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Essex (England)

Last modified: 2023-05-06 by rob raeside
Keywords: england | essex |
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[Essex] image from the Flag Institute, 28 June 2020

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Description of the Flag

The flag of the County of Essex, England, can be seen over municipal buildings and sports grounds. The flag, and variations of it, is used by many businesses and academic institutions. As well as being a modern English county, Essex is one of the seven ancient Kingdoms (The English Heptarchy) that gradually united to form England between 801 and 1040. The flag bears three "seaxes" in silver (the hilts are usually gold) on a field of red - which was the emblem of the ancient Kings of Essex. The old Kingdom stretched from the east coast, just north of London and went further inland towards what is now the English Midlands, but was then the Kingdom of Mercia. The old kingdom contains the modern counties of Essex and Hertfordshire and parts of Greater London, north of the river Thames. The modern county of Essex is about half the size of the old kingdom and has approximately 1.5 million people. It contains the ancient Roman town of Colchester which was the capital Britannia. Colchester, then known as Camelodunum, is believed by many to be Camelot. The county's capital and Cathedral city is Chelmsford.

The flag itself is free to use, but if the emblems on the flag are placed on a red shield the resultant shield is registered with the college of heralds as copyright to Essex County Council. The flag is not copyright.
Alister McClure, 13 May 2000 (updated 9 October 2004)

The website of Newton-Newton Flags shows the Essex County Council as a white version of this flag with the three seaxes and the council's title in red.
Laurence Jones, 10 October 2005

Essex’s fearsome flag was included on the registry from its inception, in the early years of the 21st century. The three white seaxes (short Saxon swords) with gold pommels on a red field were the arms ascribed to the ancient kingdom of the East Saxons, or Essex, by Richard Verstegan, who, in his 1605 work “A Restitution of Decayed Intelligence”, printed in Antwerp, stated that “Erkenwyne king of the East-Saxons did beare for his armes, three [seaxes] argent, in a field gules” i.e. three short Saxon swords on a red background.

Flag Type: County Flag
Flag Date: C17th
Flag Designer: Traditional
Adoption Route: Traditional
UK Design Code: UNKG7408
Aspect Ratio: 3:5
Pantone® Colours: White, Red 186, Yellow 116
Valentin Poposki, 28 June 2020

Essex County Police

[Essex] image by Clay Moss, 10 April 2023
based on image provided by Clayton Horner, 5 March 2014