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Norfolk (England)

English Ceremonial County

Last modified: 2021-11-03 by rob raeside
Keywords: norfolk |
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[Flag of Norfolk] image by Jason Saber, 13 September 2014

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Introduction: Norfolk County

Norfolk is a county in East Anglia in England. It is bordered by Lincolnshire, Cambridgeshire, Suffolk and the North Sea. The county town or seat is the city of Norwich.
The area that was to become Norfolk was settled before the Roman invasion by a Brittonic tribe known as the Iceni. The Iceni are remembered for their resistance to the Romans in two failed revolts, first in AD 47, and then in AD 60 as they followed the famous Queen Boudica. After her defeat, the Romans would rule the area for the next 300 years or so, with it finally ending in different parts of Britain at different times and under differing circumstances. After the final Roman withdrawal in 383 the region of Norfolk eventually became part of the Anglo-Saxon kingdom of East Anglia, with the people in the area remembered as the "north folk" and the "south folk", hence the later names of "Norfolk" and "Suffolk". By the time of the Norman invasion in 1066 and the Domesday Book survey Norfolk had become one of the most densely populated parts of the British Isles. This would change with Black Death in 1349 which dramatically reduced the population. By the late 16th Century Norfolk had partly recovered with the City of Norwich becoming the second-largest city in England. But once again new plagues struck the overpopulated area, first in 1579 and then again with the infamous "Great Plague" of 1665 where some estimate that one-third of the population was killed. Because of these early pandemics the economy and agriculture of the region declined to a point that even during the later Industrial Revolution the recovery was a slow process. The only real exception to this was in Norwich where the arrival of the railway spurred population and industrial grown.
In the 20th century Norfolk did become became a leader in the fledgling aviation industry during the two World Wars. In the Second World War both the Royal Air Force and the American 8th Air Force operated from Norfolk military airfields located around the county. Also during this period the development of large farming technics rapidly increased the agriculture yield in the county. Today Norfolk remains largely rural, but does have four major built up areas, those of Norwich, Great Yarmouth, King's Lynn and Thetford.
Pete Loeser, 17 November 2020

Description of the Norfolk flag

Norfolk's flag is the armorial banner of the arms attributed to the first Earl of Norfolk Ralph de Gael. This 12th century design has been associated with the county ever since, appearing on maps and books and of course forming the basis of the county council arms awarded in 1904. This flag was added to the British Flags Registry in September 2014.
Jason Saber, 13 September 2014

The flag of Norfolk was registered on September 11th 2014 as a traditional county flag, following a campaign by Norfolk native Dominic Victor Maverick Smith to secure recognition of the historic emblem of the county. The design is a banner of the arms attributed to Ralph (Ranulp) de Gael (de Guader), first Earl of Norfolk (1071-1075).
Source: British County Flags

  • Flag Type: County Flag
  • Flag Date: c11th-c17th Centuries
  • Flag Designer: Traditional
  • Adoption Route: Traditional
  • Aspect Ratio: 3:5
  • Pantone © Colours: Black, White, Gold 123
  • Certification: Flag Institute Chief Vexillologist, Graham Bartram
Source: The Flag Institute Registry: Norfolk
Valentin Poposki, 28 June 2020

Norfolk County Council Flag
Commercial Variant

[Flag for Norfolk] image by Pete Loeser, 16 October 2020
Based on this photo located by Ian MacDonald, 14 July 2010

This flag is being marketed for Norfolk.

  • The Norfolk flag is basically the coat of arms stretched into the flag.
  • The coat of arms is very popular in the county and is worn for example by Norfolk football Referees and Police officers.
  • Unfortunately I cannot find anything out about the history or the arms which is strange as Norfolk is proud of it's history and especially it's most famous son Lord Horatio Nelson.
  • David Bethall wrote in to say: Browsing your site I noticed that you say you can't find any information on the origins of Norfolk's coat of arms.
  • The county map of Norfolk, produced as part of the Atlas Novus of 1648 and held at the National Library of Scotland, shows the arms to be those of one Richard Gaite, Earl of Norfolk. Above the shield are added a lion passant guardant on a red field to represent the city of Norwich and two Prince of Wales feathers in recognition of a royal birth at Sandringham (Edward VII?).
Ian MacDonald, 14 July 2010

Norfolk County Council Logo

[Norfolk County Council Logo] image by Pete Loeser, 16 October 2020

This is the logo used by the Norfolk County Council on their website, on publications, and reportedly on their stationary.
Pete Loeser, 17 November 2020

Norfolk County Council Coat of arms

[Flag for Norfolk] image by Pete Loeser, 16 October 2020

"The achievement of arms of the Norfolk County Council took on its present form following the grant of supporters in April 1983. The shield of arms alone had been granted by Royal Warrant in May 1904. The design was based on the arms of Ranulf (Ralph) de Guader, created Earl of Norfolk by King William I. Two coats are attributed to the Earl, one of them being Per pale Or and Sable a Bend vairy Argent and Vert. The supporters reflect features of the arms of the City of Norwich and of the town of Great Yarmouth."

