English Heritage flags support for football team through 32,000 names

·2-min read

English Heritage’s historic properties will fly a specially designed St George’s flag featuring the surnames of almost every person in the country on Friday to cheer on the national team.

More than 32,000 names including Kane, Sterling, Pickford and Phillips will feature in either red or white in locations including Dover Castle in Kent, Stonehenge in Wiltshire and Carlisle Castle in Cumbria.

The flag will also fly at Osborne House, Queen Victoria and Prince Albert’s summer home and rural retreat on the Isle of Wight.

Staff at English Heritage historic sites prepare to fly the flag (English Heritage/PA)
Staff at English Heritage historic sites prepare to fly the flag (English Heritage/PA)

The charity, which manages more than 400 historic monuments, buildings and places, hopes to inspire the public ahead of England’s Euro 2020 final against Italy on Sunday.

The surnames – from Aamir to Zyla – are arranged alphabetically and capture those with more than 100 occurrences in the country.

English Heritage is also launching a website featuring a digital flag which users can explore online, highlighting the histories of English surnames, from the Romans to Anglo-Saxons, Huguenots and Windrush generation.

More than 32,000 names feature (English Heritage/PA)
More than 32,000 names feature (English Heritage/PA)

It will show that Harry Kane’s family name is most common in Newcastle and means “warrior”, while Kieran Trippier’s means “to dance” and is most popular in Bolton.

Harry Maguire’s surname is found most in Liverpool and comes from the Irish language Mag Uidhir, which means “son of Odhar” or “son of the dun or pale coloured one”.

Manager Gareth Southgate’s surname is likely to have emerged from one of two places in Norfolk called Southgate, or from Southgate in Edmonton, according to English Heritage.

The flag outside Dover Castle (English Heritage/PA)
The flag outside Dover Castle (English Heritage/PA)

Matt Thompson, English Heritage’s head collections curator, said: “History may be made at Wembley on Sunday and English Heritage is cheering on the team by flying the England flag at our castles and palaces across the country.

“The surnames on our England flag connect the country’s past, present and future and we hope that our flag will remind people that everyone living here today – including the Kanes and Sterlings – will shape the England of the future.

“Hopefully, that immediate future will be one in which England have won the Euros.”

Professor John Denham, director of the Centre for English Identity and Politics at the University of Southampton, originally suggested the idea to English Heritage.

He said: “At a time when the telling of history can spark controversy, this flag symbolises an essential truth: England and its people have been shaped by our shared histories and England’s future story on and off the pitch will be told by all the people who are making their lives here today.”

Members of the public will also be able to submit their own surnames for inclusion in the flag if they are rare.

More information is available here.

Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting