Stafford knot

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Stafford knot
Stafford badge.png
The Stafford badge
Family Stafford family

The Stafford knot, sometimes incorrectly referred to as the Staffordshire knot, is a distinctive three-looped knot that is the traditional symbol of the English county of Staffordshire and of its county town, Stafford. It is a particular representation of the simple overhand knot, the most basic knot of all.

The knot was the badge of the de Stafford family. The fanciful legend of its origin is that three convicted felons who had committed a crime together were due to be executed in Stafford gaol. There was argument over who should be hanged first but the hangman solved the problem by devising this knot and hanging the three simultaneously. However, the knot can be seen on a 4-foot-high (1.2 m) carved Anglo-Saxon cross in a churchyard in Stoke-upon-Trent, and also on a 7th-century Anglo-Saxon object from the Staffordshire hoard.[1] This strongly suggests it pre-dates the Norman and medieval period, being probably either a heraldic symbol of early Mercia or a Celtic Christian symbol brought to Staffordshire by missionary monks from Lindisfarne.

The Stafford flag, blazoned with eleven Stafford knots

The knot appears on the coat of arms of the Borough of Stafford, and the county motto of Staffordshire is "the knot unites".

The Stafford knot was the badge of the 38th (1st Staffordshire) Regiment of Foot in which Sir Thomas Brisbane entered the British Army as an Ensign in 1789 – and thus the eponymous city of Brisbane in Queensland, Australia, has the Stafford Knot on its arms. The knot formed part of the insignia of the North Staffordshire Regiment, South Staffordshire Regiment, Staffordshire Regiment and currently is the arm badge of the Mercian Regiment.

The North Staffordshire Railway was referred to as the Knotty after the knot. Stoke-on-Trent based football team Port Vale F.C. use the knot on their club badge as do fellow Staffordshire club Tamworth F.C.. West Bromwich Albion and Stoke City have also used the knot on their respective badges. The knot appears on the logo of Staffordshire University, as well as on many school badges. It is also used as the badge of the Staffordshire Police force.

The Smiler,[2] a roller coaster at Alton Towers, has a combined section of track known as the "Stafford/Staffordshire Knot", consisting of a cobra roll entwined with a double batwing. It is given this nickname due to the resemblance to the original knot shape.


Flag of Brisbane