The Albion Banner

Making A New Banner For Albion
by Jean Goodall

November 2006 – May 2007

When Alan asked me if I could make a new banner for Albion I thought ‘Wow’ that’s something big. This was in November 2006.

The only criteria being that the words ‘Family Church’ must be included and that the colours possibly would be blues and it to be in a modern design. I knew that I could not help to produce a banner that had wonderful embroidery on it as the original one had as I cannot sew embroidery well.

I am a person who likes to tackle a new project right away and so my mind was already jumping with ideas. Our team of seamstresses included Alice Adams, Barbara Barrowclough, Glenys France and myself.

As I was sitting in church a few weeks after this request I looked up at the banners from each branch and thought how nice it would be to incorporate a design from each of these churches in the new banner. I could see fleur de lis on the Albion banner, lilies on the Hurst Nook banner a dove on the Hazelhurst banner and after visiting Charlestown I chose the Christmas rose from their banner.

The design was accepted by all concerned and then Ann Scott noticed the ‘Fish Cross’ on her church diary and we have taken that and used it for the reverse of the banner. Towards the final stages it was suggested we put 2007 on the bottom of the banner showing the year it was finished. Alison Jones kindly embroidered this for us.

Thank you to everyone who has helped in any way.

We are using the ribbons we already have as Hilda Fielding keeps them in such good condition.

Thank you also to Jeff Mellor for ensuring the banner ropes were made and his preparation of the frame, which his son-in-law, David Booth, produced and modified to enable the new banner to be fitted to it. Thanks also to John Baron for his input in making sure the banner poles were strengthened.

As the date of this year’s Whit Walks is the 17th June it was decided to dedicate the banner at the service in the morning of that day.

The Sewing Of The Banner

The sewing began in November 2006 and with willing hands and minds began to take shape quickly.

At each stage advice was sought so that we would produce the best job we were able.

Towards the final stages the material became too heavy to work with so it was taken to Barmy Flags of Greenfield who completed it on 2 May 2007. The whole project has taken 6 months in all.

I would like to thank our team for their enthusiasm, willingness and skill in producing this new banner for Albion and also those who helped in any way towards it.

This project has been undertaken with love and the skills of the individuals have been used in the completion of this unique banner.

We hope this new banner will show our love for God and Albion Church and be carried on our Whitsuntide walks for very many years.


The name Albion is from the poetical name for Britain. This is often supposed to derive from Latin albus ‘white’ and to refer to the whiteness of cliffs spied from the sea, but in fact is more probably from the Celtic element alp ‘rock’, ‘crag’. The given name has occasionally been chosen by parents in all parts of the English-speaking world who wish to commemorate their association with or affection for the British Isles.

The Doveimage024

A true story based on the Holy Bible, Genesis 6-9

‘The waters prevailed on the earth for 150 days and God remembered Noah and all the living things on the ark with him. So God made a wind to pass over the earth and the waters retreated. The fountains of the deep and the windows of heaven stopped sending forth water and the rain was restrained.

Five months later, the ark rested upon the mountains of Ararat. It was the 7th month, the 17th day of the month. But there was still water on the earth. Noah stayed on the ark. The waters decreased continually until the 20th month. In the 10th month on the first day of the month, the mountain tops could be seen. Forty days later, Noah opened the window of the ark. Noah sent forth a black raven which flew to and fro until the waters were dried up from off the earth. Noah also sent forth a dove to see if the waters had abated from off the ground, but the dove couldn’t find a place to rest so she came back to the ark. The waters were still on the face of the whole earth. Noah then waited another seven days and sent the dove out again.

Lo and behold that evening the dove came back and in her mouth was an olive leaf plucked off. So Noah knew that the waters were abated from off the earth. But Noah did not get off the boat. He waited another seven days and sent the dove out again. This time she did not return.’

The Dove has been included on the Albion banner from the Hazelhurst Banner

The Christmas Roseimage026

Part of the color in celebration of the season is the blooming of Christmas roses. While a variety of plants over time have come to be called “Christmas Rose”, they all are steeped in a legend that dates back centuries.

