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Gloucester (England)


Last modified: 2010-12-29 by rob raeside
Keywords: gloucester | gloucestershire |
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[Flag of Gloucester] image by Klaus-Michael Schneider, 20 October 2010

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About the Flag

Description of flag: The ratio is approx 1:2. The flag is made of linen in natural colour, interpreted as white. In the centre of the flag is the Commonwealth Coat of Arms, made of pieces of silk.

Description of coat of arms:
In a golden (= yellow) shield are three red chevronels between ten torteaux of the same colour ordered three three three and one. The shield is topped by a crest. A blue helmet with golden (= yellow) and red scarves is crested as follows: Issuant from a golden (= yellow) mural crown a guardant red demi-lion tongued blue holding in his right paw a blue broadsword and in his left paw a trowel proper of the same colour. On either side a rampant red lion tongued blue holding in the right fore-paw a blue broad-sword proper as supporters. Upon a white base is a yellow ribbon containing the motto 'FIDES INVICTA TRIUMPHAT' (= unconquered faith triumphs) in black capitals.

Please note, that the colours reported are those upon flag. Some details of the Commonwealth coat are different, e.g. helmet and swords silver and base green. Also note, that the Tudor Coat is not described. Images of both can be found at

The Gloucester District Council is empowered by an Order in Council made in pursuance of section 247 of the Local Government Act, 1972, to use the armorial bearings of the former Gloucester Corporation. The so called “Commonwealth Coat” was assigned by Sir Edward BYSSHE, Garter Principal King of Arms in 1652. The frontispiece to John DORNEY's Speeches, published in 1653, contains an illustration of the Commonwealth coat, and describes it as incorporating the arms "assigned" by Sir Edward in 1623. These latter arms (as pictured above) were not, however, assigned in 1623(/James I./), but were recorded to the City at the Herald's Visitation of the County of Gloucester in that year, but without crest and supporters. The Gloucester Corporation, therefore, proved their right to these arms at that Visitation. There is little doubt that this coat was in use previous to the grant of the so called Tudor Coat in 1538, although there is no record of its origin. It is significant that the chevronels are identical with those of the arms of the de Clare family, who later became Earls of Gloucester. The torteaux were probably derived from the ancient arms of the See of Worcester, in which Gloucester was, before 1542, included.
The Corporation resolved in 1647 that the “new arms (i.e. the so called Tudor Coat, granted by Christopher BARKER, Garter Principal King of Arms in 1572(/Henry VIII/)) should be delivered up and that the old arms (Commonwealth) of the City be henceforth borne” . The resultant grant of 1652 incorporated the ancient shield with the addition of a crest and supporters.
On the restoration of the Monarchy in 1660 the crest and supporters of the Commonwealth arms were declared null and void. The Corporation, however, were seemingly reluctant to abandon the arms which had been assigned to them in the cause of freedom by the de facto Garter of the Commonwealth regime, and they were probably fortified in their determination to continue using them in the knowledge that they had proved their right to the shield in the reign of Charles I. Therefore the Commonwealth Coat has been in continuous use ever since, without serious challenge.
The Corporation finally decided to regularise the Commonwealth arms which almost certainly incorporates the most ancient armorial bearings of the City and these arms are now legally granted to the Corporation by Letters Patent dated the 16th April 1945.
The motto was probably adopted to immortalise the spirit of the sturdy citizens who successfully held the besieged City in the Cromwellian cause in 1643.
Special thanks to support given by the City of Gloucester.

Arms recorded in 1623, crest and supporters granted in 1652.
Source: Civic Heraldry, with compliments by the City of Gloucester.

I spotted this flag on 1 October 2010 in Mayor’s Parlour, North Warehouse, The Docks Gloucester on 1 October 2010
Klaus-Michael Schneider, 20 October 2010

Today I received a message from Gloucester City Council, which confirmed that the background of the city flag is indeed considered to be white.
Klaus-Michael Schneider, 23 November 2010