British flags

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The Union Jack, the national flag of the United Kingdom

The United Kingdom has a single national flag, the Union Jack or Union Flag, and many variations for set purposes and several local flags. Below is a list of flags which have either been in use, or are currently used in the United Kingdom.

See also: Flags of the British overseas territories and Flags of the British Empire.

Current national and sub-national flags

National and subnational flags of the United Kingdom.[1]

United Kingdom

Flag Date Use Description Status
Flag of the United Kingdom.svg 1801 - The Union Jack. Used as the flag of the United Kingdom Created by a conjunction of the flags of England and Scotland with the Saint Patrick's Saltire for Ireland National flag used by the government

Sub-national flags

Flag Date Use Description
Flag of England.svg c.1275 De facto Flag of England, also known as St George's Cross. A red cross on a white field.
Flag of the United Kingdom.svg Official flag of Northern Ireland. Identical to the Union Jack.
Flag of Northern Ireland.svg 1923 The Ulster Banner, de facto flag of Northern Ireland, primarily used by the Unionist community and by sporting organisations. A red cross on a white field with a star, crown and the Red Hand of Ulster in the centre.
St Patrick's saltire.svg 18th Cent. St Patrick's Saltire, the flag used to represent Northern Ireland in the Union Jack, and sometimes used as an unofficial national flag. A red saltire on a white field.
Flag of Scotland.svg c.1300 Flag of Scotland, also known as St Andrew's Saltire or simply The Saltire. A white saltire on a blue field.
Flag of Wales 2.svg standardised 1959 Flag of Wales, also known as the Red Dragon or Y Ddraig Goch. A red dragon passant on a green and white field.

County flags

Main article: County flags

The following are the county flags registered on the UK Flag Register:

