New flag for Norfolk after 21-year-old Sutton flag enthusiast registers design dating back nearly 1,000 years
PUBLISHED: 07:00 20 September 2014 | UPDATED: 11:07 21 September 2014
Archant Norfolk 2014
A flag can symbolise identity, show pride in where people come from and tell the history of the area it represents.
And now Norfolk has its own official flag, after a 21-year-old Sutton flag enthusiast decided to register a design dating back nearly 1,000 years.
The new black, white and gold flag shows the banner of the arms attributed to the First Earl of Norfolk, Ralph (Ranulph) de Gael (de Guader), from 1071 to 1075.
The design was reworked by Dominic Victor Maverick Smith, a French and German student, who decided last year to take on the challenge.
Mr Smith, of Hastings Way, said what most people think of as the county flag, the coat of arms with a red chief and royal emblems, is specific to Norfolk County Council.
But the new flag, registered with UK-based charity the Flag Institute, is in the public domain, free for anyone to manufacture, fly and display.
And now Mr Smith, whose interest in vexillology – the study of flags – began at the age of nine, is hoping to publicise the flag, and said it should be available from manufacturers in a few weeks’ time.
“It will take a while for it to become established,” he said. “Before my flag was registered, the council flag was the nearest thing we had to a genuine flag for Norfolk.”
The red part of the council flag was added at the request of King Edward VII.
Study of flags
Vexillology is the scientific study of flags and related emblems.
It is concerned with research into flags of all kinds, both modern and historical, the creation of a body of practice for flag design and usage, and of a body of theory of flag development.
Vexillology tries to understand and explain the role flags play in the modern world.
The Flag Institute is the world’s leading research and documentation centre for flags and flag information.
It is also the largest vexillological membership organisation in the world.
A record of the UK’s regional and county flags can be found online at www.flaginstitute.org.
Graham Bartram, chief vexillologist at the Flag Institute, said the flag was registered on the basis of it being a traditional flag rather than a new design.
He said: “We received an application with the support of several local backers saying they would like this to be the county flag.
“It is a unique flag, so we agreed to register it.”
The application was supported by local organisations, including the Norfolk Family History Society and the Norfolk Broads Authority.
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