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Cheshire (England)

Traditional English County

Last modified: 2022-06-25 by rob raeside
Keywords: cheshire | chester | garb | earl of chester | knutsford | birchwood |
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[Flag of Cheshire, England] image by Jason Saber, 11 April 2013

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Description of the Flag

The Cheshire flag has now been registered. See the UK Flag Registry from which I have cut and paste the following.

  • Flag Type: County Flag
  • Flag Date: 3rd May 1938
  • Designer: College of Arms
  • Adoption Route: Regional Organisation
  • UK Design Code: UNKG7427
  • Aspect Ratio: 3:5
  • Pantone Colours: Blue 286, Yellow 109, Yellow 112
  • Certification: Flag Institute Chief Vexillologist, Graham Bartram
Jason Saber, 11 April 2013

This is a banner of the arms of the former county council but is a rarity in being sufficiently uncomplicated to work well as a flag. The flag is also extremely familiar to the residents of the county being used as an emblem by several local organisations and in 2011 flew outside the DCLG to represent the county. The design displays the trio of golden wheat sheaves on blue which have been associated with the Earldom of Chester since the late 12th century. It is the same as that known to have been used as the city arms of Chester in 1560 and which can be seen on the bridge at Eastgate, Chester. From 1779 this shield was occasionally used as the Chester Assay Office hallmark. The ABC plans to seek support from the local authorities in the county to have this flag registered by the Flag Institute - their endorsement should be sufficient to achieve this aim. (image) (source)
Jason Saber, 3 August 2012

The flag of Cheshire was registered by the Flag Institute on April 10th 2013, following a request by the Historic Counties Trust and after receipt of expressions of support for its registration from a number of countywide bodies.
The three gold wheat sheaves, known heraldically as garbs, on a blue background, have been associated with either the Earldom of Cheshire, the county of Cheshire or its county town, Chester, for several centuries. The Earldom of Cheshire was originally created by William 1st when the Norman regime, making examples of the local nobility, confiscated the property of Earl Edwin of Mercia and other local landowners as part of measures taken to overcome the entrenched resistance of the Anglo-Saxon population. The first earl, Hugh d'Avranches, ruled virtually autonomously in William's name and with his full authority. By the late twelfth century the earls had established a position of power as quasi-princely rulers of Cheshire which led to the later designation of the "County Palatine of Chester", indicating that the territory enjoyed a degree of autonomy distinct from other shires, "palatine" meaning "from the palace&quopt; and referring to the authority so derived by the rulers. Earl Ranulph de Blondeville, the sixth Earl, was the first to use the three garbs on blue, in the 12th century. (source)
Valentin Poposki, 28 June 2020

Cheshire County Council
(founded in 1889, officially dissolved in 2009)

[Cheshire County Council flag] Variant #1    [Cheshire County Council flag] Variant #2
images by Pete Loeser, 9 September 2020 - Based on this photo located by Colin Dobson, 21 November 2005

I went to Chester this morning to find out about the flag of Cheshire. The County Council offices have been moved to the town of Winsford, several miles away and now a bedroom suburb of Manchester. However, the staff at the Chester City Tourist Office, (the former city hall) were very helpful. The Cheshire County Council flag apparently exists in two variants, one just with the shield and garb and the other with the lettering as well,. There doesn't seem to be any formal regulation as to which is official; I was told that apparently when the flags were first ordered after the local government reorganization in 1974 they did not have any lettering beneath the logo, but when a reorder took place sometime during the 1980s they suddenly appeared with the lettering. She said that she wasn't sure whether there had been any action on the part of the County Council with respect to this, or whether it was just a unilateral action on the part of the flagmaker (i e, somebody got it wrong and there was too much apathy and inertia to complain). I myself was too apathetic to go next door to the main library to check council records on microform as to this point.
Ron Lahav

A white flag [referring to a photo on the old Cheshire website no longer online] shows the Council's Coat of Arms, which states: "Cheshire is the only example in the United Kingdom of the county and the county town both possessing a complete achievement of heraldic honours." The wheatsheaf and shield on the Council's logo appear to have been taken from the Coat of Arms and restyled. Note from the photograph, the logo appears on both sides of the flag the correct way around, so it is a double sided flag.
Colin Dobson, 21 November 2005

I find the use of a "logo" flag by the present county council of Cheshire rather sad. By definition, their coat of arms is also a banner, viz: Azure a sword palewise point in chief between three garbs or, and thus this is already the council's flag. Of course the so-called county council's administrative boundaries differ radically from those of the County Palatine; there is therefore a need for a flag to identify the people of the latter (rather than the taxpayers of this rump "county"), particularly those in the districts once annexed by Greater Manchester and Merseyside and now left county-less. It seems to me that the best design would be: Azure three garbs or, as used by the County Palatine since Earl Hugh Kyvelioc: I propose this as a regional flag for general use within the County Palatine of Chester.
Andrew Gray, 24 September 2006

[Cheshire West and Chester Council flag]     [Cheshire East Council flag]
images by Pete Loeser, 9 September 2020

The county council of traditional Cheshire founded in 1889 was officially dissolved in 2009. It was replaced by a ceremonial county of the same name with two separate county unitary authorities, that of "Cheshire West and Chester" and "Cheshire East". These two unitary authorities have borough status and are charged with managing and providing local government services including Council Tax billing, libraries, social services, processing planning applications, waste collection and disposal, and a local education authority. Placed in charge of these activities are the "Cheshire West and Chester Council" and "Cheshire East Council". Both now have council flags similar in design to the flags of the older Cheshire County Council flag - your basic logo on a bed sheet.
Pete Loeser, 9 September 2020

Earl of Chester

One of the alternative titles of the Heir to the English throne (I'm not sure if it also appertains to the United Kingdom as a whole) is Earl of Chester, and when Princess Diana was still Princess of Wales she opened the main hospital in the county in Chester. The hospital is named after her - it's the Countess of Chester Hospital.
Ron Lahav, 22 March 2004