Flag Date Established Description
Flag of Anglesey.svg Traditional Flag of Anglesey [1] Three golden lions rampant and a gold chevron against a red background.
Bedfordshire County Flag.svg 2014 Flag of Bedfordshire [2] Similar to the old council flag, but with its fess counterchanged per pale, and lighter.
Flag of Buckinghamshire.svg Traditional Flag of Buckinghamshire [3] A white swan on a field of black and red.
Flag of Caernarfonshire.svg Traditional Flag of Caernarfonshire [4] Three gold eagles on a green field, the banner attributed to Owain Gywnedd
Caithness Flag.jpg 2016 Flag of Caithness [5] A Nordic Cross in blue, edged in gold against a black background, with a galley in the canton, adorned with a raven on its main sail
Cambridgeshire Flag.svg 2015 Flag of Cambridgeshire [6] The winning entry in a competition which combines the blue field and gold crowns of East Anglia with a depiction of the River Cam in a the colour famously worn by sporting teams of Cambridge University.
Cheshire Flag.svg Used locally since 12th century Flag of Cheshire [7] A gold sword between three gold wheatsheaves on a blue field.
Flag of Cornwall.svg poss. 12th century "St Piran's Flag", the Flag of Cornwall [8] A white cross on a black field
County Durham Flag.svg 2013 Flag of County Durham [9] The winning entry in a competition which comprises the traditional local blue and yellow colour scheme and long associated local symbol, the Saint Cuthbert's cross.
Cumberland flag.svg 1950 Flag of Cumberland [10] Three white Parnassus flowers against a green field over blue and white wavy stripes.
Derbyshire flag.svg 2006 Flag of Derbyshire [11] [2] A green cross with a white border on a sky blue field, with a gold Tudor rose in the centre.
Flag of Devon.svg 2003 Flag of Devon [12], "St Petroc's flag"[3] A white cross with a black border on a green field.
Saint Wite's Cross.svg 2008 Flag of Dorset [13], The Dorset Cross alias "St Wite's Cross"[3] A white cross with a red border on a gold field.
Flag of Essex.svg Flag of Essex [14] A red field with three white, gold hilted Saxon knives or Seaxes.
Flag of Flintshire.svg 2015 Flag of Flintshire [15] Argent a cross engrailed fleury Sable between four Cornish Choughs proper.
Glamorgan Flag.svg 2013 Flag of Glamorgan [16] A banner of the arms of Iestyn ap Gwrgant. It appears as a flag in arms of Cardiff.
Severn Cross.svg 2008 Flag of Gloucestershire [17] The Severn Cross[3] The winning entry in a competition to commemorate the county's millennium.
County Flag of Hertfordshire.svg 2008 Flag of Hertfordshire [18] A field of wavy blue and white stripes symbolising the county's many rivers with a shield bearing a depiction of a hart. The shield is taken from the arms of the Borough of Hertford. The shield and stripes together are a heraldic pun on the words "hart" and "ford". The Hart reclines on a yellow field, representing St. Alban, the patron saint of Hertfordshire and first British martyr, whose cross is traditionally yellow on blue.
Flag of Huntingdonshire.svg 2009 Flag of Huntingdonshire [19] On a green background, a gold, ribboned hunting horn - a flag displayed on the crest of the county arms
Flag of Kent.svg Flag of Kent [20] A red field with the white horse of Kent in the centre.
Flag of Kirkcudbrightshire.svg Flag of Kirkcudbrightshire [21] The cross of St Cuthbert (from whom the county is named) counterchanged on a green and white quartered background, associated with the exchequer cloth of the Stewards of Galloway to whom the Stewartry of Kirkcudbright was entrusted.
Lancashire County Flag.svg 2008 Flag of Lancashire [22] The red rose of Lancashire on a yellow field.
Lincolnshire flag.svg 2005 Flag of Lincolnshire [23][2] A red cross with yellow trimming on a blue and green field, and a yellow fleur de lys in the middle of the cross.
Flag of Merioneth.svg 2015 Flag of Merioneth [24] Based on a description of a banner borne by the men of Merioneth at the Battle of Agincourt, in the 17th century poem of the same name by Michael Drayton. Here he wrote of “three goats dancing ‘gainst a rising sun”; the shield was blue, the sun golden and the goats white. Speculation regarding this unusual arrangement suggests a connection with Cader Idris, where goats browsed and behind which the sun rose.
Flag of Middlesex.svg Flag of Middlesex [25] A red field with three white, gold hilted Saxon seaxes (knives) under a gold Saxon crown.
Flag of Monmouthshire.svg 2011 Flag of Monmouthshire [26] A blue and black field with three fleurs de lys: the arms attributed to the old Kingdom of Gwent
Flag of Norfolk.svg 2014 Flag of Norfolk [27] Party per pale or and sable, a bend ermine; the attributed arms of Ralph de Gael or Guader, 1st Earl of Norfolk
Flag of Northamptonshire.svg 2014 Flag of Northamptonshire [28] Maroon (the county cricket colour), with a fimbrated gold cross bearing a rose; the county's traditional emblem. Chosen in a competition and designed by Brady Ells.
Flag of Northumberland.svg 1951 Flag of Northumberland [29]
Local authority flag with use permitted to local people. Based on the St Oswald banner (see below), selected by local Council.</ref>.
County Flag of Nottinghamshire.svg 2011 Flag of Nottinghamshire [30][2] Green with a St George cross and an inescutcheon showing Robin Hood.
Orkney county flag.svg 2007 Flag of Orkney [31][4] A blue Nordic cross outlined in yellow on a red field.
Rutland County Flag.svg Flag of Rutland [32] Based on a banner of the local council's arms A green field strewn with golden acorns and bearing a golden horseshoe in the centre.
Flag of Pembrokeshire.svg Flag of Pembrokeshire [33] A yellow cross on a blue field with a variation of the red and white Tudor rose in the centre
Flag of Shetland.svg 1969 Flag of Shetland [34][4] A white Nordic cross on a light blue field
Flag of Shropshire.svg 2012 Flag of Shropshire [35] Based on a banner of the local council's arms Erminois, three piles issuant two from chief and one from base each bearing a leopard's head
Somerset Flag.svg Traditional/2013 Flag of Somerset [36] The traditional emblem of Somerset, winner of a 2013 county flag competition
Staffordshire Flag.svg 2016 Flag of Staffordshire [37] The traditional Stafford Knot, placed on the Earl of Stafford's shield Or a chevron gules
Flag of Surrey.svg Traditional emblem/2014 Flag of Surrey [38] The De Warrenne arms: Chequy or and azure
Flag of Sussex.svg Traditional Flag of Sussex [39] The traditional arms of Sussex: Azure six martlets or
Flag of Warwickshire.svg 2016 the Flag of Warwickshire [40] A white bear and ragged staff on a red background
Flag of Westmorland.svg 2011 the Flag of Westmorland [41] A golden heraldic apple tree (for Appleby) on white and red bars (for Kendal)
County Flag of Wiltshire.svg Flag of Wiltshire [42] Alternating downward angled stripes of green and white bearing a green disc within six alternating green and white sections, on which stands an image of a Great Bustard.[5][6]
Flag of Worcestershire.svg 2013 Flag of Worcestershire [43] Three black pears on a shield charged against a wavy green and blue background.
FlagOfYorkshire.svg Flag of Yorkshire [44] A White Rose on a blue field.

Flags of the Yorkshire Ridings

Each of the three Yorkshire ridings has a flag registered on the UK Flag Registry:

Flag Date Established Description
East Riding Of Yorkshire.svg 2013 Flag of the East Riding of Yorkshire [45] A field of Yorkshire blue and green bearing the White Rose of York.
North Riding.svg 2013 Flag of the North Riding of Yorkshire [46] Green with a gold-fimbrated blue cross, with the White Rose of York in the centre.
West Riding Flag.svg 2014 Flag of the West Riding of Yorkshire [47] The mediæval Yorkist badge, the rose-en-soleil, on a St George cross in a Scandinavian style for Yorkshire's Norse history.