  • Arms: Per Pale Or and Sable a Bend Ermine on a Chief Gules a Lion passant of the first between two Ostrich Plumes Argent quilled and each ensigned with a Prince's Coronet of the first and transpiercing a Label proper thereon the Motto 'Ich Dien' as borne on the banner of King Edward the Third.
  • Supporters: On either side a Lion guardant Or that on the sinister dimidiating a Herring erect Argent.
Source: Norfolk Heraldry Society.
Pete Loeser, 17 November 2020

Norfolk County Council Shields

[Norfolk Shield traditional] County Shield Traditional Shape    [Norfolk Shield rounded point] Modern Rounded County Council Shield
images located by Pete Loeser, 16 October 2020 - based on this image

The Norfolk County Council shields are based on their coat of Arms and are used in a variety of sizes and shapes. These two example illustrate the extremes.
Pete Loeser, 17 November 2020

Norfolk Constabulary Flag

[Flag of Norfolk Constabulary] image by Pete Loeser, 16 October 2020

The Norfolk Constabulary was founded in 1839, and was one of the first county forces to be formed. In 1968 it merged with Norwich City Police and Great Yarmouth Borough Police to become the Norfolk Joint Constabulary. In 1974, it once again became an independent Norfolk Constabulary with countywide authority and remains so.
Pete Loeser, 17 November 2020

Norfolk Fire and Rescue Service Flag

[Flag of Norfolk Fire and Rescue Service] image by Pete Loeser, 16 October 2020
Insignia image based on this photo

Norfolk Fire and Rescue Service is headquartered at the Jubilee House in Carrow. Their original headquarters was in Whitegates, but taken over by the National Fire Service during the Second World War. This original building was later purchased by the Norfolk County Council in 1950 to become the county offices. The NFRS maintains Fire stations throughout the county today.
The Norfolk Fire Service insignia used above and the arms of the Norfolk County Council are proudly displayed on the outside wall of the Diamond Jubilee Fire and Rescue Station in Carrow along with the Fire Service motto which translates as "Let us be judged by our actions."
Pete Loeser, 17 November 2020

The Royal Norfolk and Suffolk Yacht Club

[Flag for Norfolk] image by Clay Moss, 19 August 2014

The Royal Norfolk and Suffolk Yacht Club (RNSYC) founded in 1859. Visit our page on the Royal Norfolk and Suffolk Yacht Club for more information.
Pete Loeser, 17 November 2020

The Royal Norfolk Regiment

[Flag for Norfolk] image by Pete Loeser, 16 October 2020
This image is based on this commercial flag

The local Army regiments were the Royal Norfolk Regiment and the Norfolk Yeomanry. The Royal Norfolk Regiment was a line infantry regiment of the British Army until 1959. It was first formed in 1685 as Henry Cornwall's Regiment of Foot, numbered the 9th Regiment. In 1881 it was renamed the Norfolk Regiment, and as the county's regiment merged all the local Militia and Rifle Volunteers battalions. The Norfolk Regiment fought in World War I on the Western Front and in the Middle East. After the war, in 1935 the regiment became the Royal Norfolk Regiment. They regiment fought with distinction in the Second World War in France and Belgium, later in the Far East and in northwest Europe.
In 1959, the Royal Norfolk Regiment was first merged with the Suffolk Regiment, renamed the 1st East Anglian Regiment (or Royal Norfolk and Suffolk Regiment), and later further mixed with the 2nd East Anglian Regiment (Duchess of Gloucester's Own Royal Lincolnshire and Northamptonshire), the 3rd East Anglian Regiment (16th/44th Foot) and the Royal Leicestershire Regiment to form what is now called the Royal Anglian Regiment.
This flag is not the Royal Norfolk Regiment's color, but a commercial flag for those who support and honor the Royal Norfolk.
Pete Loeser, 17 November 2020