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Cricklade, Wiltshire

English Town

Last modified: 2021-06-26 by rob raeside
Keywords: cricklade | wiltshire |
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[Flag of Cricklade, Wiltshire, England] image by Pete Loeser, 22 June 2021
based on this photo located by Michael Kuipers, 23 February 2020

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Introduction: Parish and Town of Cricklade

Cricklade is a town and civil parish on the River Thames in north Wiltshire, midway between Swindon and Cirencester. It is the first downstream town on the Thames. Its history dates back to before the Roman Invasion.
The Wiltshire area was settled in the Iron Age, but it was the Romans who built the road known today as Ermin Street to use the crossing of the Thames River located where the Cricklade (Crekelade) later was built in the 9th Century by the Saxons. It became an important site in Alfred the Great's defence of Wessex. Alfred anticipated attacks by Danes (Vikings) and built a fortified new town at Cricklade; the rectangular layout of the ramparts can still be traced. There were gates in each side joined by main streets, a central market place and a grid of secondary lanes. Cricklade is one of thirty burhs (fortified towns) recorded in the Burghal Hidage document, which describes a system of fortresses and fortified towns built around Wessex by King Alfred in the two years of 878-879. According to the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, completion of these fortifications was caused by the retreat of the Vikings from Mercia and London to East Anglia in late 879. They were apparently successful because from 979 to 1100 Cricklade had its own mint and a few of the actual coins remain in several museums.
After the Normans came the Domesday Book which records Cricklade as the meeting place of the Cricklade Hundred in 1086. At this time, Westminster Abbey ran a church at Cricklade. Today two ancient churches, Saint Mary's and Saint Sampson, exist in the town, but it unclear which was the original site.
During the period of the Anarchy (1139-1154) a wooden stronghold was built at Cricklade in the nearby marshes. From there William of Dover made a series of raids into the surrounding area. According to local tradition the Empress Matilda was shown kindness at this time by the people of the town while fleeing from King Stephen's forces, and later her son Henry II and Thomas à Becket exempted them from paying certain taxes because of this. The town had become the Manor of the Hundred and the borough of Cricklade by 1257 with rights to hold markets and fairs. During the Industrial Revolution a railway line ran through the town, opened in 1883. The new line, the Midland and South West Junction Railway, linked it to Southampton, the Midlands, and the North. In 1923, it was amalgamated with the Great Western Railway, but they closed the line several years later.
In 1944, two airfields were constructed at Blakehill Farm and Down Ampney. From them, Dakota aircraft and Horsa gliders took part in the D-Day landings in Normandy, the Battle of Arnhem and Rhine crossing operations. Over 50,000 wounded service men were flown to hospital via these airfields. The Blakehill Farm airfield was purchased by Wiltshire Wildlife Trust and is now a nature reserve. The Weekly markets that had been a tradition in Cricklade since the 1250s were finally abandoned in 1953. In 1987, the town celebrated its 1,100th anniversary as a Saxon borough. It is home of the pink and white "Snake's head fritillaries," flowers featured on the "First Town on the Thames Chest," In 2011 the town was named by the Royal Horticulture Society as a "Bloom Champion of Champions." Cricklade has also been called one of the best small towns in the United Kingdom by the same Royal Horticultural Society.
Learn more the Cricklade Town Council website.
Pete Loeser, 22 June 2021

Description of the Cricklade Flag

Cricklade is fortunate enough to have two flags that we use, one of them is the Cricklade coat of arms and the other denotes Cricklade as being the first town on the Thames. Both images can be viewed on The Cricklade Town Council Website or the flags themselves can be seen flying at Saxons Rest, the seating area at the beginning of Waylands.
The flag is white with the shield and motto centred. The shield is ermine with a blue bend wavy and a green chief with a galloping white horse.
Michael Kuipers, 23 February 2020

My drawing of the flag of the town of Cricklade is based on the photo of its flag located by Michael Kuipers. It shows the wavy line of the Thames River in a light violet so I drew it thus, however I suspect it to be a blue as shown on the "First Town on the Thames" seal and on the Cricklade Town Council Website header.
Pete Loeser, 22 June 2021

Cricklade "First Town on the Thames" Flag
Cricklade Town Council Logo Flag

[Flag of Cricklade, Wiltshire, England] image by Pete Loeser, 22 June 2021

According to Michael Kuipers this Cricklade Town Council Logo is also used on a variant of their flag. The logo is shown on the Cricklade Town Council Website header.
Pete Loeser, 22 June 2021

Cricklade Parish/Town Council Coat of Arms

[Flag of Cricklade, Wiltshire, England] image located by Pete Loeser, 22 June 2021

These Cricklade arms were granted in 1948. "The shield is ermine for Ermin Street or Ermin Way, one of the great Roman roads of Britain. The blue wavy bend is River Thames, which crosses the Roman Road at Cricklade. The white horse refers to the characteristic local chalk hillside horses."

Official Blazon

  • Arms: Ermine a Bend wavy Azure on a Chief Vert a Horse courant to the sinister Argent.
  • Motto: In Loco Delicioso - means "In a delightful place".

Source: Heraldry of the World: Cricklade.
Pete Loeser, 22 June 2021

"First Town on the Thames" Crest
Cricklade Town Council Logo

[Flag of Cricklade, Wiltshire, England] image by Pete Loeser, 22 June 2021

This "First Town on the Thames" Crest is used as the logo of the town on publications, documents, and their website.
Pete Loeser, 22 June 2021