Regions, cities and others

Main article: Town and village flags of the United Kingdom

A number of towns and villages have created their own flags, often showing great ingenuity and artistry, for example that of Finchfield in Staffordshire, with finches and a patterned line cleverly depicting ears of wheat. This is a growing phenomenon and a field of endeavour worthy of encouragement, for while some great cities have been associated with civic designs, the local flags of towns and villages come for the most part from the little battalions of society, not from the bureaucrats, and they shun civic emblems for those of meaning to the villagers or townsfolk themselves.

The following flags of regions and islands are also registered by the Flag Institute:

Flag Date Use Description
Flag of East Anglia.svg 1900 - Flag of East Anglia [48] The arms ascribed to the Wuffingas dynasty of East Anglia, three crowns on a blue shield, superimposed on a St George's cross.
Black Country Flag.svg 2012 - Flag Of The Black Country The winning design in a 2012 competition launched by the Black Country Living Museum. The red and black colours refer to a description of the locality as “black by day and red by night”. The central white area represents the glass cone, a symbol of the region's glass-making heritage since 1790. It was created by Gracie Sheppard of Redhill School, Stourbridge.
Flag of the Isle of Wight.svg 2009 - Flag of the Isle of Wight [49] A pale blue field with a nicked rhombus (a representation of the island's shape) and at the bottom six alternating bars wavy, navy blue and white.
ScillonianCross.svg Flag of the Isles of Scilly [50] The Scillonian Cross
FlagOfWessex.svg 1965 Flag of Wessex The arms ascribed to the West Saxon kingdom; a gold dragon (or heraldically a wyvern) on red. The gold wyvern appears on the Bayeux Tapestry.
Flag of Mercia (2014).svg 2014 Flag of Mercia The arms ascribed to the Anglo-Saxon kingdom of Mercia; a gold saltire (diagonal cross) against a dark blue field. Appearing on John Speed's 1610 Atlas of Great Britain as the emblem of Mercia during the heptarchy and subsequently also used by the town of Saint Alban's. Most example of its use for Mercia were much darker than those for the town and the Flag Institute formalised this distinction in November 2014 by registering the anciently attested Mercian emblem.

Ensigns

Flag Date Use Description
Civil Ensign of the United Kingdom.svg 1801 - Red Ensign, used by the Merchant Navy A red field, with a Union Flag in the canton
Government Ensign of the United Kingdom.svg 1801 - Blue Ensign, used by some organisations or territories associated with the UK and also used by Royal Navy Captain of Merchant Navy Ship A blue field, with a Union Flag in the canton
Naval Ensign of the United Kingdom.svg 1801 - White Ensign, Royal Navy, usually ships bearing the prefix HMS (but see blue ensign), and the Royal Yacht Squadron A red cross on a white field with the Union Flag in the canton
Flag of the British Army.svg Non Ceremonial Flag of the British Army A red field defaced with the badge of the British Army.
Air Force Ensign of the United Kingdom.svg 1921 - Royal Air Force Ensign A RAF light blue field with the Royal Air Force roundel in the fly with a Union Flag in the canton
Civil Air Ensign of the United Kingdom.svg 1931 - Civil Air Ensign, used by civilian aircraft and at civil airports A blue and white cross on a light blue field with the Union Flag in the canton
Civil Jack of the United Kingdom.svg Civil Jack A Union Flag with a white border
Ensign of the Air Training Corps.svg Air Training Corps Ensign RAF Ensign with RAF roundel replaced by ATC badge
Joint Service Flag (UK).png 1956 - Flag of the Joint Services A dark blue, red and light blue tricolour defaced with the Joint Service badge.
Flag of the Lord High Admiral of the United Kingdom.svg Flag of the Lord High Admiral of the United Kingdom A fouled anchor on a crimson background
British-Royal-Fleet-Auxiliary-Ensign.svg Ensign of the Royal Fleet Auxiliary A blue ensign defaced with a yellow anchor
British Royal Maritime Auxiliary Ensign.svg Ensign of the Royal Maritime Auxiliary Service A blue ensign defaced with a horizontal yellow anchor with two wavy yellow lines beneath
Ensign of the Sea Cadet Corps.svg Sea Cadet Corps Ensign RNR Blue Ensign with SCC badge

See also

References

  1. The Union Flags and flags of the United Kingdom
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 Chosen in a BBC competition
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 Chosen in a local competition
  4. 4.0 4.1 Granted by the Lord Lyon
  5. Wiltshire Flag | Flying the flag for Wiltshire
  6. Accepted by Wiltshire Council in December 2009 Wiltshire Council approves flag

Outside links