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Leicestershire (United Kingdom)

Last modified: 2007-10-27 by
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Leicestershire County Council

[Flag of Leicester County Councili] image located by Valentin Poposki, 20 August 2007


Quarterly per fesse indented argent and gules, in the first quarter a torteau charged with a cinquefoil ermine, in the second quarter a lion rampant double queued also argent, in the third quarter an ostrich feather ermine, and in the fourth quarter a maunch sable.
For those who don't understand heraldical language: the flag is divided in four fields; the division between the first and third, and the second and fourth fields, is indented. The first field is white, with a red disk with a white cinquefoil with ermine; the second field is red with a white double-tailed lion; the third is red with an ostrich feather with ermine; the fourth field is white with a black sleeve. The coat of arms was granted on the 25 January 1930. I don't know when the flag was adopted or first used. I has proportions of 2:3.

Pascal Vagnat, 5 November 1997

The cinquefoil was the seal of Robert de Beaumont (sometimes spelt Bellomont) who was the grandson of the first Earl of Leicester. It is suggested that the cinquefoil represents a five-petalled flower called the pimpernel, in a punning reference to his mother who was a Fitz-pernell.

He died in 1206 and the earldom passed to his sister's husband Simon de Montfort whose forked-tailed lion was described by the heralds in Anglo-French as, 'de gules ove un leon blank la cowe furchee'. The zig-zag divisions of the quarters also derive from Simon de Montfort who held the Honour of Hinkley in Leicestershire, the arms of which consisted of a shield parted palewise indented silver and red.

Simon de Montfort was killed at the battle of Evesham in 1265 after leading an initially successful revolt of the barons against King Henry III, who now conferred the earldom on his son Edmund who was also Earl of Lancaster. His grandson ultimately passed the title to John of Gaunt, Duke of Lancaster, represented by the ermine ostrich feather. When John of Gaunt's son ascended the throne as Henry IV, the earldom was merged with the Crown.

The forked-tailed lion also represents Lord Robert Dudley who was created Earl of Leicester by Queen Elizabeth in 1564; though his lion was green on gold..

They appear to have run out of earls for the fourth quarter, and the sleeve comes from the arms of the Hastings family, Barons of Loughborough.

David Prothero, 11 November 1997

Ashby de la Zouch

According to the Ashby de la Zouch council website, go-ahead has given for a Town Flag. Following a decision on designs the Town Flag is being produced by a flagmaker in Loughborough. The design is based on the coat of arms set against a white background.  The coat of arms can be seen on the town website.

Located by Dov Gutterman, 3 January 2003

Charnwood Borough Council

The website of Newton Newton Flags shows a flag for Charnwood Borough Council as a white sheet bearing the arms granted to Loughborough in 1889. The Borough of Charnwood was formed in 1974 and absorbed Loughborough as well as surrounding areas, and Charnwood council continue to use the 1889 arms. Details of the arms are on Ralf Hartemink's site at:
Laurence Jones, 10 October 2005

The new Charnwood District Council was formed on 01 April 1974 from the Borough of Loughborough (1888-1974), the Barrow-upon-Soar Rural District Council (1895-1974) and Shepshed Urban District Council (1895-1974). From 15 May 1974, the new Council was granted the status of a Borough and with it rights and privileges of the previous council, including the right to bear the arms of the former Borough of Loughborough. The Arms are formed from those of three families who once owned much of the town of Loughborough, the Despencers, the Beaumonts and the Hastings:

  1. The Helm
  2. Black Bar, with two gold cockle shells and a gold lace pattern, for the Despencer family (the lace pattern is also in lion's paw on Crest).
  3. Black Bull's Head, for Hastings.
  4. The Motto, meaning 'Victory lies in the Truth'
  5. The Crest. A Beaumont lion, in gold. The object in his right front paw, a maunch or lady's sleeve, is for Hastings. That in his right back paw is for Despencer.
  6. The Mantling or Cloak. A knight wore this as a protection from the weather. It is shown as if cut to pieces in battle.
  7. Maunch or lady's Sleeve, in black, for Hastings (also in lion's paw on Crest).
Sources: Loughborough 1898 1988, The Birth of a Borough, published by Charnwood Borough Council 1988, page 5 The Borough Arms The Mayoralty in Charnwood, published by Charnwood Borough Council, May 2004, page 11

Or on a bend sable between a maunch in chief and a bulls head erased in base of the last a fret between two escallops of the first and for the crest on a wreath of the colours a lion Rampant Or holding in the dexter fore paw a maunch and resting the dexter hind paw on a fret both sable.
Grant of Arms 04 April 1889

Colin Dobson , 16 October 2005


[Flag of Hinckley-Bosworth]

From the Hinckley-Bosworth web page, the flag is seen to be a banner of arms.

