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Tamworth, Staffordshire (England)

English Town

Last modified: 2021-02-13 by rob raeside
Keywords: tamworth | staffordshire |
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[Flag of Tamworth, England] image by Pete Loeser, 12 February 2021
based on this image located by Valentin Poposki, 9 December 2011

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Introduction: Borough of Tamworth

Tamworth is a large borough on the edge of Staffordshire where it borders Warwickshire. It takes its name from the Tame River which actually flows right through it. It dates back to the period just after the Romans' departure and the Anglo-Saxons came to occupy the area. Tamworth was always an important market town because of its location on the river and in the reign of King Offa (c757-796) it was the capital of Kingdom of Mercia. Offa is considered the most powerful Anglo-Saxon king before Alfred the Great.
In 874 the Danes (Vikings) sacked Tamworth and for almost 40 years it remained a ruin. That changed in 913 when Æthelflæd, the daughter of King Alfred the Great, rebuilt the town and constructed a dirt-walled fortress to defend it. She made Tamworth her home until she died in 918. From that time forward Tamworth remained an important part of the history of the area.
In the early 10th century the new shires of Staffordshire and Warwickshire were created, and Tamworth was divided, not only by the river, but by the two counties with their border running right through the centre of the town. It would remain like that until 1889 when the town was placed entirely in Staffordshire.
Following the Norman conquest of England in the 11th century, the Normans built a large "motte and bailey" castle, which evolved into the present stone Tamworth Castle built on the same site of the original Saxon fort.
During the Middle Ages life in Tamworth wasn't always pleasant. In 1345 a fire destroyed much of the town. Two years later the Black Death arrived reducing the population by at least a third. The town then suffered from reoccurring outbreaks of plagues in 1563, 1579, 1606, and 1626.
During the English Civil War, Tamworth Castle and the town originally held by the Royalists, was placed under a two-day siege and captured by a detachment of Parliamentarian forces in 1643. It remained in Parliamentarian hands for the remainder of the conflict.
However, the town kept recovering from its disasters, both natural and manmade, and grew rapidly in the 18th and 19th centuries, especially during the Industrial Revolution because of nearby coal mines. Its location on the river soon allowed it to became connected to a growing canal network. It 1847 the railway arrived eventually providing direct trains to London.
Today the town's economy is driven by industries such as car manufacturing, logistics, engineering, clothing, brick, pottery, tile and paper manufacture.
For a more detailed history I recommend Tim Lambert's website and his essay A Brief History of Tamworth, Staffordshire, England as a excellent source of information.
Pete Loeser, 12 February 2021

Historical Flags of the Tamworth Borough
As used at Tamworth Castle

[Tamworth Borough Flag, Tamworth Castle] [Tamworth Borough Seal Flag, Tamworth Castle] [Marmion Family Flag, Tamworth Castle]
Tamworth Borough Flag
Tamworth Borough Seal Flag
Marmion Family Flag
images located by Pete Loeser, 12 February 2021

At Tamworth Castle they fly three rectangular flags on certain occasions.
The first is a Borough flag with a rectangular version of the shield on the Tamworth Coat of Arms and is flown whenever the Mayor of Tamworth is in the Castle.
The second is called the Borough Seal flag. It places the ancient seal of the Borough of Tamworth centred on a red field.
The third is the Marmion Flag which features a blue vair design with silver representing the Marmion Family. The Marmions were owners of Tamworth Castle from c1101 to 1291.
Source: Tamworth Castle website.
Pete Loeser, 4 September 2002

Borough of Tamworth Logos

[Tamworth Bourgh Logo #1, England] image Located by Pete Loeser, 12 February 2021

The Borough Council now uses a stylised logo depicting the outline of a white swan on the River Tame in front of Tamworth Castle on a green background.
Andrew Milner, 4 September 2002

[Tamworth Bourgh Logo #2, England]        [Tamworth Bourgh Logo #2, England]
images located by Pete Loeser, 12 February 2021

These other logos have been used on the Borough website.
Pete Loeser, 12 February 2021

Borough of Tamworth Coat of Arms

[Tamworth Coat of Arms, England] image located and modified by Pete Loeser, 12 February 2021

The following description of the arms is taken from

ARMS: Per fess Azure and Gules a Fess Vair between in chief a Saltire and in base a Fleur-de-Lis Or.
CREST: On a Wreath of the Colours in front of a Mount Vert thereon a representation of Tamworth Castle proper two Swords in saltire Or.
SUPPORTERS: On the dexter side a Bear Argent muzzled Gules collared and chained Or and on the sinister side a Lion Gules crowned Or.
BADGE: A Saltire Or surmounted by a Fleur-de-Lys Azure.
Granted 1st May 1965.

The gold saltire on blue is from the arms of the Kingdom of Mercia. When Offa came to the throne of Mercia in 757 AD, he made Tamworth his chief residence and built a palace there. Shortly after the Norman Conquest, William gave the royal Anglo-Saxon castle of Tamworth and its lands to his Royal Steward, Robert de Marmion. It was the Marmion family, who built the stone castle and the vair is from their arms. The fleur-de-lys is from the Borough Seal and probably derives from the arms of Elizabeth I, by whom the town was incorporated. The crossed sword in front of a representation of Tamworth Castle, represents the office of Champion of England, held by the Marmion family. The crowned lion is like one of the supporters of the arms of Staffordshire County Council and the chained bear is like that in the arms of Warwickshire County Council.
Tamworth was previously situated in both counties; the boundary ran through the centre of the town along the main streets, until 1889 when the town was transferred wholly to Staffordshire.
Andrew Milner, 4 September 2002

Original Tamworth Arms

[Old Tamworth Arms, England] image by Pete Loeser, 13 February 2021
based on this image located by Andrew Milner, 4 September 2002

The main difference between the old badge and the new is the section in white above the fleur-de-lys. It contains the Stafford Knot on the left and a castle and crossed swords on the right, both drawn in black. The Stafford Knot's origin is shrouded in the mists of antiquity, but my favorite story is how a sheriff invented it to hang three criminals with one rope at the same time. Very economical and very untrue. The earliest authentic appearance of the Stafford Knot is on a seal of Lady Joan Stafford and was passed down through time and gradually adopted by the citizens of the borough until it was included in the Stafford Borough Coat of Arms.
The Castle and Crossed Swords, of course, represents Tamworth Castle. The crossed swords in front of the castle represent the office of the Champion of England, which was first granted to Robert Marmion in the reign of William the Conqueror.
Interesting enough this information comes from the Tamworth FC website.
Pete Loeser, 13 February 2021

Tamworth Football Club
The Lambs

[Tamworth Football Club Flag]      [Tamworth FC Crest] Tamworth FC Crest
images located by Pete Loeser, 12 February 2021

The crest of Tamworth Football Club actually retains the original arms of the town.
Andrew Milner, 4 September 2002

The Tamworth Football Club is an English Association football club that participates in the Southern League Premier Division Central. The club was formed to replace an earlier Tamworth club called the Tamworth Castle in 1933. The team originally played at the Jolly Sailor Ground named after a nearby pub, but in 1934 moved to the Lamb Ground in Tamworth where they have played ever since.
Pete Loeser, 12 February 2021