A coat of arms for Wales

It’s been six years since I wrote anything here. Perhaps it’s time to start again.

Back when I was writing this blog I produced a full coat of arms for Wales. Here is a new and improved version! It’s the same blazon except that I replaced St.Edward’s crown with my own design for a Welsh crown/coronet, with leeks and daffodils on the circlet. It could be royal, or could be a people’s crown, for independence-minded republicans.

A flag for Liverpool

A campaign for a new flag for Liverpool has been launched, and is inviting ideas. I’ve submitted mine, which has been posted along with two earlier ones at their website.

This is my contibution:


The red is from the red rose of Lancashire. The wavy blue is for the River Mersey and the sea beyond, with a gold band representing the wealth generated from Liverpool’s maritime history. The Liver Bird is white, representing peace and harmony between the city’s different communities.

Copyright © 2015 Vexaldry

A coat of arms for Bath, Maine

bath maine flagbath flag city hallBack in 2013, a Maine resident, Jeremy Hammond, succeeded in having a new city flag adopted by the City Council, after a process of consultation and drafts involving the councillors and others. Unlike so many awful seal-on-bedsheet-with-writing American civic flags, the Bath flag a well-designed, clear, heraldic flag, alluding to the history of the city and reminiscent of arms of the place from which it takes its name – Bath in Somerset, England. The story of the flag’s creation is on Jeremy’s blog.

My first thought on seeing the flag last year (apart from thinking how good it looked) was “there’s a banner crying out for a coat of arms”! So, after having been distracted by other things for several months, I googled Bath and came up with ideas for supporters and a crest to add to the shield, which was taken directly from the flag.

bath maine arms

For supporters I took two birds which frequent the Kenebec River, on which Bath stands – an osprey and a bald eagle – but gave them collars with anchors hanging from them as an additional reference to the shipbuilding industry for which Bath is renowned. The crest is the City Hall, one of a number of the city’s attractive buildings, and the motto (“The Union”) is lifted from the City seal.

The existing city seal is typical of the genre – an uninspiring fussy scene within a circle – so I decided to make a couple of seals out of the coat of arms too, one with the entire achievement and a simpler one with only the shield and motto.

I don’t know that the dignitaries or people of Bath would have any interest in a coat of arms, but I enjoyed having a go at it!

Copyright © 2015 Vexaldry

British regional flag proposals

permapA couple of posts ago I suggested a flag for the South West region of England, combining the Wessex wyvern and the bezants on black from the arms of Cornwall. Since then I have produced a full set of flags for the British regions. These are based on the official government statistical regions, although it is quite possible that these will not be the basis for a regional government structure, if and when it comes. Starting in the South East, here they are:


Based on the City of London flag and arms, but with a saxon crown in stead of a sword, to indicate London’s status as the UK and English capital. (for those who might not know, the City of London is only a tiny area of (Greater) London, which is why its flag can’t be used to represent the whole capital). The Saxon crown appeared in the former arms of the Greater London Council (1965-86).

02reg-home-countiesSouth East England

For London’s hinterland, I thought a flag similar to that of London would be appropriate, but instead of a single Saxon crown, there are four crowns representing the multiple early kingdoms which occupied this area (e.g. Kent, Sussex, Wessex, Middlesex, Mercia).

South West England

As posted before, this combines the gold wyvern of Wessex with the bezants (gold disks) on black from the arms of Cornwall. Cornwall did eventually become part of Wessex, but since it has its own more distinct identity and is now an officially recognized national group, it seemed sensible to give it recognition, and to produce a flag distinct from the traditional flag of Wessex.

west-mercia1West Midlands

The West Midlands occupies the western area of the ancient Kingdom of Mercia. The attributed flag and coat of arms of Mercia is a gold saltire on blue (which is also the arms of the City of St.Albans). To represent just the western half of the old kingdom, I have added a black border to the saltire, which symbolizes the area’s industry (the West Midlands include Birmingham, Coventry and the Black Country).

east-mercia1East Midlands

The flag of Mercia is also the basis for the flag of the East Midlands. Over the yellow saltire is a narrow green one, indicative of the region’s famous Sherwood Forest and “Lincoln green”.

06reg-east-englandEast of England

The East of England region is largely based on the ancient kingdom of East Anglia, but also includes Essex and part of Mercia, so this flag contains a crown for each kingdom. It is essentially the traditional flag of East Anglia (three yellow Saxon crowns on blue), whose colours are also those of Mercia, but the bottom half is red, taken from the arms of Essex.

07reg-yorkshire-humberYorkshire and the Humber

This region consists of the whole county of Yorkshire, whose flag is a white rose on blue, along with the northern part of the traditional county of Lincolnshire, which is represented by the fleur-de-lys and the green background at the bottom (both taken from the flag of Lincolnshire).

