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Northamptonshire (England)

Traditional English County

Last modified: 2024-02-10 by rob raeside
Keywords: northamptonshire |
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[Flag of Northamptonshire] image by Jason Saber, 13 September 2014

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Introduction: Northamptonshire

"Northamptonshire is a landlocked county in the English East Midlands, with a population of 629,676 as at the 2001 census. It has boundaries with the ceremonial counties of Warwickshire to the west, Leicestershire and Rutland to the north, Cambridgeshire to the east, Bedfordshire to the south-east, Buckinghamshire to the south, Oxfordshire to the southwest, and Lincolnshire to the northeast with England's shortest county boundary at 19 metres (21 yd). The county town is Northampton."
Source: Wikipedia: Northamptonshire.
Valentin Poposki, 6 October 2010

It should be mentioned that before the Romans' arrival in the area (about AD 43) the area of Northamptonshire was ruled by a Belgic tribe called the Catuvellauni. After the conquest he Roman's built one of their main roads through the county's area. It basically follows the modern Watling Street today. The most important Roman settlement was Lactodorum which was where modern-day Towcester is today. There were also Roman settlements at Northampton, Kettering and along the Nene Valley near Raunds. A large fort was built at Longthorpe.
After the Romans left Northamptonshire it became part of the Anglo-Saxon kingdom of Mercia, and Northampton functioned as an administrative center. Christianity came to the area about AD 654. Around 889 the area was overrun by the Danes and became part of the Danelaw. In 917 the Wessex King Edward the Elder, the son of Alfred the Great, retook the county for the English. In 940, the Vikings from York overran the area only to have it be taken by the English two years later. Because of this Northamptonshire has both Saxon and Danish town-names and settlements. The county was recorded in the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle in 1011 as Hamtunscire, or the scire (shire) of Hamtun. Later "North" was added to its name to distinguish it from Southampton. Hamtun actually means "homestead."- so we have the north and south "homesteads."
Rockingham Castle was built in Northamptonshire by William the Conqueror and was used as a Royal fortress until Elizabethan times. In 1460, during the Wars of the Roses, the Battle of Northampton took place in the county and King Henry VI was captured in Northamptonshire. Fotheringhay Castle in Northamptonshire was used to imprison Mary, Queen of Scots, before her execution. The family of the first President of the United States, George Washington, came from Northamptonshire in 1656. George Washington's ancestor, Lawrence Washington, was twice Mayor of Northampton and bought Sulgrave Manor from Henry VIII in 1539. During the English Civil War, Northamptonshire strongly supported the Parliamentarian cause, and the Royalist forces suffered a crushing defeat at the Battle of Naseby in 1645 in the north of the county. King Charles I was imprisoned at Holdenby House in 1647.
In the 18th and 19th centuries, parts of Northamptonshire and the surrounding area became industrialized specializing in the shoemaking and the leather industry. In the north of the county a large ironstone quarrying industry developed in the 1850s. The area continued to grow and during the 1930s, the town of Corby became a major center of the steel industry, although most of the county still remained rural. Not surprising the area and its history attracts a great deal of tourism today.
Pete Loeser, 13 December 2020

Description of the Northamptonshire flag

The Northamptonshire flag is the winner in a competition. It features the claret and gold colours of the county cricket and other sporting teams; the black fimbriation recalls the county's important leather industry, whilst the rose has been used as a county symbol for several centuries. The distinct form of the rose has been especially created for use on the flag to distinguish Northamptonshire's rose from that found on many other county flags.
The unveiling took place on Thursday September 11th at the County Hall, Northampton. The flag was raised by the county's Lord Lieutenant David Laing. The designer of the winning flag, Brady Ells was seen standing next to it.
Jason Saber, 13 September 2014

There was no overall winner as designer. There were two people who came close, Ian Chadwick and Brady Ells, and the panel overseeing the project also agreed that Emma Rayif should be given a mention.
Johnnie Amos, 25 October 2014

In an article on the iTV News website, we learn that:

