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Abingdon-on-Thames, Oxfordshire (England)

English Towns

Last modified: 2021-01-23 by rob raeside
Keywords: oxfordshire | abingdon-on-thames |
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[Abingdon-on-Thames flag] image by Pete Loeser, 23 January 2009
Based on this photo and this photo.

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Introduction: Abingdon-on-Thames

Abingdon-on-Thames was known as just Abingdon between 1974 and 2012. However in 2011 the town council voted to rename the town going back to its ancient name of "Abingdon-on-Thames." It is a historic market town and civil parish in the ceremonial county of Oxfordshire. It was historically the county town of Berkshire, but since 1974 Abingdon has been administered by the Vale of White Horse District Council within Oxfordshire.
During Roman times an oppidum (defensive enclosure) was built to protect the Iron Age settlement existing where Abingdon-on-Thames is now located. In Saxon times Abingdon Abbey was founded around 676 and this was when the town took its modern name. By the 13th and 14th centuries, Abingdon-on-Thames had become an agricultural center involved in the wool and clothing trade. Abingdon became the county town of Berkshire after receiving its Royal Charter in 1556 from Mary I. Later it became the seat of the new Vale of White Horse District Council, with Abingdon becoming a civil parish with a town council.
In the 18th and 19th centuries the both the Abingdon Lock (1790) and the Wilts and Berks Canal (1810) connected Abingdon with the industrial centers of Bristol, London, Birmingham and the Black Country. In 1856 the Abingdon Railway Station was opened on a branch line that was operated until 1963 when it was replaced with the Radley Station located on the main line two miles away. Abingdon's location only on a branch line had sidelined it and the town of Reading replaced it as the County Town in 1869.
Since the 1980s, Abingdon has become the location of a number of information and communication companies. Being located in an easy commuter's distance from the academic and scientific institutions in Oxford it has attracted many professionals who have made the town their home.
Pete Loeser, 23 January 2021

Description of the Abingdon-on-Thames Flag

At the present time Abingdon-on-Thames does not have an officially registered flag that is used by the town council to represent either the town or the council. There is, however, a proposed flag based on the tradition banner of arms as shown above. It has been used on light posts and hung from windows on holidays.
Pete Loeser, 23 January 2021

Abingdon-on-Thames Arms

[Abingdon-on-Thames Arms] image located by Pete Loeser, 23 January 2009

The traditional Arms of Abingdon dating back to 1566 when Mary I first granted the Royal Charter to the town was described as: Vert a Cross patonce Or between four Crosses pattée Argent.
They were again recorded at Royal Visitations in 1623 and 1666.
Source: Wikipedia: Abingdon-on-Thames.
Pete Loeser, 23 January 2021

Abingdon-on-Thames Coat of Arms

[Abingdon-on-Thames Coat of Arms] image located by Pete Loeser, 23 January 2009
Click image for better detail.

The Abingdon-on-Thames coat of arms were officially granted in 1962, but the arms their selves were in use since as early as 1566. The green background and the four smaller silver crosses are taken from the arms of the Fraternity of the Holy Cross, the large gold cross is from the arms of Abingdon Abbey, both of which are attributed to Edward the Confessor. The mural crown represents local government, the stag's head represents Berkshire, the blue wings represent the Abingdon Royal Air Force base (Dalton Army Barracks) and the blue flashes allude to the nearby atomic energy research center.
The Tudor rose around the left swan is for Queen Mary who granted the first Royal Charter. The Saxon crown around the left swan represents the town's Saxon ancestry. That Swan stands on a woolpack representing the long sheep farming and wool trading tradition of the town.
The barley heads held by the right swan represents the tradition of malting and brewing. That Swan stands on a book to note the Abingdon Abbey's leather book binding and printing industry. The ropes are for rope making, and the crown around the right Swan is that of Edward the confessor. Both swans represent the River Thames.

Official Blazon

  • Arms: Vert a Cross patonce Or between four Crosses pattée Argent.
  • Crest: On a Wreath Argent and Gules out of a Mural Crown Or masoned Azure set between two Wings of the last a Stag's Head Gold in the mouth two Flashes (representing a Nuclear Flash) Argent.
  • Supporters: On the dexter side a Swan wings elevated and addorsed proper standing on a Woolpack Gules in the beak a Tudor Rose slipped and leaved proper gorged with a Saxon Crown Or attached thereto a Church Bell Rope of the last reflexed over the back the dolley of alternate twists of Gules Argent and Azure and on the sinister side a like Swan standing on a Book bound Gules edged Or in the beak three Stalks of Barley proper gorged with an Ancient Crown Gold attached thereto a Church Bell Rope as on the dexter.
  • Motto:  faith And Industry
Source: Heraldry of the World.
Pete Loeser, 23 January 2021

Abingdon Royal Air Force Station

[Abingdon Air Force Base flag] image by Pete Loeser, 23 January 2009
Based on this commercially sold flag ®

The Royal Air Force Station Abingdon (RAF Abingdon) was a Royal Air Force station located outside Abingdon. It is now known as Dalton Barracks and used by three regiment of the Royal Logistic Corps. The barracks was named in honor of James Dalton, who earned a Victoria Cross at Rorke's Drift Mission Station (Natal, South Africa) in 1879. The movie "Zulu" staring Michael Cane is based on this battle.
Pete Loeser, 23 January 2009