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Gloucester (England)

English City

Last modified: 2020-12-05 by rob raeside
Keywords: gloucester | gloucestershire |
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[Flag of Gloucester] image by Pete Loeser, 21 September 2020
Gloucester District Council Flag


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Introduction: City of Gloucester

Gloucester was founded by the Romans in AD 97 under the Emperor Nerva as Colonia Glevum Nervensis. Since that time it has continued to be one of the most important cities in England, boasting over 2,000 years of history. Today it is the capital of Gloucestershire, located between the Cotswolds and Forest of Dean, an area of outstanding natural beauty. Gloucester is one of England's busiest inland ports and is known as the crossroads of England. Its Roman and medieval walls have provided the defences for the strategic crossing point of the River Severn which the city overlooks. It is the site of both a Saxon and Norman castle, and a centre of monastic learning with sites of several monasteries. St Peter's Abbey was founded there in 679 and later became Gloucester Cathedral.
The town has been the site of many of the most famous events in England's history. Edward the Confessor held court at Gloucester where he was threatened by the army of Godwin, Earl of Wessex in 1051. It was granted its first charter in 1155 by Henry II. Gloucester was incorporated by King Richard III in 1483 and made a county in itself. In 1216 Henry III, age ten, was crowned in the Chapter House of Gloucester Cathedral. It is the burial place of both King Edward II and Walter de Lacy. The town was also put under Siege in 1643 during which the city held out against Royalist forces in the First English Civil War. Perhaps more importantly to modern generations, it was where many scenes in the Harry Potter films were made...
Economically today, the city is dominated by service industries, but has strong financial, research, distribution and light industrial sectors. It is a favorite place for tourists with its many museums, historic landmarks, restaurants, and has a fantastic night life.
Pete Loeser, 1 December 2020


About Gloucester District Council Flag

[Flag of Gloucester] image by Klaus-Michael Schneider, 20 October 2010

I spotted this flag in the Mayor's Parlour, in the North Warehouse of the Gloucester Docks on 1 October 2010. Special thanks to support given me by the City of Gloucester.

  • Description of flag: The ratio is approx 1:2. The flag is made of linen in natural colour, interpreted as white. In the centre of the flag is the Commonwealth Coat of Arms, made of pieces of silk.
  • Description of coat of arms: In a golden (yellow) shield are three red chevronels between ten torteaux of the same colour ordered three-three-three and one. The shield is topped by a crest. A blue helmet with golden (yellow) and red scarves is crested as follows: Issuant from a golden (yellow) mural crown a guardant red demi-lion tongued blue holding in his right paw a blue broadsword and in his left paw a trowel proper of the same colour. On either side a rampant red lion tongued blue holding in the right fore-paw a blue broad-sword proper as supporters. Upon a white base is a yellow ribbon containing the motto Fides Invicta Triumphat (unconquered faith triumphs) in black capitals. Please note: The colours reported are those upon flag. Some details of the Commonwealth coat are different, e.g. helmet and swords silver and base green. Also note, that the Tudor Coat is not described. Images of both can be found at Civic Heraldry: South West Region.
  • Meaning: The Gloucester District Council is empowered by an Order in Council made in pursuance of section 247 of the Local Government Act, 1972, to use the armorial bearings of the former Gloucester Corporation. The so called "Commonwealth Coat" was assigned by Sir Edward Bysshe, Garter Principal King of Arms in 1652. The frontispiece to John Dorney's Speeches, published in 1653, contains an illustration of the Commonwealth coat, and describes it as incorporating the arms "assigned" by Sir Edward in 1623. These latter arms (as pictured above) were not, however, assigned in 1623 ( James I ), but were recorded to the City at the Herald's Visitation of the County of Gloucester in that year, but without crest and supporters. The Gloucester Corporation, therefore, proved their right to these arms at that Visitation. There is little doubt that this coat was in use previous to the grant of the so called Tudor Coat in 1538, although there is no record of its origin. It is significant that the chevronels are identical with those of the arms of the de Clare family, who later became Earls of Gloucester. The torteaux were probably derived from the ancient arms of the See of Worcester, in which Gloucester was, before 1542, included.
    The Corporation resolved in 1647 that the "new arms (i.e. the so called Tudor Coat, granted by Christopher Barker, Garter Principal King of Arms in 1572 ( Henry VIII ) should be delivered up and that the old arms (Commonwealth) of the City be henceforth borne" . The resultant grant of 1652 incorporated the ancient shield with the addition of a crest and supporters.
    On the restoration of the Monarchy in 1660 the crest and supporters of the Commonwealth arms were declared null and void. The Corporation, however, were seemingly reluctant to abandon the arms which had been assigned to them in the cause of freedom by the de facto Garter of the Commonwealth regime, and they were probably fortified in their determination to continue using them in the knowledge that they had proved their right to the shield in the reign of Charles I. Therefore the Commonwealth Coat has been in continuous use ever since, without serious challenge.
    The Corporation finally decided to regularise the Commonwealth arms which almost certainly incorporates the most ancient armorial bearings of the City and these arms are now legally granted to the Corporation by Letters Patent dated the 16th April 1945.
    The motto was probably adopted to immortalise the spirit of the sturdy citizens who successfully held the besieged City in the Cromwellian cause in 1643.
Theses Arms were recorded in 1623, the crest and supporters granted in 1652.
Source: Civic Heraldry, with compliments by the City of Gloucester.
Klaus-Michael Schneider, 20 October 2010

