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Isles of Scilly (United Kingdom)

Last modified: 2020-08-15 by rob raeside
Keywords: cornwall | isles of scilly | scilly | england | cannon |
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[Isles of Scilly] image located by Valentin Poposki, 28 July 2020


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Introduction

Before the Local Government Act 1888, the Isles of Scilly was part of the county of Cornwall. After the Act came into full effect, the Isles of Scilly got status as Rural District Council, but independent of Cornwall County Council, which became fully effective in 1890. That was confirmed in 1930 when The Isles of Scilly Order 1930 granted the Council the "powers, duties and liabilities" of a county council. Officially the Isles of Scilly Rural District Council existed until 1974, when it became The Council of the Isles of Scilly, which is official name of the council today. The Council of the Isles of Scilly is the smallest unitary authority in England by area with only 16 km2.

There are three flags in use in the Isles of Scilly: the historic banner of the old Board of Ordnance, the Scillonian cross and the Council flag.
Valentin Poposki, 28 July 2020


Isles of Scilly Council's Flag

On 22 February, 2002, Scilly News reported the Council of the Isles of Scilly are in the later stages of developing their flag for the Council and the Islands. Dudley Mumford and Philip Hygate of the Isles of Scilly Council told me that the Council had been developing their own flag and that it may be flown at the Airport as well as the Town Hall. Their flag is going to be used mainly for official use.
W. Madsen, 24 June 2002

The flag of the Council of the Isles of Scilly is the flag of the local authority. It is blue with yellow and light blue oval heraldic device, similar to the council emblem. It was adopted in August 2002.
Valentin Poposki, 28 July 2020

Detail of heraldic device

[Isles of Scilly] image located by Valentin Poposki, 28 July 2020


The Scillonian Cross

[Isles of Scilly] image by Valentin Poposki, 28 July 2020

In late January, we at Scilly News decided to develop a design with the help of the public's votes. One month, three ballots and 400 votes later, we declared the Scillonian 'Island' Cross the most appropriate design. When designing the Scillonian Cross, we were keen to recognise Scilly's strong Celtic heritage. It is popular belief that Scilly continued it's Celtic traditions until as recently as 400 years ago. Scilly's St Lide was a prominent Celtic figure. The main feature is the central cross that is similar to the Celtic cross (right), celebrating the Islands strong Celtic heritage. The five pentacles (five-pointed stars) represent the Islands' location and size. Pentacles are Celtic symbol of protection, which is relevant for the Islands as they have been an important strategic position for Britain. White was chosen because it is a strong and symbolic colour, emphasising the properties the cross and stars represent. Some believe it also symbolises 'purity and innocence'. The orange represents a fireglow sun set for which Scilly has become famous. The blue represents the oceanic waters that encompass the islands, which are such an important aspect of Scillonian life.
W. Madsen, 24 June 2002

If a territory has a flag which is supposed to stand for the territory (which, although it was born out of the local newspaper, as this flag is), and a flag of that territory's government which is different, then which is 'the' flag of the territory - which should therefore be shown at the top of this page? I suppose the question becomes that of 'state flag' vs 'civil flag' - but they are usually not as different as the two flags for Scilly.
André Coutanche, 7 October 2002

In 2002, in the manner as were registered flags of the historical counties of England, the Flag Institute registered the so called Scillonian Cross flag:

Flag Type: County Flag
Flag Date: February 2002
Flag Designer: Scilly News
Adoption Route: Popular Vote
UK Design Code: UNKG7411
Aspect Ratio: 3:5
PantoneŽ Colours: Orange 137, Blue 286, White
Certification: Flag Institute Chief Vexillologist, Graham Bartram

Valentin Poposki, 28 July 2020


Historic Banner

[Isles of Scilly] by Pascal Gross

A possible illustration of the flag of the Isles of Scilly, based on the banner of the old Board of Ordnance. The flag has three black and white cannon balls arranged horizontally on a white band at the top, the lower three quarters of the flag being blue with three yellow cannon arranged vertically. It is not known to us why the Isles of Scilly uses the old Board of Ordnance flag.
Pascal Gross, 22 September 2000, and David Prothero, 28 April 1998

This flag is on Laurie's flagchart in Wilson's Flags at Sea, p. 70, with black bullets. Norie/Hobbs "Maritime Flags of all Nations", 1848, flag #5 - from a German reprint, 1987. It differs slightly from Laurie's image regarding the shape of the guns.

This flag may have been used on the Isles of Scilly by default, being left behind by the Board of Ordnance.

W. Madsen, 24 June 2002

I have an original Isles of Scilly Flag brought on the island about 1992 from the Ships Chandlers store, Hugh Town, as a ship's courtesy flag. I have also seen one flown in the harbour as such. It is different from the Board of Ordnance flag in that the three cannons face the hoist and are gold on a red background. The three cannonballs are gold on a green background. I was told that it symbolised the protection of the fort on St Mary's.
Stephen Bailey, 19 June 2006