Local traditions and culture in Northumberland

  • At Heatherslaw Mill
    At Heatherslaw Mill
    by toonsarah
  • The beach at low tide
    The beach at low tide
    by toonsarah
  • Local Customs
    by toonsarah

Most Viewed Local Customs in Northumberland

  • toonsarah's Profile Photo

    The flag of Northumberland

    by toonsarah Written Jul 20, 2014

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Wherever you travel in Northumberland you are likely to come across this flag. It was adopted as the county council’s flag as recently as 1995 but it has clearly captured the imagination of local people who display it proudly on buildings, as a bumper sticker on their cars and even on their clothing (e.g. baseball caps). This popularity may be because its origins are much older than that appropriation by the council, and there are claims that it is the oldest known flag design in Britain. It is derived from the red and gold striped flag of the ancient Anglo kingdom of Bernicia, which merged with that of Deira in the early 7th century to form the Kingdom of Northumbria. Later, in medieval times, the colours of red and gold were adopted by the first Earl of Northumberland.

    The British County flags website describes its history thus:
    ”The 7th century King and Saint, Oswald, founded the kingdom of Northumbria by merging his domain of Bernicia with its southern neighbour Deira. The Venerable Bede, England’s first historian, writing in his ‘Historia Ecclesiastica Gentis Anglorum’ describes Oswald’s tomb where ‘…they hung up over the monument his banner made of gold and purple.’ It is probable that this description caused the medieval heralds to assign arms of eight alternate stripes of red and gold (yellow) to Bernicia. It is reported that in the Middle Ages the same colours were flown by the first Earl of Northumberland, Henry Percy. Before its formal award of arms in 1951, the Northumberland County Council had informally used these attributed arms of Bernicia although the College of Arms modified the design, dividing the stripes by an ‘embattled’ line, that is an indentation which resembles a castle’s crenellations; the red and yellow stripes in the lower half were then “counter changed”. The modification was intended to symbolise the interlocking stones of Hadrian’s Wall, which runs through the county, and Northumberland’s position as a border shire.”

    It is quite probable that most people flying or displaying the flag know little of its history, but they reflect an ancient tradition when they do so, as well as demonstrating their pride in their county.

    When flying, the top corner, nearest the flagpole, should always be gold, never red.

    At Heatherslaw Mill
    Related to:
    • Historical Travel

    Was this review helpful?

  • Norham scarecrow competition

    by stephenshephard Written Oct 28, 2003

    A very recent local custom, the villagers of Norham have taken to competing to produce the best scarecrow. Scarecrows, usually on a humorous theme, are exhibited outside their shops and homes until the village fair on the August bank holiday each year.

    Norham is about 7 miles (11 km) southwest of Berwick-upon-Tweed near the Scottish border.

    Gentlemen prefer blonde scarecrows, Norham

    Was this review helpful?

Northumberland Hotels

Top Northumberland Hotels

Berwick-Upon-Tweed Hotels
53 Reviews - 155 Photos
Seahouses Hotels
18 Reviews - 34 Photos
Bamburgh Hotels
12 Reviews - 56 Photos
Alnwick Hotels
34 Reviews - 96 Photos
Morpeth Hotels
1 Review
Lindisfarne Hotels
89 Reviews - 253 Photos
Hexham Hotels
18 Reviews - 82 Photos
Haltwhistle Hotels
3 Reviews - 5 Photos
Corbridge Hotels
1 Hotel
Blyth Hotels
2 Hotels

Instant Answers: Northumberland

Get an instant answer from local experts and frequent travelers

25 travelers online now


Northumberland Local Customs

Reviews and photos of Northumberland local customs posted by real travelers and locals. The best tips for Northumberland sightseeing.
Map of Northumberland