  • The council decided to create the flag during the Queen's Diamond Jubilee celebrations, when they attended a garden party at Burghley House and were asked to bring their county flag. They realised that many other counties had flags, but that Northamptonshire did not have one of its own.
  • The final design was chosen through a public vote, from ideas submitted by school pupils, individuals and community groups. One design came from as far away as Australia.
  • The colours are maroon and gold which are the colours of the county cricket club and also the football club.
  • It's a gold cross on a maroon background and that signifies that they are at the crossroads of England.
  • The cross is edged in black and that signifies the leather industry, and in the middle is the Northamptonshire rose, uniquely designed for Northamptonshire because it has always been the rose of the Shires.
  • The flag was raised on 25 October 2014, to coincide with Northamptonshire's first ever County Day, also created as part of the project.
  • The council chose 25 October as it is St Crispin's Day, the patron saint of shoes. Northampton is famous for its shoe-making history.
  • Dave Fowler, 15 November 2014
  • Flag Type: County Flag
  • Flag Date: 11th September 2014
  • Flag Designer: Brady Ells & Ian Chadwick
  • Adoption Route: Public Vote
  • Aspect Ratio: 3:5
  • Pantone© Colours: Maroon 201, Gold 123, Black, Maroon 222, Green 354
Source: Flag Institute Registry
Valentin Poposki, 30 June 2020

Northamptonshire County Council Flag

[Flag of Northamptonshire] image by António Martins-Tuválkin, 6 October 2010

Northamptonshire County Council flies the coat of arms on a white field in a traditional shape which would not look out of place alongside the Union Flag, with no addition of words at County Hall in Northampton, as shown in this flickr image.
Colin Dobson, 6 October 2010

I used the ratio 1:2 to match the Union Jack based on an original photo by Flickr user MajorClanger.
António Martins-Tuválkin, 6 October 2010

Square Northamptonshire Flag
with text below Coat of Arms

[Flag of Northamptonshire] image by António Martins-Tuválkin, 6 October 2010

I would suspect from the photographs supplied, it looks like a really odd shaped flag, in fact it doesn't even look like a flag at all, more like something hastily printed on to a square piece of material, so as to take advantage of the recent announcement that all county flags are to fly in London outside the Department of Communities and Local Government and just to make sure someone recognises us we'd better add the words Northamptonshire County Council to it.
Colin Dobson, 6 October 2010

Northamptonshire County Flag
With variant Coat of Arms

[Flag of Northamptonshire] image by Pete Loeser, 13 December 2020

The flag of the Northamptonshire County Council consists of county coat of arms on a white background, with "Northamptonshire" above, and "County Council" below. It can be seen in two photos in this article: Northamptonshire County Flag finds pride of place at Westminister. The coat of arms is shown here in Wikipedia.
Valentin Poposki, 6 October 2010

Northamptonshire Flags
Commercial Variants

[Commericial Flag of Northamptonshire #1]      [Commericial Flag of Northamptonshire #2]
images by Pete Loeser, 13 December 2020 - Image based on this photo and this this photo

There were several commercial Northamptonshire variants marketed before the registering of the official version. They are still being sold and displayed in the county.
Pete Loeser, 13 December 2020

Northamptonshire Banner of Arms

[Northamptonshire Banner of Arms] image located by Pete Loeser, 13 December 2020

This banner of Arms has been said by various different sources to represent a) Northamptonshire as a whole, b) the Northamptonshire County Council, c) the Northampton Borough, and d) the Northampton Council at different times. However it is not officially recognized by any of these bodies as far as I can determine and I have yet to find a photo of an actual flag being used.
Pete Loeser, 13 December 2020

Northamptonshire County Council Coat of Arms

[Northamptonshire County Council Coat of Arms] Arms     [Northamptonshire Shield] Arms/Shield
images located by Pete Loeser, 13 December 2020

The arms were granted on 1939. It is made with badges of the Yorkist and Lancastrian kings. Northamptonshire played a major role in the Wars of the Roses. A rose of one sort or another has been a symbol of Northamptonshire since 1665. The red rose of Lancaster forms the main charge while two white roses of York are placed on the chief. The golden fetterlock and white falcon in the crest is a Yorkist badge. A silver falcon was a badge of King Edward III. The white hart is for Richard II, his successor. The black bull is a badge of the Duke of Clarence Lionel who is an ancestor King Edward IV.
"The supporters also refer to Northamptonshire's principal industries, symbolising the use of leather and hides in shoe manufacture. The bull also stands for the county's agriculture. The two animals are bound by metal collars and chains that represent the iron and steel making industries."

