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Willenhall, Staffordshire (England)

English Town

Last modified: 2021-02-20 by rob raeside
Keywords: willenhall | staffordshire |
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[Willenhall flag] image provided by Philip Tibbetts, 25 November 2014

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Introduction: Willenhall

Willenhall (known locally as "Humpshire") is a market town situated in the Metropolitan Borough of Walsall, in the West Midlands. It is located on the Tame River in the historical county of Staffordshire and is part of the Black Country.
The settlement of Willenhall dates back to the 8th century and the rule of King Ethelbald of Mercia. The Anglo-Saxon name of "Willenhalch" means "the meadow land of Willa." Willa was apparently the name of the Saxon landowner. During the 10th century, Willenhall was in the Shire of Stafford and The Hundred of Offlow (a unit of a 100 villages) and only had 30 households in the small settlement. In 1086 the town was mentioned as the town of Willenhale in the Domesday Book; it remained a small settlement until the 18th century. It was not until 1840 that St. Giles the first parish church was built.
In Tudor times the natural mineral wealth in nearby Cannock Chase allowed local industry to manufacture small metal goods such as nails, grid irons, curry combs, bolts, latches and coffin handles. By the end of Elizabethan times Willenhall, Wolverhampton, and Bilston had become famous for the manufacture of locks and keys. It started as a cottage industry with many families producing locks and parts for locks in sheds or outhouses at the rear of their homes, but was industrialized in the 19th Century. The headquarters of the National Union of Lock and Metal Workers was located in Willenhall between 1889-2004.
The majority of Willenhall was split by the Walsall Metropolitan Borough and the City of Wolverhampton in 1966. Police and Fire and Rescue services are provided by the West Midlands. By the late 1970s local industry was in decline, and by the year 2000 most of the town's lock-makers had closed or relocated. The former Yale factory was demolished in 2009
Pete Loeser, 18 February 2021

Description of the Willenhall's flag

  • Flag Type: Town Flag
  • Flag Date: 14th June 2014
  • Flag Designer: Adam Leonard
  • Adoption Route: Popular Vote
  • Aspect Ratio: 3:5
  • Pantone® Colours: Blue 286, Red 186, Yellow 109
  • Certification: Flag Institute Chief Vexillologist, Graham Bartram

The flag features several references to the towns traditional industry of lock and key-making. The field itself is divided between a red hoist and a blue centre and fly by a vertical embattled line, the pattern of which symbolises the pins of locking mechanisms. In the hoist are three padlocks and the centre of the design has crossed keys with a crown above them, the crown recalling how Queen Elizabeth I granted permission to the town to manufacture royal locks and the towns subsequent status as a king of lock-making. The colours of blue, red and gold were drawn from the arms of the former Willenhall Urban District Council.
Source: Flag Institute United Kingdom Flag Registry: Willenhall.
Philip Tibbetts, 25 November 2014

Proposed Flags for Willenhall

The "Flying the flag for Willenhall" Flag Contest held in 2014 ended with a public vote. Over 70 designs where entered and short listed to these designs by a panel of judges which then went to the public vote. The winning design was by Adam Leonard announced at the Willenhall Carnival held in Willenhall Memorial Park on the 14th of June in 2014.
Source: Finalist in Flag Competition.
Pete Loeser, 18 February 2021

[Proposed Willenhall flag #1]     [Proposed Willenhall flag #2]    [Proposed Willenhall flag #3]

[Proposed Willenhall flag #4]     [Proposed Willenhall flag #5]    [Proposed Willenhall flag #6]

[Proposed Willenhall flag #7]    [Proposed Willenhall flag #8] images located by Pete Loeser, 18 February 2021

Willenhall Coat of Arms
Former Willenhall Urban District Council

[Proposed Willenhall flag #1] image located by Pete Loeser, 18 February 2021

The coat of arms of the Willenhall Urban District Council, granted 10 April 1935, was designed by Joshua Wood. The keys and locks stand for the town's principal and historic industry. The figure of Justice represents the ideal of a local government authority.

Official Blazon

  • ARMS: Per chevron Azure and Gules in chief two Padlocks Or and in base a Female Figure representing Justice proper seated and facing to the sinister habited Argent holding in the dexter hand a Sword proper pommel and hilt Or point downwards and in the sinister hand a Balance all between two Flaunches Or each charged with a Key Gules wards downwards and inwards.
  • MOTTO: Salus Populi Suprema Lex - The welfare of the people is the highest law.
Source of Information: Heraldry of the World: Willenhall.
Pete Loeser, 18 February 2021

Willenhall Pandemic Flag Mask

[Proposed Willenhall flag #1] image located by Pete Loeser, 18 February 2021

The COVID-19 Pandemic of 2020-2021 (hopefully) resulted in this interesting design for a face mask using the Willenhall City flag design. It is perhaps also a reminder of the poor housing and lack of any sanitation that led to the cholera epidemic in 1849 where 292 people died. That epidemic shocked the town into improving conditions, and in 1854 the Willenhall Local Board of Health was founded. It's duties were eventually taken over by the Willenhall Urban District Council in 1894.
Pete Loeser, 18 February 2021