Anura Guruge Paying Homage To An “Ol'” Union Jack — Actually A 17th Century The King’s Colours (Great Union Flag) At Strawbery Banke.

Anura Guruge, June 8, 2013...


Anura Guruge

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Strawbery Banke in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, uses flags, overridingly ‘Stars and Stripes‘ (of various flavors) to indicate which of their many ‘you have to visit‘ houses are open for tour.

There is one and only one exception — the oldest house at the Banke, ‘Sherburne House‘ thought to have been built c. 1695 – 1703.

It had a ‘Union Jack’ flying in front. I was attracted to it like a moth to a flame.

I guess I didn’t study it too carefully. PLUS, in my own defense, there was quite a breeze and the flags were constantly aflutter.

Well as you can see I tried to get draped in the flag — MY FLAG.

One of the older, professional, employed by the Banke, docens was at the ‘Sherburne House’. I had met him earlier at the start of the tour and talked about Granite State Ambassadors (GSAs), since they are professional guides and IF we did something like this it would be on a volunteer basis for us (if NOT for GSA per se).

He started to tell me that it was the WRONG flag for that ‘period’ and that experts had informed the Banke management that they were flying the wrong flag!

Well, I am the first to admit that I am NOT, alas, an expert on the Union Jack. There is only so many things I can stay of top of (and I will spare you the joke) and the Union Jack, for now, is not one of them.

At least I do know that the ‘Jack’ has a right and wrong orientation and that the Queen can have you fed to the Queen’s (omnivorous) Swans along the Thames if you intentionally fly the ‘Jack’ the wrong way! That said, I am hard pressed to ever tell you IF a ‘Jack’ is flying the right way or not! But, I don’t feel too bad. I know that I am in good and safe company. I know that 90% of Brits wouldn’t even know that the flag is not symmetrical and as such as a right top and bottom.

Well, when I got home I checked — using Wikipedia as an easy reference. Wow. Talk about arcane. But, this is a very special flag. It has flown over more square miles of Earth than any other flag. Period.

Well, I see that I was paying homage to a The King’s Colours or Great Union Flag from 1606 to 1707. I would think, and as I said I am NO expert, that that would appear to be the right flag for the ‘Sherburne House’. But, I am not even going to venture there.

IF I ever had the money I would LOVE to fly a Union Jack at the house.

I learned something about flying foreign flags in the U.S. last year — which showed that my prior assumption, and supposed knowledge, on the subject was WRONG! There is a small bungalow opposite the Alton Central School (ACS) playing fields. The owners of that bungalow have been flying a New Zealand flag, by itself, for the last few years. I had thought that they couldn’t do that, and that ONLY embassies and the official residences of ambassadors could fly foreign flags, by themselves, without having a U.S. flag alongside. I was wrong. You can fly a national flag on it is own. I am happy to fly both flags. As ever the problem is that I am broke. So I can’t afford to fly one flag let alone two.

So, I have to enjoy MY ‘Union Jack’ whenever I see it in public.

Long Live Our Glorious Queen. 

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2 thoughts on “Anura Guruge Paying Homage To An “Ol'” Union Jack — Actually A 17th Century The King’s Colours (Great Union Flag) At Strawbery Banke.

  1. sseacord

    Strawbery Banke flies the flag appropriate to the era of each of the houses as they are interpreted. Since the Museum covers life in this same Portsmouth neighborhood (the houses with just 2 exceptions are on their original foundations) from 1695 to 1954, you’ll find the British flag at pre-USA colonial Sherburne House, a 1940s era US flag outside the Abbott Store, and so on.

    1. aguruge Post author

      Yes, I understand. It was the docent who made a big deal that it was the ‘wrong’ flag and that visitors bring it to their attention. I understand the way they use the flags. As I said I am NOT an expert on the Union Jack — wish I was, BUT I have to ration my interest, and right now with popes, astronomy, sexuality (next book after I finish one more on popes) and Buddhism I am maxed out (plus, of late, last month, folks just won’t let me be retired). But good position to be in. Busy is good. Thank you. All the best. Keep me posted. IF you have things to share PLEASE send them. Cheers, Anura


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