Middlesex’s flag was included on the flag registry from its inception. The county’s name is likely to be familiar to most people; it is a county cricket team so is heard often in a sporting context and is found frequently in the titles and descriptions of organisations and buildings. Commercial enterprises often include the name in their designations and Edititionally the name is in official use as a postal district. Many people however may not realise that Middlesex, as a county, continues to exist. Whilst the Middlesex County Council was abolished in 1965 the county that has existed since Anglo-Saxon times has never been extinguished and whilst many parts of it now lie under an urban sprawl and are administered by a range of different bodies, Middlesex is still with us. In the twenty-first century motorists heading north over Kew Bridge are greeted with a sign reminding them that they are entering the county of Middlesex.
In the early Anglo-Saxon era the territory of Middlesex originally formed part of the kingdom of the East Saxons. The earliest surviving use of the name Middlesex is in a charter dated 704 granting the estate of Twickenham to Bishop Waldhere, where it appears as Middleseaxan. The name means territory of the Middle Saxons but it is unresolved whether the people were so named from the earliest days or whether this designation arose only after this portion of the kingdom of Essex was absorbed by the Mercians and the inhabitants ceased to be “East Saxons”! The ancient boundaries of the county were the rivers Colne to the east, Lea to the west, Thames to the south, and a ridge of hills to the north, the “Grimsdyke”. Sharing an origin with Essex, the same emblem bearing three gold hilted, white seaxes on a red background that represented Essex was also used in Middlesex, by such bodies as militia units and county authorities.
The depiction of the blades themselves seems to have evolved over the years. The notches for example are a fanciful artistic elaboration – gouging chunks out of a weapon like this would weaken its solidity and usefulness and existing seaxes are also not curved like scimitars. These characteristics seem to be the products of nineteenth century heraldic fashion!
Middlesex county campaigner and author of The Real Counties of Great Britain, Russell Grant, who reflected that; “Middlesex was first founded in Saxon documentation in 704 AD in a geographical description of Twickenham as being in Middlesex. Since local government counties were only created in 1889, it is a pity that over a thousand years of local heritage and national history of our counties, such as Middlesex, is lost because of a lack of a short-lived County Council. Of course, the County of Middlesex – an entirely separate and different entity – continues to exist as it has done for 1300 years but the lack of understanding of modern media and by-passing of local history in our schools has created an historical and geographical vacuum. We hope, in time, our Government will right the wrongs of previous administrations by protecting the identity and integrity of our counties that are at the very fabric of our English nationhood.”
- 100% polyester flag
- Featuring County flag of Middlesex
- Size: 5ft x 3ft
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