The Flag of England 1

The Flag of England -1

Description of the English Flag
  • As the above picture of the English Flag indicates the overall background is white
  • The description of the English Flag is as follows:
  • White with a centred red cross that extends to the edges of the flag
  • According to Ancient and Heraldic traditions much symbolism is associated with colors. The colors on the English flag represent the following:
  • White - peace and honesty
  • Red - hardiness, bravery, strength & valour
Canton - Flag Terminology
  • Flag Terminology - Did you Know ?
  • The design and description uses specific flag terminology based on Heraldic principles
  • Animal blazons should always appear with the heads facing the flag - staff side
  • The Study of the Flags is called Vexillology
The Real St. George
  • George run the family estate in Palestine and was born of noble, Christian parents and was a Roman Soldier
  • He held the rank of a Roman Tribune. A Tribune was a Roman magistrate whose task it was to protect the people against oppression
  • The Emperor was Diocletian (245-313) who was a great persecutor of Christians
  • George complained personally to the Emperor about the harsh treatment and persecution of the Christians
  • Emperor Diocletian threw George into prison where he was tortured, but he refused to recant his Christian faith
  • He was sentenced to death, dragged through the streets and beheaded
  • He was martyred at Lydda in Palestine (Nicomedia) and became a cult figure for Christians
  • St. George became England's patron saint in the 14th century
The Legend of St. George and the Dragon
  • St George was venerated as a soldier saint
  • Many legends surrounded the honour and bravery of St. George - the most famous was the legend of St. George and the Dragon
  • According to legend a dragon was terrorising a Pagan land. The dragon was at first pacified by being fed sheep but then demanded human sacrifice including a beautiful princess
  • The brave St. George rode into the land and, single-handed, slaughtered the dragon

St. George the Saint of Battles

  • St George became the Saint of Battles and his symbol, the red cross on the white field, was closely associated with the Crusaders and King Richard the Lionheart
  • The Crusaders were Christian Knights who went on Crusades to free Jerusalem from the Infidels
  • The Knights wore chain mail armor which was covered by a surcoat. This livery was a white tabard, or tunic, emblazoned by the red cross of St. George.
Flag History ; Evolution:
  • The idea of flying a flag grew from the requirements of ancient warfare and the battlefield
  • Shields were painted with emblems to identify Friend or Foe
  • Warriors needed to know where their leaders were - the custom of carrying a pole was adopted
  • An emblem such as a shield, animal or religious device was attached to the pole for identification
  • The emblems were also used for identity and to cover suits of armour - Coats of Arms  were born
  • These emblems were the forerunners of modern flags
  • The Romans were the first to use a cloth flag - they were square and fastened to cross bars at the end of spears - the idea of fastening a flag to the side of a pole soon followed
  • The strict rules of Heraldry are still used when designing an emblem and creating a new flag

English Flag Etiquette
  • English Flag etiquette is very strict and is is essential that Flag protocols and rules are followed correctly
  • Basic Flag Etiquette applies to all nations, including English as follows:
  • Etiquette relating to the order of precedence for the flag
  • National Flag of English
  • State Flag of English
  • Military Flag of English (in order of creation date) 
Other Flag of English
  • The United Nations uses alphabetical order when presenting a national flag including the English Flag. Their flag etiquette ensures that no one country's flag has precedence over another country's flag
  • The National flag of English should never be flown above another national flag on the same staff as this would suggest superiority, or conversely, inferiority of one flag, or Nation, over another
  • The English flag should never be allowed to drag along the ground
  • A tattered or faded flag of English should be removed and replaced with a new flag
  • Due care and consideration must be taken to ensure that the English flag is always flown the correct way up
  • A Flag of English, when in such condition that it is no longer a fitting emblem of display, should be destroyed in a dignified way, preferably by burning in private with all due care and respect
Terminology; Etiquette in English Flag display
  • Hoist - the act or function of raising the English flag, as on a rope
  • Half Staff or Half Mast - the English flag is hoisted to half of the potential height of the flag pole to denote grief and mourning
  • Performed by first raising the English flag to the top, then lowering the English Flag halfway
  • Manner of hoisting - The English flag should be hoisted briskly and lowered ceremoniously
  • No disrespect should be shown to the English flag
  • The English flag should never be fastened, displayed, used, or stored in such a manner as to permit the Flag to be easily torn, soiled, or damaged in any way
  • The English flag should never have placed upon it, nor on any part of it, nor attached to it any mark, insignia, letter, word, figure, design, picture, or drawing on the flag of any nature
  • The English flag should be hoisted first and lowered last
  • International Flag relating to English Flag usage forbids the display of the flag of one nation above that of another nation in time of peace
  • We hope that the presentation of facts and information regarding English Flag Etiquette has provided a useful resource.