09reg-cumbria-palatinesNorth West England 

The North West region consists of the old counties of Cheshire, Lancashire, Cumberland and Westmorland, and the flag is a combination of elements from the coats of arms of each : The wheatsheef from Cheshire, red rose of Lancashire, blue waves from Cumberland and red bars from Westmorland.

This is my least favourite of these flags, but I haven’t yet come up with anything better!

08reg-northumbriaNorth East England

I take no credit for this one! It is the flag traditionally associated with the ancient kingdom of Northumbria, which included the whole of North East England (and more!).

12reg-northern-irelandNorthern Ireland 

Oddly for a constituent nation, Northern Ireland currently has no official flag, although the banner of the former Government of Northern Ireland is used when necessary (e.g. at sports events). However, I’m guessing it is not a favourite among the nationalist community, with its English Cross of St.George and royal crown. I proposed an alternative in an earlier post, but another option is the banner of the arms which I also mentioned elsewhere : the traditional arms of Ulster, but with the white shield replaced by a white hexagon, representing the six counties (as opposed to Ulster’s nine) and also indicative of the famous Giant’s Causeway.

Existing flags

Just for completeness, we need the flags of Scotland and Wales (and England, although isn’t an official region as such):


Copyright © 2015 Vexaldry

Dumnonia : an English region and ancient kingdom

Carrying on the theme of English regions, if it were to be divided into smaller areas than the current official regions, perhaps Devon and Cornwall could be one on their own, equating roughly to the ancient Celtic Kingdom of Dumnonia.

I think the flag is a no-brainer – a combination of the two county flags, but I’ve done a coat of arms too. It combines elements of both county arms, along with, in the crest, a tin mine (once an important industry in both counties), the county flowers (primrose for Devon, Cornish heath for Cornwall) and a coronet representing the semi-autonomous nature of the old Stannary Parliaments in both counties, and the Duchy of Cornwall (which occupies more land in Devon than in Cornwall!)


The flag of Cornwall and arms of Cornwall County Council:


The flag of Devon and arms of Devon County Council:


Copyright © 2014 Vexaldry

English regions : South West (Wessex-Kernow?)

In the wake of the Scottish referendum, there’s discussion about a possible federal UK, involving English regions as “states” rather than England as a single entity. Based on the current official statistical regions, here’s an idea for the flag and arms of the South West region. It’s the flag of Wessex, but recognizing the distinctiveness of Cornwall by including the bezants on black from the Cornish coat of arms. I dislike the idea of calling it simply “South West England”, so how about “Wessex-Kernow” (“Kernow” is the Cornish for Cornwall)?

wessex-kernow and flying

And here’s a coat of arms (I haven’t thought about the full achievement yet):


[Update]: I have now put together an idea for a full achievments of arms:


The shield is the Wessex wyvern surrounded by a Cornish border. 

I’ve used a peer’s helm (silver with gold bars), on the grounds that regional states deserve a status higher than that of mere local authorities (the City of London also uses a peer’s helm in its arms). The semi-autonomous status is also indicated by the crown in the crest.

The remainder of the crest consists of the Wessex wyvern again, with a collar of Cornwall, but also holding a horseshore from the arms of Gloucestershire. Gloucestershire was ruled by the West Saxons very early on, but for most of the Anglo-Saxon period it was in Mercia, so I thought perhaps it needed a little recognition of its own.

The supporters are a crowned lion and a dragon. One or more red lions appear in the arms of Devon, Dorset and Gloucestershire (in the crest), and there was in the arms of Richard, 1st Earl of Cornwall, second son of King John. A red dragon appears in the arms of Somerset and Wiltshire, and gold dragons in the arms of Dorset (as supporters).

The six county flowers appear in the compartment, along with waves to represent the rich maritime heritage of this long-coastlined region.

I haven’t attempted to come up with a motto!

Copyright © 2014, 2015 Vexaldry

Exmoor has a flag … now Dartmoor?

exmoor-flagExmoor – a moorland and national park in north Devon and Somerset – has just adopted a flag after a public competition.

Perhaps its time for its near neighbour, Dartmoor, to do the same?

Among other things, Dartmoor is famous for its bare granite-topped hills – Tors – and for its free-roaming Dartmoor ponies. Its rivers and streams include the sources of the River Dart, from which it takes its name.

My initial idea is to combine the green land with the grey of the granite and blue and white for the rivers, divided “enarched” to indicate Dartmoor’s hills, along with a Dartmoor pony in silouette:


Copyright © 2014 Vexaldry

A Northern Ireland flag idea

There has been some discussion across the Irish Sea about a new, neutral, flag for Northern Ireland, so I thought I’d have a go at something.

