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Durham, England

Last modified: 2004-11-20 by rob raeside
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Durham City

[Durham] by Marcus Schmöger, 24 September 2001

Durham is a city about 30 km south of Newcastle-upon-Tyne; it has a really magnificent church (a striking Norman cathedral). The flag is a banner-of-arms and shows a red cross (fimbriated white) on black.
Marcus Schmöger, 24 September 2001

The City of Durham has a simple and attractive shield which is widely seen on official notices, sign-posts, litter bins and other street furniture, etc. It is a red cross on a black field, fimbriated white. There is at least one place where this appears as a flag, in the market place outside the Council offices. The flag is severely tattered, being little more than half its original length, but it looks as though it is 1:2.

Note that Durham also gives its name to the county of which it is the 'capital'. The county has a coat of arms which incorporates what is known as the 'St Cuthbert's Cross'. This also appears in other coats of arms, but not in any flags or banners of arms which I have seen, with the possible exception of a rather unsatisfactory flag which was flying at Durham Castle, which is now part of the University of Durham. It was a maroon field with a coat of arms, including separate a motto, stuck in the middle of it - not at all heraldic.
André Coutanche, 29 October 2004


I have been in touch with both local and county record offices and they know of no flag associated with Sunderland. One possible reason, is that unlike Durham and Newcastle which were centres of Norman power, the area which is now  known as Sunderland had been an established English settlement since the 7th century. However, a number of coats of arms have been granted since the 12th century.
Michael Brown
, 25 April 2003


The small town of Washington lies 6.5 miles (10 km) west of Sunderland, 8 miles (13 km) south of Newcastle, and 10 miles (16 km) north of Durham. It is the place where the Washington family with all its branches (including the one leading to George W.) lived for several hundred years (ca. 1180-1452). I visited the "Washington Old Hall" there which is, however, mostly originating from the 17th century. Of course there are many memorabilia of George Washington (and the USA) there:

Marcus E.V. Schmöger 24 September 2001

The word molet (more usually spelled mullet) means a star, and in Britain usually a five-pointed star. (Any other number of points is specified.) A mullet with a hole in the middle (pierced) is called a spur rowel, so the explanation in brackets is incorrect, since the mullets in both the Washington family arms and the District of Columbia flag are whole, not pierced.

Mike Oettle, 13 January 2002