The British Flag: a Symbol of Unity

The Union Jack is a transnational flag full of historical significance. It represents the union of different countries and the growth of a family of nations whose influence extends far beyond the British Isles. This far-reaching influence is still seen today in the incorporation of the Union Jack in other national flags such as that of Australia. The British flag is called the "Union Jack", an expression that needs to be explained.

The Union Jack is a fine expression of unity as well as diversity. The British flag incorporates the national symbols of three distinct countries, England, Scotland and Northern Ireland. In fact its name "Union Jack" emphasises the very nature of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland as a union of nations. The flag is also known by another name, this too, emphasising the idea of union: the "Union flag", perhaps a less common term but a little more precise. The countries comprising the British Isles are not inward-looking or isolated states with an insular mentality; together they constitute a powerful union that has spanned centuries. Recent devolution that gave Scotland its own Parliament and Wales its own Assembly has also emphasised the importance of individual national identities within the union without affecting the essential unity of Great Britain. On the contrary, it has strengthened it. Recognition of, and respect for national identities are an essential ingredients for effective union. The Union Jack symbolises all this: respect for individuality within a closely knit community.

The "Union Jack" or "Union Flag" is a composite design made up of three different national symbols:

St. George's Cross,

the flag of England St. Andrew's Cross,
the flag of Scotland

St. Patrick's Cross,
the flag of Ireland
The cross represented in each flag is named after the patron saint of each country: St. George, patron saint of England, St. Andrew, patron saint of Scotland and St. Patrick, patron saint of Ireland.

The image below renders the idea of the union of the three flags forming one unified, transnational Flag.

No mention has been made of the Welsh flag. The Welsh dragon was not incorporated into the Union Flag because Wales had already been united to England when the first version of the Union Flag was designed in 1606. It is, however, in common use:

The Welsh Dragon


The first step taken in the creation of the flag of Great Britain was on 12th April 1606. When King James VI of Scotland became king of England (King James I) it was decided that the union of the two realms under one king should be represented symbolically by a new flag. Originally It consisted in the red cross of England superimposed on the white cross of Scotland on the blue background of the Scottish flag as in this illustration:

Thus we have the first flag of the union called, in fact, the "Union Flag".

What was meant to be a symbol of unity actually became a symbol of international controversy. The English resented the fact that the white background of their cross had disappeared and that the new flag had the blue Scottish background. On the other hand the Scottish resented the fact that the English red cross was superimposed on the Scottish white cross!! The old adage says you cannot please everyone but this first version of the Union Flag seemed to please no-one!!

Apparently there was an unofficial "Scottish version" that attempted to rectify the sense of injustice that the Scottish felt at this innovatory flag. A distinct reference was made to this version when the King visited Dumfries in 1618. Here is what it looked like:

The controversy was destined to last!! There is conflict in the best of families!!

However, the flag was usually restricted to use at sea until the two kingdoms of Scotland and England were united in 1707. It was most probably from this use at sea that it got the name "Jack" ("Union Jack"). It was usually flown at the bow end of the ship, from the jack staff.

An attempt was made to modify the flag under Oliver Cromwell. A harp was placed in the centre, representing Ireland. However, the original design was restored along with the restoration of the monarchy in 1660.

The flag continued to be used in its original form until Jan. 1, 1801. At that time, with the union of Ireland and Great Britain, it became necessary to represent Ireland in the Union Flag and so the cross of St. Patrick was include thus creating the flag as we now have it. When the southern part of Ireland gained its independence in 1921 and became the Irish Free State no alteration was made to the Union Jack.

The name "Union Jack" became official when it was approved in Parliament in 1908. It was stated that "the Union Jack should be regarded as the National flag".

Design of the England Flag

Design of the England Flag

The England Flag consists of three elements: the cross of St. George (red on white) for England, the cross of St. Andrew (white diagonal on blue) for Scotland, and the so-called cross of St. Patrick (red diagonal on white) for Ireland. The original Union Jack/Union Flag adopted in 1606 was symmetrical: the red cross of St. George outlined in white overlaid on top of a St. Andrew's flag, which was blue with a white X.

