National symbols of England

National symbols of England

The national symbols of England are flags, icons or cultural expressions that are emblematic, representative or otherwise characteristic of England or English culture. As a rule, these national symbols are cultural icons that have emerged out of English folklore and tradition, meaning few have any official status. However, most if not all maintain recognition at a national or international level, and some, such as the Royal Arms of England, have been codified in heraldry, and are established, official and recognised symbols of England.



Flag of England.svg

The national flag of England, known as St. George's Cross, has been England's national flag since the 13th century. Originally the flag was used by the maritime state the Republic of Genoa. The English monarch paid a tribute to the Doge of Genoa from 1190 onwards, so that English ships could fly the flag as a means of protection when entering the Mediterranean. A red cross acted as a symbol for many Crusaders in the 12th and 13th centuries. It became associated with Saint George, along with countries and cities, which claimed him as their patron saint and used his cross as a banner.[1] Since 1606 the St George's Cross has formed part of the design of the Union Flag, a Pan-British flag designed by King James I.[2][2]

Royal Banner of England.svg The Royal Banner of England[3] (also known as the Banner of the Royal Arms,[4] the Banner of the King of England,[5][6] or by the misnomer of the Royal Standard of England.[4]) is the English banner of arms, that features the Royal Arms of England. This Royal Banner differs from England's national flag, St George's Cross, in that it does not represent any particular area or land, but rather symbolises the sovereignty vested in the rulers thereof.[7]
White Dragon Flag of England.png The White Dragon flag, which is used by some English nationalists to emphasise the origins of the English national identity in the Anglo-Saxons before the Norman conquest. [8][9]


Royal Arms of England (1198-1340).svg The Royal Arms of England is the coat of arms of the English monarchs.[10] Designed in the High Middle Ages, the Royal Arms was subject to significant alteration as the territory, politics and rule of the Kingdom of England shifted throughout the Middle Ages. However, the enduring blazon, or technical description, is "Gules three lions passant guardant in pale Or armed and langued Azure",[7][11] meaning three horizontally positioned identical gold lions facing the observer, with blue tongues and claws, on a deep red background.

Although officially subsumed into the heraldry of the British Royal Family in 1707, the historic Royal Arms featuring three lions continues to represent England on several coins of the pound sterling, forms the basis of several emblems of English national sports teams (such as the England national football team),[12][13] and endures as one of the most recognisable national symbols of England.[10]

Tudor Rose.svg The Tudor rose, which takes its name from the Tudor dynasty, was adopted as a national emblem of England around the time of the Wars of the Roses as a symbol of peace.[14] It is a syncretic symbol in that it merged the white rose of the Yorkists and the red rose of the Lancastrians—cadet branches of the Plantagenets who went to war over control of the royal house. It is also known as the Rose of England.[15]
Crown of Saint Edward (Heraldry).svg St Edward's Crown was one of the English Crown Jewels and remains one of the senior British Crown Jewels, being the official coronation crown used in the coronation of first English, then British, and finally Commonwealth realms monarchs. As such, two-dimensional representations of the crown are used in coats of arms, badges, and various other insignia throughout the Commonwealth realms to indicate the authority of the reigning sovereign.[16]

National animal and plants

Lion2010.jpg The Lion is a national animal of England. Lion was the nickname of England's medieval warrior rulers with a reputation for bravery, such as Richard I of England, known as Richard the Lionheart.[17] Lions are frequently depicted in English heraldry, either as a device on shields themselves, or as supporters. They also appear in sculpture, and sites of national importance, such as Trafalgar Square. The lion is used as a symbol of English sporting teams, such as the England national football team.[16]
Red rose 00090.JPG The rose is the national flower of England. It is usually red,[16] and is used, for instance, in the emblems of the English Golf Union and England national rugby union team.
Oldest tree in Sherwood Forest park.JPG The oak is the national tree of England,[16] representing strength and endurance. The term Royal Oak is used to denote the escape of King Charles II from the grasps of the parliamentarians after his father's execution; he hid in an oak tree to avoid detection before making it safely into exile. The Major Oak is an 800–1000 year old oak in Sherwood Forest, famed as the alleged principal hideout of Robin Hood.

Food and drink

Fish and chips.jpg Fish and chips is a widely consumed part of English cuisine, and is symbolic of England.[16]
Nice Cup of Tea.jpg Tea is symbolic of England.[16] In 2006, a government sponsored survey confirmed that a cup of tea constituted a national symbol of England.[18]

Famous People

South Darley St George.jpg Saint George is the patron saint of England.[1]
Robin shoots with sir Guy by Louis Rhead 1912.png Robin Hood is a heroic outlaw in English folklore.
Poor little birdie teased by Richard Doyle.jpg Elves and other mythological creatures such as pixies and fairies often appear in childrens book of fairytales based on English folklore.

