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St Alban's Cross
|Flag Type:||Provincial Flag|
|Pantone® Colours:||Blue 280, Yellow 109|
|Certification:||Flag Institute Chief Vexillologist, Graham Bartram|
Mercia was the ancient kingdom equivalent to what is now known as the English Midlands. The term Mercian being associated with the Midlands long after the end of the kingdom until 1387 when a quote by John Trevisa directly links the identity of Mercia and the Midlands.
The gold saltire on blue has been linked to the kingdom since at least the seventeenth century when it represents the area on John Speed’s atlas. It is likely that, like other ancient kingdoms, the arms may have been an attribution by mediaeval heralds. The saltire refers to the first British martyr, St Alban, after whom the town in Hertfordshire that also uses the saltire is also named.
In Scott-Giles’ “The Romance of Heraldry” the author believes that the saltire was a Mercian symbol and adopted by the town after King Offa founded the monastery to the saint there in 793AD. It is certainly true that the first evidence for the use of the saltire by the town comes a couple of decades after its appearance on John Speed’s map representing Mercia.
The historic capital of the province, Tamworth Castle continues to fly the flag every day. The flag flown from the castle uses a darker shade of blue that that flown by the town, which helps to differentiate between them. The darker shade has been acknowledged in the Mercia registration.
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