In 1801, an Act of Union which made Ireland a co-equal member of the United Kingdom made it necessary to add a symbol for Ireland to the flag, but without obliterating any of the existing symbols. If the St. Patrick's cross had been centered on the diagonal stripes, then St. Andrew's cross would have been relegated to an inferior position, basically serving only as a border for St. Patrick's. The solution was to divide the diagonal stripes diagonally, so that the red St. Patrick's cross would take up only half of each stripe, and so that half devoted to St. Andrew would take the place of honor. Thus, in the two hoist quarters, the white St. Andrew's cross occupies the upper position, and in the two fly quarters, the red St. Patrick's cross occupies the upper position.

That is only done with ensigns, in which the Union emblem occupies only the upper hoist quarter of the flag. When a British (or American) ensign is flown "union down," it is obviously distinguishable from one flown in the normal fashion. An upside-down Union Jack is not sufficiently different from a right side-up Union Jack to be useful as a signal of anything except that the person hoisting it wasn't paying attention.

As originally designed (and approved prior to introduction) the flag had red and white saltires of even width (counterchanged at the central point as Joe explained) with a white fimbriation added to the red. The present design where the white fimbriation is actually taken from the red making the saltire of St Patrick narrower than that of St Andrew was an Admiralty variant - dating originally from the shortly after the introduction in 1801 - which has become established as the official design (except for military colours which have even saltires).

If the St Patrick's Cross was centred on the St Andrew's Cross, then it would look like Andrew was just a fimbriation for Patrick. In reality, they are equal, and so you will note that the thin white stripe next to the St Patrick's Cross is a fimbriation, whereas the Saint Andrew's Cross of course needs no fimbriation. Why the anticlockwise attitude of St Patrick vis-à-vis St Andrew? Because The St Andrew's Cross, representing Scotland, the older member of the United Kingdom, comes before Saint Patrick for Ireland, a younger addition. When it was decided that the flags of England and Scotland should be joined, "the plan adopted was not simply to unite or join the two flags, but was an attempt to more than unite; the intention was to amalgamate and interlace or combine the two so as to produce an appearance of complete union." The Union Jack by Emanuel Green, Archaeological Journal December 1891). Impalement and quartering would each have resulted in a flag where one or other of the constituent flags was in the superior position; next to the hoist, or in the upper canton. Combining the two flags avoided this, and heraldically could be done in one of two ways. The alternative to the chosen method results in a white saltire fimbriated blue over the flag of St George, with additional fimbriation of white where the blue fimbriation crosses the red cross. It was not an attempt to place the English cross in a superior position. The Scottish variant is not heraldically correct since it is based on a blue flag, which is not the flag of either country.

In the 1801 pattern of UJ, as originally designed, the saltires of St Andrew and St Patrick were of even width, and were "counter-changed" so as to give them (as nearly as possible) equal importance, however, as the older symbol (and an established national flag) the St Andrew was placed uppermost in the first quarter thus quite rightly giving it the "position of honour" and precedence.

The official specification is based on 1/30ths of the width (or height) of the flag. The St George's Cross is 6/30ths (1/5th) of the width, the fimbriations to it are 2/30ths (1/15th) of the width. The St Andrew's Cross is a total of 6/30ths (1/5th) of the width, measured perpendicularly to the diagonal. This is made up, in the top hoist corner, top to bottom, of 3/30ths white, 2/30ths red, 1/30th white. These dimensions apply regardless of the length of the flag. An accurate drawing of the flag can be found at this page, or on our page here.

My sources tell me that the proportions of Royal Navy flags were set at 1:2 for ensigns and jacks, and 2:3 for command flags " early in Queen Victoria's reign". Christopher Southworth, 18 April 2003

The Admiralty Flag Book of 1889 is not precise: "The practice has been, in regard to the dimensions of flags generally, to make the length twice the breadth at the head. Admiral, length is one and a half times breadth."

Scottish variant of England Flag

Scottish variant of England Flag

England Flag Colors Represent..

