earls of Stafford. The red chevron on gold was the arms of the de Staffords. It is charged with the family's famous Stafford knot badge.
Flag of Suffolk.svg Flag of Suffolk Council Local authority flag. Coat of arms of Suffolk on a gold background. The main charge in the arms is the sun rising over the sea. Suffolk is the most easterly county in England and thus the first to see the sun rise. The open crowns and crossed arrows refer to Bury St. Edmunds and have been widely used in the arms of Suffolk towns and districts.
County Flag of Surrey.png Flag of Surrey Council Local authority flag. Divided into halves, blue and black, with two gold keys representing the Chertsey Abbey, a woolpack on blue and a sprig of oak on black. (a banner of the modern coat of arms of Surrey County Council).
County Flag of Tyne & Wear.svg Flag of the former Tyne and Wear Council Former local authority flag.
Flag of the West Midlands County.svg Flag of the former West Midlands Council Local authority flag. The flag has two dancetty barrulets interlaced to form a W and M representing the initials of "West Midlands".
County Flag of West Sussex.png Flag of West Sussex Council Local authority flag. Blue and gold flag with six golden martlets.
Worcestershire County Flag.jpg Flag of Worcestershire Black pears appear in the arms of the City of Worcester, and as such have long been considered a county badge, reportedly dating back to the battle of Agincourt.

Districts, towns and cities[edit]

Flag Date Use Description
Flag of Birmingham.svg Flag of Birmingham
(City and Metropolitan borough)
Banner of the arms of Birmingham City Council
2009 Flag of Cheshire East
(Unitary Authority)
The logo of the council displayed on a white banner[28]
Dacorum Flag.gif Flag of the Borough of Dacorum
(District, Hertfordshire)
The lesser arms of the borough displayed on a green field.
Ealing Flag.png Flag of the London Borough of Ealing
(Greater London)
White with an oak tree standing on a green mound, the chief consists of three Saxon crowns on a red background.
Flag of Durham.svg Flag of the city of Durham
(Charter Trustees, County Durham).
A red cross outlined in white on a black field.
Flag of the City of London.svg Flag of the City of London
(sui generis, Greater London)
A red cross on a white field, with a red sword in the canton.
Saint Alban's cross.svg Flag of the City and District of St Albans
(District, Hertfordshire)
The Cross of St Alban – A gold saltire on a blue field.

Historic kingdoms and regions[edit]

Flag Date Use Description
Flag of East Anglia.svg 1900s Flag of East Angliareg
The arms ascribed to the Wuffingas dynasty of East Anglia, three crowns on a blue shield, superimposed on a St. George's Cross, 3:5.[29]
Saint Alban's cross.svg 13th Century Flag of Mercia A gold saltire on a blue field (Cross of St Alban); the traditional flag of the Kingdom of Mercia, still flown on Tamworth Castle.
Flag of Northumberland.svg 7th century Flag of Northumbriareg coa The oldest flag in England. Historical flag of Kingdom of Northumbria used officially by Northumberland County Council since 1951.[19]
FlagOfWessex.svg Flag of Wessexreg A gold wyvern on a red field.

Historical flags[edit]

Royal standards[edit]

Flag Date Use Description
Royal Banner of England.svg 1198 – 1340 Royal Banner of King Richard I Gules three lions passant guardant in pale Or armed and langued Azure,[30][31] meaning three identical gold lions with blue tongues and claws, walking and facing the observer, arranged in a column on a red background. It forms the first and fourth quarters of the Royal Standard of the United Kingdom
Royal Standard of England (1406-1340).svg 1340 – 1406 Royal Banner of King Edward III The Coat of Arms of England quartered with the Royal Standard of France, the Fleur-de-lis representing the English claim to the French throne.
Royal Standard of England (1406-1603).svg 1406 – 1603 Royal Banner of King Henry IV The French quartering has been altered to three fleurs-de-lys.
Royal Standard of Great Britain (1603-1649).svg 1603 – 1689,
1702 – 1707
Royal Standard of the House of Stuart, used first by King James VI/I A banner of the Royal Coat of Arms of James I, first and fourth quarters representing England and the English claim to the French throne, second quarter representing Scotland, third quarter representing Ireland. This was the last royal banner of the Kingdom of England.

National flags and ensigns[edit]

Flag Date Use Description
Dragon banner - Harold Rex interfectus est.jpg
Anglo-Saxon era A dragon (known later in heraldry as a wyvern) which appears twice in the death scene of King Harold II on the Bayeux Tapestry depicting the Battle of Hastings in 1066.
English Red Ensign 1620.svg 1620–1707 English Red Ensign A red ensign with the Flag of England in the canton
English White Ensign 1620.svg 1620–1707 English White Ensign A white ensign with the Flag of England in the canton
English Blue Ensign 1620.svg 1620–1707 English Blue Ensign A blue ensign with the Flag of England in the canton
Union flag 1606 (Kings Colors).svg 1606–1801 English Union Flag First Union Flag with the Flag of England overlying the Flag of Scotland

See also[edit]

Footnotes[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "About Us". College of Arms. Retrieved 2012-12-22. "The College is also the authority for matters relating to the flying of flags, and holds the only official registers of flags for the UK and much of the Commonwealth." 
  2. ^ "UK Flag Registry". Flag Institute. Retrieved 2012-12-22. 
  3. ^ "Plain English guide to flying flags". Department for Communities and Local Government. November 2012. Retrieved 2012-12-22. 
  4. ^ Flag of England
  5. ^ Flag of Cornwall, traditional.
  6. ^ Flag of Cumberland, traditional.
  7. ^ Flag of Derbyshire, selected by public vote.
  8. ^ Flag of Devon, selected by public vote.
  9. ^ http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-tees-25039676
  10. ^ Flag of Dorset, selected by public vote.
  11. ^ Flag of Essex, traditional.
  12. ^ Flag of Gloucestershire, selected by competition by the High Sheriff of Gloucester.
  13. ^ a b Flag of Hertfordshire, selected by local council.
  14. ^ Flag of Kent, traditional.
  15. ^ The Flag of Lancashire with a white field has been commonplace for many years. The change from a white to a yellow field was made at the request of the Flag institute before registration as the white field version is a banner of the arms of Montrose.
  16. ^ Flag of Lancashire, selected by County Organisation.
  17. ^ Flag of Lincolnshire, selected by public vote.
  18. ^ Flag of Middlesex, based on former council's arms, from a traditional emblem.
  19. ^ a b c "Northumberland (England)". Crwflags.com. Retrieved 2012-11-14. 
  20. ^ a b Flag of Northumberland, selected by local Council.
  21. ^ "County Record Office - Bear and Ragged Staff - Warwickshire Web". Warwickshire.gov.uk. Retrieved 2012-11-14. 
  22. ^ Flag of Yorkshire
  23. ^ of Isle of Portland
  24. ^ Flag of Isles of Scilly, selected by public vote.
  25. ^ [1][dead link]
  26. ^ "County Flag of Leicestershire - Leicestershire County Council". Leics.gov.uk. 2012-03-08. Retrieved 2012-11-14. 
  27. ^ "College of Arms". College of Arms. Retrieved 2012-11-14. 
  28. ^ [2][dead link]
  29. ^ Flag of East Anglia, traditional.
  30. ^ Fox-Davies 2008, p. 607.
  31. ^ The First Foot Guards. "Coat of Arms of King George III". footguards.tripod.com. Retrieved 4 February 2010.