Isle of Axholme given bespoke flag honour

Emily Collins
January 31, 2022

A new flag representing the history and independence of the Isle of Axholme has been unveiled.

The prominent marker was designed to help further solidify the identity and independence of the area and each design element has been specifically chosen to represent a part of the Isle’s unique history and culture. The project was organised by the newly established Friends of the Isle group, chaired by Councillor David Rose, to celebrate the rich and unique history of our patch of North Lincolnshire. Funding for the flag project was secured with the assistance of MP Andrew Percy, who secured a grant for nearly £400 from North Lincolnshire Council via his Bid Writing Service which supports local good causes.  Local councillors, MP Andrew Percy and local historian, Bob Fish met at All Saints Church in Belton on Friday, January 21 to unveil the new flag to the public.

Andrew Percy MP said: “The Isle is such a historic and unique place with a distinct identity and history. I have always loved the Isle's history, especially that of the Dutch settlers and workers who came to the Isle to create the landscape we all know as the Isle of Axholme today. They changed the geography of the area and in so doing created one of the richest agricultural areas in the country. 

“I have worked closely with North Lincolnshire Council to promote the Isle and its unique identity. A few years ago we secured the new welcome signs to the Isle and it is now great that the Isle can celebrate its special identity via this new flag.”

Mr Percy also revealed he will be taking one of the new flags with him down to Westminster where it will be displayed in his office in the House of Commons. He added: “Thanks to all involved in this project and especially to local historian, Bob Fish, who joined us for the unveiling and has done so much to record and retell the history of the Isle." The meaning behind the flag: The Friends of the Isle group was set up by the Isle’s six North Lincolnshire Council Ward Councillors to support various projects across the area which highlight the unique traditions and culture which is present in the Isle. The Isle of Axholme has a long history of independence, from resistance to the King’s wishes, to the retention of its medieval methods of farming. 

To celebrate this a group consisting of students from The Axholme Academy, local historians and Ward Councillors, John Briggs, Julie Reed, David Robinson, Tim Mitchell, Ron Allcock and David Rose came together to explore the possibility of creating a prominent marker for the area in the shape of a flag. Using ideas generated by the students and symbols representing the topography and history of the Isle, the group came up with the striking flag design.  Lincolnshire’s county flag forms the base of the design, with 12 blue and green horizontal strips representing the Isle’s 12 parishes and acting as a reminder of the strip field method of farming that persisted in Axholme well into the 20th century. The blue and green colours symbolise the mix of water and agriculture that have formed the Axholme of today, with the dominance of blue in the four quadrants also referencing Axholme’s four historical rivers - Trent, Don, Idle and Torn. In the centre of the flag is a yellow cross with a red outline, a reversal of that from Lincolnshire’s flag.

The cross represents the two intersecting, arterial routes that divide Axholme into quadrants - the A161 and the A18/M180. It is yellow to reference the growing of wheat in the area as well as the increasing production of oilseed rape. The red shield in the centre is taken from that of the Mowbray family, while the sheaf of corn references the Sheffield family that held lands from Kelfield to Keadby. Isle of Axholme South Councillor, David Rose, said: “This is the first of many expected projects for the Isle to establish its identity and acknowledge the rich history and tradition. The Friends of the Isle group will distribute the flags to parish and town councils over the next few weeks.  “We plan to purchase further flags and other memorabilia showing the flag for sale to the public over the coming months.”

Cllr Dave Robinson, Cllr John Briggs, Andrew Percy MP, Cllr Julie Reed, local historian, Bob Fish, Cllr Tim Mitchell and Cllr David Rose. (27-01-78 SU) 

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