I’ve based this on the red-hand-on-hexagon idea which I used in a proposed coat of arms, dividing the whole flag into six parts extending from the six points of the hexagon (Northern Ireland consists of six counties, and the hexagon shape is seen in the columns of Giant’s Causeway). Various colour combinations are possible.


This one uses red, white, blue and green. Red, white and blue are the colours of the UK flag. Green is the traditional colour for Ireland; white and green appear in the flag of the Irish Republic; blue is the background colour of the Irish coat of arms, which is used both by the Republic and in the British royal arms. Alternatively, red represents the peoples, blue the sea and lakes, green the island of Ireland.

Other possibilities add orange, for the Unionist community, with green representing the Nationalist community, or splitting the flag between the colours of the national flags of the UK and Ireland – red, white and blue in one half; green, white and orange in the other.

In all these flags, white extends throughout, representing the aspiration for peace.

ni-six-part-flag-orange ni-six-part-flag-diag

Here’s another version, with wider white bands and the diagonal arms not centred on points of the hexagon, which increases the area of the top and bottom sections:

Copyright © 2014 Vexaldry

Is that the end of the UK "flag question"?

So Scotland has chosen to stay in the union. The UK can leave the prospect of break-up behind and move on. As part of their campaign, the unionist side made promises which will have remifications outside Scotland and perhaps re-define the UK as a more federal union of four constitutionally equal nations.

Perhaps as a small part of that redefintion a couple of symbolic inconsistencies should be put right. The main one, of course, is the exclusion of Wales from the national flag and arms, but perhaps this would also be a good time to make a gesture to Scotland by altering the blue of the Union flag to a lighter shade, in keeping with the Scottish flag itself. This could give us a new, brighter, flag to take us into our more devolved and, hopefully, more democratic future:


As for the coat of arms, as I’ve posted before, it should look like this (unless we change the arms for Nothern Ireland too – see the previous post):-


Addendum: When I posted this flag elsewhere, someone suggested that the white and red saltires should be un-counter-changed, leaving a simple narrower red saltire on a wider white one. This would get over the problem of people unknowingly or accidentally flying the flag upside down. I wasn’t too sure at first, but I have warmed to the idea and think it probably looks better; so here it is:


Copyright © 2014 Vexaldry

UK royal arms : ditch the harp?

vx-uk-shieldDespite the fact that most of Ireland left the UK in 1922, and became a republic in 1949, the British royal arms still uses the arms of Ireland (Azure, a harp Or stringed Argent), presumably on the grounds that it represents Northern Ireland; but perhaps also because of a conservative resistence to change (also seen in resistence to changing the UK flag if Scotland becomes independent).
But does it make sense to use the arms of the Irish nation to represent an entity which consists of only six of the nine counties of one of the four provinces of Ireland? Does it make sense when the reason for Northern Ireland’s existence is that its unionist majority wanted to be British rather than Irish? Would it not be more sensible to replace the Irish harp with something specific to Northern Ireland, and leave the harp to the republic?
The question is : what should replace the harp for Northern Ireland? The obvious place to go for arms is to the province of Ulster.
The arms of Ulster

The ancient symbol of Ulster is the famous Red Hand of O’Neill, which dates back to pagan times. In the 13th century this was placed on a white shield on the red cross on yellow of Walter de Burgh, who had become Earl of Ulster. This remains the arms of the whole province (nine counties). 

Northern Ireland government arms, pre-1972
The government of Northern Ireland which existed until 1972 used the hand on a six-pointed star (for the six counties) ensigned by a royal crown and placed on a St.George’s cross (red on white). The banner of these arms are still used (unofficially) as a flag of Northern Ireland today, but it is particularly associated with unionism (the English cross and royal crown are not exactly popular with nationalists!). What is needed now is something which is acceptable to the whole community.
The traditional arms of Ulster seem the obvious starting point, but they need to be modified to represent the six counties, instead of the whole province. Since the six-pointed star is fairly sectarian, another alternative would be to use a hexagon. The six sides still represent the six counties, but the shape also alludes to the basalt columns of Giant’s Causeway, a spectacular and thoroughly non-sectarian natural site in Northern Ireland.

vx-nothernIreland vx-giants-causeway

Northern Ireland: coat of arms idea

Giant’s Causeway, with its hexagonal columns

The would give us a nice, completely red-and-gold, royal coat of arms, with or without Wales:

vx-uk-nowales-altni vx-uk-wales-altni

And if Scotland leaves the union:



Copyright © 2014 Vexaldry,
except the image of the pre-1972 Northern Ireland arms is from Wikipedia by Adelbrecht, and the image of Giant’s Causeway is from Wikipedia by Chmee2; both reproduced under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported licence.