The Mercian flag was added to the Flag Registry in November 2014, as the traditional emblem of the former Anglo-Saxon kingdom and modern region. The earliest reference to the design is found in John Speed’s 1610/11 atlas of Great Britain where it appears on the map of the seven kingdoms that make up the Anglo-Saxon heptarchy.
Mediaeval heralds attributed coats of arms anachronistically to all the Anglo-Saxon kingdoms, often it seems, based on local traditions and those attributed to Mercia were a gold diagonal cross or saltire, on a blue field.
It is recorded that King Offa of Mercia founded St. Alban’s abbey on the site of the saint's martyrdom and the mediaeval town of Saint Alban’s grew up around it, named for the saint. In his “The Romance of Heraldry” G.W Scott-Giles writes on page 255 “Blue, a gold saltire…”, “…arms ascribed by the mediaeval heralds to the Kingdom of Mercia, appear to have been adopted by Saint Albans in consequence of the foundation, in 793, of the monastery to the memory of Saint Alban by Offa, King of Mercia.” which strongly suggests that the arms were defined primarily as those of the kingdom and of the saint and town, by association. This surmise seems substantiated by the date of the first record of the gold saltire on blue field as the arms of St. Albans town, 1634, some twenty years after their documentation as the arms of Mercia by John Speed.
Other towns in historic Mercia include a reference to it, by inclusion of the same gold saltire, as, for example, Tamworth, the historic capital of the Anglo-Saxon kingdom. In recent years the town itself has reasserted its glorious past. Inspired by the discovery of a vast hoard of Anglo-Saxon treasure just ten miles away, new signs, bearing the flag of Mercia and a symbolic representation of an Anglo-Saxon warrior, celebrate Tamworth’s heritage as the ancient capital of Mercia.
- 100% polyester flag
- Featuring Official Flag of Anglo-Saxon Kingdom of Mercia
- Size:5ft x 3ft