The St Frideswide Cross: The Oxfordshire Association proposal for an Oxfordshire flag.
A flag is a symbol of togetherness and a focus of unity. It is not an exclusionary tool, but an affirmative, enriching, and wholesome icon of common ground and common purpose. Its value is unquantifibly intangible, yet very real. It has the unique potential to add significantly to the history, iconography, and identity of of a place – and also of, in a sense, summing up that which has gone before. This bringing together of past, present, and future constitutes a microcosm of the most noble ideals of all societal institutions – that of the bonding of many into one, individuals into group, people into a people. Alone, a flag cannot acheive this. But once adopted, it can reinforce, reinvigorate, and renew the capacity of the ‘little platoons of society’ to do so themselves.
This is the high bar of acheivement for an Oxfordshire Flag to aim for.
Many British counties have long-standing county flags, many more have recently adopted new ones for all the reasons outlined above. For information on recognised, official county flags, please visit The Flag Institute’s website [link]. The time is ripe for Oxfordshire to follow suit, not merely for the sake of conformity, but because we are just as proud of our county as others are of theirs – if not more so!
Graham Bartram, Cheif Vexillologist (flag expert) to HM The Queen has kindly agreed to act as adviser to the Oxfordshire Association in creating a flag for the county.
The ‘St Frideswide Cross’ Oxfordshire flag proposal consists of a straightforward cross design in white with alternating blue and green quartering. The template used has the virtues of simplicity, clarity, and contiguity with both the predominant historic style of European flags and the emerging trend in English county flag configuration. The colour scheme carries symbolic meaning whilst observing the vexillological and heraldic ‘rule of tincture’. The white cross may be taken as emblematic of the saintly character of Frideswide (c650-727), our traditional local heroine, whilst also paying homage to the crossroads of Carfax, the ancient junction at the beating heart of the county. The blue and green meanwhile are colours long associated with Oxfordshire, prominently appearing on the County Council’s armorial bearings and in Oxfordshire regimental history. These two colours may also be taken to present a pigmentary representation of the essential communal dynamic in our county’s chief city between ‘town’/county (pastoral green) and ‘gown’ (Oxford blue). To the poetic mind, it may also evoke Oxfordshire sky/river and field/moor. Incidentally, the use of green also mirrors its use by Oxfordshire County Council in its current logo and publications.
Interested parties, including the Oxfordshire Association, the Flag Institute, and the Association of British Counties are currently in discussion on this matter and how best to proceed. More information will follow.