Located by Dov Gutterman, 2 January 2003


Flag competition winner (status uncertain)

[Flag of Leicester] image located by Valentin Poposki, 20 August 2007


The flag shown here is the winner of a competition as announced by It was designed by Jamie Bott, who says he wanted his flag to be traditional, and to incorporate some of Leicester's key historical elements: "Firstly, in the centre, I've placed a large 'cinquefoil' rose, a popular emblem used to represent the city as it's the Leicester City Council logo. "Secondly, there are illustrations of the 'Royal Bengal Tiger' taken from the badge of the Royal Leicestershire Tigers Regiment. They were a key part of both local and world history in the early 20th century for serving in India and Afghanistan, and as I have family members connected to the regiment I thought this to be a must in my design (and I used two Tigers to keep it symmetrical). "And finally, my design uses the colour purple to symbolise Leicester's Roman roots, and the "Semper Eadem" banner from Leicester's coat of arms, which was given to the city by Elizabeth I."
Valentin Poposki, 20 August 2007

There is already a flag on the manufacturer Newton's web site which they have obviously already made up for some kind of promotional activity by Leicester City Council at some point in the past.
The direct link for the pictures of the forty-six entrants in the BBC competition is here
Colin Dobson, 21 August 2007

The website of the University of Leicester shows the arms of Leicester with the following description:

"The Arms of the City of Leicester of the cinquefoil and wyvern were confirmed on the city at the Heraldic Visitation of 1619. The crest is based on earlier motifs of the first Earl of Leicester, Robert De Bellomonte, (the cinquefoil). When the Duke of Lancaster inherited the Earldom of Leicester he held land within the town and hence the Lancastrian connection. City status was granted in 1919 and following application by the City Council in 1926 the College of Arms allowed two supporters to be added to the design; the Lancastrian Lions on either side of the cinquefoil and Elizabeth I's motto beneath.

Heraldic Description:
Motto: Semper Eadem
Arms: Gules, a cinquefoil ermine pierced
Crest: On a wreath of the colours, a legless wyvern with outspread wings ermine strewed with wounds gules.
Supporters: On either side a lion rampant reguardant gules, gorged with a ducal coronet, suspended therefrom by a chain or, a cinquefoil ermine pierced gules.

Translation of the Heraldic Description
Motto: "Always the Same"
Arms: A red shield and on it a five-petalled white flower with one ermine's tail on each petal to represent fur; a hole at the flower's centre
Crest: A white or silver legless wyvern with red and white wounds showing, on a wreath of red and white.
Supporters: A rampant red lion on each side: the animals are looking backwards and wearing, in the form of a collar, the coronet of the Duchy of Lancaster, from which the cinquefoil hangs by a gold chain."

See also for a shorter description the website of the Leicester City Council:

Quoting the Colin Crosby Heritage Tours website:
"There are some amazing sights on the upper floors of Leicester's buildings, involving angels, monsters, goddesses and mythical beasts. A creature much in evidence in Leicester is the wyvern. Similar to a dragon, the bird-like wyvern is usually depicted as having two legs, unlike the reptile-like dragon, which has four. However, Leicester wyverns are usually shown with no legs at all."

See also the Welford Road Cemetery:
"The main gates of the cemetery display the city cinquefoil arms. The gateposts used to be topped with a carved wyvern, but these were stolen in 1990."
Ivan Sache 14 July 2006

Melton Borough Council

The website of Newton Newton Flags shows a flag for Melton Borough Council as a white sheet bearing the Borough arms, granted in 1990. See for details.
Laurence Jones, 10 October 2005

University of Leicester

[Flag of University of Leicester] image by Jonathan Dixon, 8 March 2006

The University of Leicester is located in the English East Midlands city of Leicester. It was founded in 1921 and obtained university status in 1957. Its site was given as a memorial to the dead of World War I by Thomas Fielding Johnson, a fact reflected in the motto "Ut Vitam Habeat" - "that they may have life".

I have seen photos of university buildings flying the university flag on several promotional posters. This flag is also reported on page 3 of the May 2000 edition of the Bulletin, the University of Leicester Newsletter, under the heading "Raising the standard of education":
"NEW University flags have been purchased to fly over the Fielding Johnson Building. The flags feature the new University crest on an Oxford Blue background and have a reinforcing strip to extend their life. The old flags had no such feature and had become very frayed. In order to accommodate the new crest the flag size has had to be larger than hitherto and is now 3.6 m wide by 2.4 m high. The layout was provided by the University Graphics Department. The flags have been supplied by Concorde, Nottingham & Leicester, Flag Company from Woodhouse Eaves, Leicestershire, who also provide flags for the Admiralty. Two flags have been provided to allow for a "Sunday Best"."

The new "crest" is a red shield with two (ermine?) flowers above an open book displaying the motto, above a golden horseshoe. According to the press release at it came into use on 1 October 1999 at the same time as Robert Burgess became Vice Chancellor. The press release and many other online documents say: "The simplified logo and a new corporate style is designed to strengthen the University's identity in an increasingly competitive sector. The amended logo, which is on this Press Release, is a simplification of the original crest focusing on the Coat of Arms as the symbol of heritage. It also reinforces the University's link with the region as it is based upon the coat of arms of the City of Leicester and carries the Rutland horseshoe. The University motto, Ut Vitam Habeant - that they may have life - is a permanent memorial to the past whilst looking forward to future generations."

This text appears at, which also provides a link to a blazon of the arms which is not accessible from outside the university. The page at has an image of arms for the university, but I can't see how they relate to the emblem on the flag.
Jonathan Dixon, 8 March 2006

The flag displays the shield of the arms of the University: "Gules, an open book proper strapped and buckled and inscribed with the words "Ut Vitam Habeant" in letters Or, between in chief two cinquefoils pierced ermine and in base a horse shoe also or." Technically the writing should be gold (or yellow) but that would hardly show up...  These were granted 3rd April 1922 to what was then the Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland College. The ermine cinquefoils, coming the arms of the City of Leicester's arms and represent Leicester City and the County of Leicestershire, the horseshoe is for Rutland (qv). These are the same as those shown at, but the illustration there shows the crest (a demi-gryphon holding a book), helm and mantling. the shield is also slanted, and the size of the graphic is too small to distinguish the devices on the shield.
Laurence Jones, 10 March 2006