Today I received a message from Gloucester City Council, which confirmed that the background of the city flag is indeed considered to be white.
Klaus-Michael Schneider, 23 November 2010


Gloucester City Flags
Commercial Variants

[Flag of Gloucester]     [Flag of Gloucester] images by Pete Loeser, 21 September 2020
Based on this photo and this photo

These two commercial manufacturer variants have been sold as Gloucester City flags. They basically place a Gloucester arms/shield centered on defaced national English and Gloucestershire flags.
They, of course, have no official recognition, but are attractive designs.
Pete Loeser, 21 September 2020


The Two "Ancient" Gloucester Grants of Coats of Arms

[Flag of Gloucester] Tudor Coat of Arms    [Flag of Gloucester] Commonwealth Coat of Arms
images located by Pete Loeser, 1 November 2020

The City of Gloucester enjoys the distinction of two ancient grants of arms. The first is a Tudor coat of arms and was granted in 1538. "The second was awarded during the Commonwealth period in 1652. On the restoration of the Monarchy in 1660 the crest and supporters of the Commonwealth arms were declared null and void. The Corporation, however, were seemingly reluctant to abandon the arms which had been assigned to them in the cause of freedom by the de facto Garter of the Commonwealth regime, and they were probably fortified in their determination to continue using them in the knowledge that they had proved their right to the shield in the reign of Charles I. Therefore the Commonwealth arms have been in continuous use ever since, without serious challenge...The motto was probably adopted to immortalise the spirit of the sturdy citizens who successfully held the besieged City in the Cromwellian cause in 1643." (source)

Gloucester City Council (Gloucestershire County Town)

  • ARMS: Or three Chevronels between ten Torteaux Gules three three three and one.
  • CREST: Issuant from a Mural Crown Or a demi-Lion guardant Gules holding in his dexter paw a Broadsword and in his sinister paw a Trowel proper.
  • SUPPORTERS: On either side a Lion Gules holding in the dexter fore-paw a Broadsword proper.
  • MOTTO: Fides Invicta Triumphat - "Unconquered faith triumphs" or "Faith indomitable wins through".
  • RECORDED: Arms recorded in 1623, crest and supporters granted in 1652.
Source: Civic Heraldry of England: Gloucester City.
Pete Loeser, 21 September 2020


Gloucester Arms
Traditional

[Gloucester Arms Sheild traditional] image by Pete Loeser, 1 December 2020

In 1652 the new arms were introduced comprising a gold shield with the red chevrons of the Clares and 10 red dots (torteaux). These represent the siege the city withstood in the Civil War. These new arms were actually declared void by Charles II, but the city ignored him and in 1945 the full achievement was confirmed by the College of Heralds. (Gloucestershire County Council Archives: Gloucestershire Heraldry)
Traditionally the Gloucester Arms Shields were drawn with a sharper pointed shape, but I've noticed the ones used on the modern commercial flags now seem to have a more rounded appearance.
Pete Loeser, 1 December 2020


University of Gloucester
Gloucester and Cheltenham

[University of Gloucester] Flag and Logo     [University of Gloucester Coat of Arms] Coat of Arms
images Located by Pete Loeser, 1 December 2020

The University of Gloucestershire is a public university with campuses in Gloucestershire and Cheltenham. There are three campuses, one in Gloucester and two smaller ones in Cheltenham. Their campuses are named Francis Close Hall, The Park, and Oxstalls with connections to The Centre for Art and Photography. Although the university can trace its history back to 1834, it wasn't until 2001 that the University of Gloucestershire was awarded university status.