None of these are very convincing designs and none were ever used. The Scots did, however, use an ingenious design in which the white cross of the St Andrew's flag was brought forward to overlay the red cross. This flag even seems to have achieved some limited official sanction. When the king visited Dumfries in 1618 he was hailed as the king under whose banner "the whyte and reid croces are so proportionablie interlaced." The word interlaced is held to be significant as it implies the use of the 'Scottish' version of the Union Flag:

A Scottish Proposal

As late as 1693, Slezer, Captain of Artillery and Surveyor-General of Stores and Magazines in Scotland, produced an engraving on Edinburgh Castle in which the 'Scottish' version is shown: again, an implication of actual use. Source: Paul Harris (ed.), Story of Scotland's Flag, Lang Syne Publishers Ltd, 1992. Available from the Flag Research Center.

Stuart A. Notholt, 4 May 1996

The design of the Union Flag that preceded the current version was established by a royal proclamation of 12 April 1606. However it was for use only at sea in civil and military ships of both Scotland and England. In 1634 its use was restricted to the king's ships. The flag went out of use in 1649 when England became a commonwealth but was restored for use in the king's ships after the restoration in 1660. The flag became 'the ensign armorial of the United Kingdom of Great Britain' as one of the provisions of the Act of Union in 1707, when the kingdoms of England and Scotland were united.
England Flag Colors Represent-history-of-england-flag-1606-1801

History of the England Flag: 1606-1801

History of the England Flag: 1606-1801

When King James VI of Scotland ascended to the English throne, thereby becoming James I of England, the national flags of England and Scotland on land continued to be, respectively, the red St George's cross and the white St Andrew's cross. "All our subjects in this our isle and kingdom of Great Britain and the members thereof, shall bear in their main top the red cross commonly called St George's Cross and the white cross commonly called St. Andrew's Cross joined together according to a form made by our heralds and sent to our Admiral to be published to our said subjects."

Although the original design referred to has been lost, it is presumed that it was the flag which, with the addition of the St Patrick's cross, forms the basic design of the British Union Flag today. The English were not overly pleased at the obscuring of the white field of the St George's flag. The Scots proposed a number of alternative designs. * The St George's flag with the St Andrew's flag in the canton
* The St George's flag with a St Andrew's flag in each quarter. In this bizarre design the white cross of the St Andrew's flag does not extend to the corners of the flag.
* The St George's flag with a St Andrew's flag in the centre.
England Flag Colors Represent...


England's flag is the red cross of St George

England's flag is the red cross of St George, the patron saint of England.

* The original St. George's flag, a red cross on a white field , was adopted by the Republic of Genoa in 1099, after the first crusade.
* Then, it was adopted by England and the City of London, in 1190, for use on their ships entering the Mediterranean Sea to benefit from the protection of the Geonoese fleet.
* The English Monarch paid an annual tribute to the Doge of Genoa for this privilege.
* Since then, that flag remains as both Genoa's & England's flag.

England is represented by the flag of St. George

* England is represented by the flag of St. George. England's flag has a white background with a red cross through it. (To me, it looks it the Red Cross symbol.)
* The flag consists of 3 heraldic crosses. It was Richard I (Richard The Lion Heart) of England who introduced the Cross of St. George, in 1194 A.D.
* The reason why it is white with a red cross through it is because that was St. George's emblem.
* The King's soldiers wore it on their tunics during war so that they didn't kill, or be killed by, their own men.

Colors: Red and White. White background with red cross

The red cross appeared as an emblem of England during the Middle Ages and the Crusades and is one of the earliest known emblems representing England.

The red cross on the white background is the symbol of St George, the patron saint of England.

The Union Flag, the flag of the United Kingdom of England, Scotland and Northern Ireland, is a mixture of the flags of England, Scotland and Ireland. The blue is from the white x-shaped cross of St Andrew on a blue background of Scotland.

England's flag (not the British flag) is a red cross on a white background. This flag is the emblem or cross of St. George, the patron saint of England.
The Colours of the English Flag are 'English ' Red and White.

Flag OF THE United Kingdom

Flag OF THE United Kingdom

Flag Description:
Blue field with the red cross of Saint George (patron saint of England) edged in white superimposed on the diagonal red cross of Saint Patrick (patron saint of Ireland), which is superimposed on the diagonal white cross of Saint Andrew (patron saint of Scotland); properly known as the Union Flag, but commonly called the Union Jack; the design and colors (especially the Blue Ensign) have been the basis for a number of other flags including other Commonwealth countries and their constituent states or provinces, and British overseas territories.
England Flag Colors Represent...