Oswald's Stripes

Flag Type:  Provincial Flag
Flag Date:  C7th
Flag Designer:  Traditional
Adoption Route:  Traditional
Aspect Ratio:  3:5
Pantone® Colours:  Red 201, Yellow 116
Certification:  Flag Institute Chief Vexillologist, Graham Bartram

The Venerable Bede writing ‘Historia Ecclesiastica Gentis Anglorum’ in the eighth century described a the flag in tomb of the seventh century King Oswald of Northumbria, who had united Bernicia & Deira. Bede recorded the flag as “…they hung up over the monument his banner made of gold and purple”.

This description seemingly became the basis the the gold and red bars that became commonly attributed by heralds throughout the middle and modern ages, in a staggered form even being registered as the Northumberland county flag.

The purple may have become red over time owing to the availability of expensive purple dyes, or the fading of dyes. This registration of the Northumbria provincial flag has opted for a shade of carmine red to balance both versions as well as differentiate the design from similar red and yellow striped flags.

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