University of Gloucestershire Coat of Arms

"Gloucestershire University's Coat of Arms draws on many historical and heraldic elements from around the county. The chevronels are from the Clare family, whilst the horse shoes are from the Tudor Gloucester coat of arms. The stags represent the Forest of Dean and the cross represents the rivers Wye and Severn, as well as the cross of Edward the Confessor first Lord of the manor of Cheltenham. The motto means 'In spirit and in truth'."
Source: Gloucestershire County Council Archives: Gloucestershire Heraldry.
Pete Loeser, 1 December 2020


HMS Gloucester Flag
Commercial

[Flag of Gloucester] image by Pete Loeser, 1 December 2020
Based on this photo.

Eleven vessels of the British Royal Navy have been named HMS Gloucester, after Gloucester. The latest HMS Gloucester was a Sheffield class guided missile destroyer, launched in April of 1975. She was commissioned in March of 1978 and remained active until her decommissioning in January of 2005. The Royal Navy used this class of destroyer for 38 years between 1975 and 2013. The first HMS Gloucester was a 54-gun ship launched in 1654 and wrecked in 1682. The most recent Gloucester saw action during the Falklands War (1982) and in the Gulf War in Kuwait (1991). She was scrapped in November of 2008. A 12th HMS Gloucester is planned.
This flag is not an official Royal Navy flag, but made by a commercial manufacturer.
Pete Loeser, 1 December 2020


Diocese of Gloucester
Church of England Flag, Arms, and Logo

[Flag of Gloucester]       [Flag of Gloucester]       [Flag of Gloucester] images by Pete Loeser, 21 September 2020 - flag image is based on this photo.

The Diocese of Gloucester is the Church of England diocese based in Gloucester, covering the county of Gloucestershire and part of the County of Worcestershire. It was founded in 1541. The main cathedral is "Church of the Holy and Indivisible Trinity", or Gloucester Cathedral, and the bishop is the Bishop of Gloucester. It is part of the Province of Canterbury.
Shown above from left to right are the Diocese of Gloucester Flag, the arms of the Diocese of Gloucester, and the Business Logo of the Diocese of Gloucester.
Pete Loeser, 21 September 2020


Bishop of Gloucester Arms
Church of England

[Flag of Gloucester] image by Pete Loeser, 1 December 2020

The office of Bishop of Gloucester dates to the the foundation of the Anglican Church in 1541 by King Henry VIII. The diocese covers the County of Gloucestershire and part of the County of Worcestershire. The Bishop's Chair (cathedra) is located in the Cathedral Church of the Holy and Indivisible Trinity. The bishop's residence is Bishopscourt, Gloucester; very near the Cathedral.
Not only was the Diocese of Gloucester one of the founding sees, but it has the first female diocesan bishop in the Church of England ever chosen. The current diocesan Bishop of Gloucester is Rachel Treweek. I was unable to locate a flag for the Bishop of Gloucester or the Cathedral.
Pete Loeser, 1 December 2020


Gloucester Rugby Club

[Gloucester Rugby Club]     [Gloucester Rugby Club] images by Pete Loeser, 21 September 2020

Based on this photo

Gloucester Rugby is the professional rugby union club based in Gloucester. They play in England's top division of rugby. The club dates back to 1873. Their home green is Kingsholm Stadium where they started playing in 1891. Their supporters call them the Cherry and Whites (referring to their team colors and shirts). There are no shortages of commercially supplied flags for fans.
Pete Loeser, 21 September 2020

[Gloucester Rugby Clubr]     [Gloucester Rugby Club] images by Pete Loeser, 21 September 2020

Based on this photo and this photo


 
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