Official Blazon

  • Arms: Argent a Rose Gules barbed and seeded proper on a Chief of the second a Fetterlock Or between two Roses of the first barbed and seeded also proper.
  • Crest: On a Wreath of the Colours a Falcon close Argent gorged with a Cord tied Gules.
  • Supporters: On the dexter side a Hart Argent gorged with an Iron Collar and Chain reflexed over the back proper on the sinister side a Bull guardant Sable gorged with a Collar and Line reflexed over the back Or.
  • Motto: rosa concordia signum means "The rose, emblem of harmony."
Source: Heraldry of the World: Northamptonshire.
Pete Loeser, 13 December 2020

Northamptonshire County Council Logos

[Flag of Northamptonshire]     [Flag of Northamptonshire]
images located by Pete Loeser, 13 December 2020

These modern logos are used by the County Council on letterheads, publications and their website. They have not yet appeared on any official flags that I could discover.
Pete Loeser, 13 December 2020

Northamptonshire Fire and Rescue Service
Flag and Logo

[Northamptonshire Fire and Rescue Service Flag]     [Northamptonshire Fire and Rescue Service Logo] images by Pete Loeser, 13 December 2020

The Northamptonshire Fire and Rescue Service (NFRS) is responsible for all of Northamptonshire. It was founded in 1974 when the former "Northamptonshire Fire Brigade" and "Northampton Borough Fire Brigade" merged. The original Fire and Rescue services had been both formed in the Midlands in 1948 by the Fire Services Act 1947. The NFRS has 22 fire stations, and they share a headquarters and administration building with the Northamptonshire Police.
Pete Loeser, 13 December 2020

Northamptonshire Police
Flags, Badge and Logos

[Northamptonshire Police Flag]       [Northamptonshire Police Badge and Logo]
images by Pete Loeser, 13 December 2020 - Flag image based on this photo

Northamptonshire Police where formed in 1840 as the "Northamptonshire and Daventry Constabulary." The Northants Police are now the territorial police force responsible for policing the whole county of Northamptonshire. This includes includes Brackley, Burton Latimer, Corby, Daventry, Desborough, Higham Ferrers, Irthlingborough, Kettering, Northampton, Oundle, Raunds, Rothwell, Rushden, Towcester, Thrapston and Wellingborough.

[Flag of Northamptonshire] image by Pete Loeser, 13 December 2020

The Northamptonshire Constabulary merged with the other borough police forces in the county in 1966 to form the "Northampton and County Constabulary." The Force was renamed the "Northamptonshire Police" in 1975. Today they share a headquarters and administration building with the Northamptonshire Fire and Rescue Service.
Pete Loeser, 13 December 2020

Northamptonshire Regiment

[Flag of Northamptonshire] image by Pete Loeser, 13 December 2020
Image based on this photo

The Northamptonshire Regiment was formed in 1881 and was a line infantry regiment of the British Army until 1960. The regiment was based at Gibraltar Barracks in Northampton. The regiment first consisted of two regular battalions. The 1st Battalion was made up of the former "48th (Northamptonshire) Regiment of Foot" formed in 1741. The 2nd Battalion made from the former "58th (Rutland) Regiment of Foot" first raised in 1755. Supporting them were two additional militia battalions, the "Northampton and Rutland Militia" as the "3rd (Special Reserve) Battalion", and the "1st Northamptonshire Rifle Volunteer Corps" as the "4th (Territorial Force) Battalion."
In the years 1881-1914, the two regular battalions saw overseas service in Hong Kong, India, Singapore and South Africa. The Northamptonshire Regiment received battle honors for actions in the North West Frontier Province and the Second Boer War - Talavera refers to a battle honor earned by the 48th Foot in 1809 during the Peninsular War. During the existence of the Northamptonshire Regiment a total 6,000 men were lost in the line of duty, 1,700 of them from the town of Northampton.
These are not the official colors of the Northamptonshire Regiment, but a commercial flag available for purchase honoring the regiment.
Pete Loeser, 13 December 2020

South Northamptonshire Council
Flag and Logo

[South Northamptonshire Council] Flag    [South Northamptonshire Council] Logo
images by Pete Loeser, 13 December 2020

South Northamptonshire is a district of Northamptonshire. Its district council is located in the town of Towcester, which dates back to Roman Britain. The largest town in the district is Brackley, followed in size by Towcester. Other towns include Deanshanger, Bugbrooke, Roade, King's Sutton, Silverstone and Middleton Cheney.
Pete Loeser, 13 December 2020