For the first time in nearly 1,000 the flag of Wessex will be flown over England’s ancient capital, Winchester.
To commemorate the 1,111th anniversary of the death of King Alfred the Great, four red and gold banners were raised on temporary flagpoles in the town’s Abbey Gardens, representing the number of years passed, 1,111.
There are no records of flags being flown in the town since William the Conqueror fought that Saxons in 1066, the Wessex Society said. Their chairman Derek Pickett, along with Councillor Richard Izard, the current Mayor of Winchester, raised the flags.
Derek Pickett said on the occasion:
“The last time these flags flew over Winchester freely was in October 1066, and this is the first time it’s been done since then. Now, the mayor’s great-great-grandchildren can say it was their great-great-grandfather who was the first to raise the Wessex flag again.”
The attractive flag, featuring a golden wyvern (a legendary winged reptilian with the head of a dragon and hindquarters of a lizard) on a deep red background, represents “conscientiousness” and “knowledge”, according to Mr Pickett, who is now hoping that this flag flying event will become an annual ceremony for the town.