See also

  • Symbols of the United Kingdom


  1. ^ a b "St. George – England's Patron Saint". Retrieved 1 February 2009. 
  2. ^ a b "United Kingdom – History of the Flag". Retrieved 2009-09-05. 
  3. ^ Thompson 2001, p. 91.
  4. ^ a b Fox-Davis 1909, p. 474.
  5. ^ Keightley 1834, p. 310.
  6. ^ James 2009, p. 247.
  7. ^ a b Fox-Davies 2008, p. 607.
  8. ^
  9. ^
  10. ^ a b Boutell 1859, p. 373: "The three golden lions upon a ground of red have certainly continued to be the royal and national arms of England."
  11. ^ The First Foot Guards. "Coat of Arms of King George III". Retrieved 4-February-2010. 
  12. ^ Briggs 1971, pp. 166–167.
  13. ^ Ingle, Sean (2002-07-18). "Why do England have three lions on their shirts?". Retrieved 2010-09-15. 
  14. ^ "National flowers". 2003-01-13. Retrieved 2009-08-08. 
  15. ^ Smith, Jed (2005-06-03). "England's Rose – The Official History". Museum of Rugby, Twickenham. Retrieved 2009-08-08. 
  16. ^ a b c d e f "What images are associated with England?". Retrieved 2010-09-22. 
  17. ^ Garai, Jana (1973). The Book of Symbols. New York: Simon & Schuster. ISBN 671-21773-9. 
  18. ^ Gallagher 2006, p. 19.


  • Boutell, Charles (1859). The Art Journal London. 5. Virtue. pp. 373–376. 
  • Briggs, Geoffrey (1971). Civic and Corporate Heraldry: A Dictionary of Impersonal Arms of England, Wales and N. Ireland. London: Heraldry Today. ISBN 0900455217. 
  • Fox-Davies, Arthur Charles (2008) [1909]. A Complete Guide to Heraldry. READ. 
  • Gallagher, Michael (2006). The United Kingdom Today. London: Franklin Watts. ISBN 9780749664886. 
  • James, George Payne Rainsford (2009). The History of Chivalry. General Books LLC. 
  • Jamieson, Andrew Stewart (1998). Coats of Arms. Pitkin. ISBN 9-780853-728702. 
  • Keightley, Thomas (1834). The crusaders; or, Scenes, events, and characters, from the times of the crusades. 2 (3rd ed.). J. W. Parker. 
  • Thomson, D. Croal (2001). Fifty Years of Art, 1849-1899: Being Articles and Illustrations Selected from 'The Art Journal'. Adegi Graphics LLC. 

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • National anthem of England — Land of Hope and Glory National anthem of  England Music Edward Elgar Adopted 2014 (Official By England) England has many son …   Wikipedia

  • National symbols of Serbia — (Serbian: Национални симболи, tr. Nacionalni simboli) are the symbols that are used in Serbia to represent what is unique about the nation, reflecting different aspects of its cultural life and history. Contents 1 Official symbols 2 Unofficial… …   Wikipedia

  • National symbols of Wales — The National symbols of Wales include a diversity of official and unofficial images and other symbols. Contents 1 Flags 2 Heraldry 3 Other symbols 4 References …   Wikipedia

  • National symbols of Scotland — The National symbols of Scotland include a diversity of official and unofficial images and other symbols. The distinctive Royal Stewart Tartan is the personal tartan of Queen Elizabeth II. The Flag of Scotland, the Saltire or St. Andrew s Cross,… …   Wikipedia

  • National symbols of Belarus — Upon the independence of Belarus from the Soviet Union, the country resurrected national symbols that were used before the Soviet era. These included a flag of red and white stripes and a coat of arms consisting of a charging knight on horseback …   Wikipedia

  • National symbols of Slovenia — Flag of Slovenia The National symbols of Slovenia are the symbols used in Slovenia and abroad to represent the nation and its people. Political and ethnic symbols: The most common and recognizable of these is the Flag of Slovenia. The Coat of… …   Wikipedia

  • National symbols of Estonia — Contents 1 Estonian flag 1.1 History of the flag 1.2 Estonian Flag Act 1.3 Interesting Estonian Flag Facts …   Wikipedia

  • National symbols of Luxembourg — The national flag The Gëlle Fra …   Wikipedia

  • National symbols of Hungary — Holy Crown of Hungary The Holy Right …   Wikipedia

  • List of official United States national symbols — Symbols Flag of the United States Seal of the United States National bird: Bald Eagle National personification: Uncle Sam National Christmas tree: General Grant tree National creed: American s Creed National flower: Rose National tree: Oak… …   Wikipedia

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”

We are using cookies for the best presentation of our site. Continuing to use this site, you agree with this.