The Legend of the Christmas rose speaks of a young girl named Madelon who wanted to worship the Christ Child. Seeing the gold, frankincense and myrrh brought by others who were drawn to the humble birthplace, she despaired that she had no gift to bring, for Madelon was poor indeed.

In vain she searched the countryside for a flower that she might bring, but the winter had been cold and harsh – and there were no flowers to be found. Saddened, the girl began to weep. An angel passing over her stopped to provide comfort and smote the ground that was wet from her tears. There did spring a beautiful bush that bloomed of white roses.

“Nor myrrh, nor frankincense, nor gold,” said the angel, “is offering more meet for the Christ Child than these pure Christmas Roses.” And thus young Madelon went her way and worshipped the Prince of Peace, bearing the gift of her heart and tears.

The Christmas rose has been included on the Albion banner from the Charlestown Banner.

The Easter Lilyimage028

Easter Lilies are used to decorate churches and homes. The large, pure white blossoms remind Christians of the pure new life that comes to them through the Resurrection of Jesus.

LILY. The white lily stands for purity. Artists for centuries have pictured the angel Gabriel coming to the Virgin Mary with a spray of lilies in his hand, to announce that she is to be the mother of the Christ child. The lily is also the sign of the Resurrection.

The Lily in the BIBLE: Lessons to trust are gathered from the Lily: Matthew 6: 28-30
Molded in the rim of the molten laver in the temple: 1 Kings 7:26 & 2 Chronicles 4:5.
The principle capitals of the temple ornamented with carvings of lilies: 1 Kings 7:19, 22, and 26

Used in a figurative sense, of the lips of the beloved: Song of Solomon 5:13

The Easter lily has been included on the Albion banner from the Hurst Nook Banner.

The Fleur-de-Lisimage030

Few heraldic emblems have been as controversial as the fleur-de-lis. Its history stretches far back in time, allegedly into the mists of antiquity, and its quasi-mystical origins were seemingly accepted unquestioningly by early churchmen.

One scenario identifies it as the lily given at his baptism to Clovis, King of the Franks (from AD 481 to 511), by the Virgin Mary, a tradition presented in evidence by the French bishops at the Council of Trent (AD 1545-63) to support their arguments for the precedence of their king, Francois I.

The lily was claimed to have sprung from the tears shed by Eve as she left Eden (just as that unrelated flower, the lily of the valley, was said to have grown from the tears of the Virgin at the foot of the Cross.

From its earliest records (it was the flower of Hera, the Greek moon goddess) it has been the symbol of purity and was accordingly readily adopted by the Church to associate the Virgin Mary’s sanctity with events of special significance. Thus when Pope Leo III in AD 800 crowned Charlemagne as Emperor, he is reported to have presented him with a blue banner covered with golden fleurs-de-lis (an event which may have given birth to the legend of the Virgin’s gift to Clovis, as it undoubtedly formed the basis of Nicolas Upton’s reference, around AD 1428, to Charlemagne having received the banner Azure seme of fleurs-de-lis Or from an angel).

Clovis is the same name as Lois, Loys and Louis, and as Loys was the contemporary spelling used by the Kings of France until Louis XIII (AD 1610, “:fleur-de-lys” has been claimed as a corruption of “fleur-de-Loys”.

Other imaginative explanations include the shape having been developed from the image of a dove descending, which is the symbol of the Holy Ghost.

The Fleur-de-Lis has been included from the Albion banner.

The Fish Crossimage031

The history of the Christian fish symbol

The fish outline is a logical symbol for the early Christian church to adopt. Fish are often mentioned in the gospels. This is what one would expect, if Jesus did most of his teaching in the Galilee. The synoptic gospels state this, although the Gospel of John denies it. Fish were a staple in the diet of Galilee.

Some gospel verses which mention fish are:

Mark 1;17: “Come after Me, and I will make you become fishers of men.

Matthew 12;40: “… Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of the great fish, so will the Son of Man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.

The Fish Cross is the emblem of the United Reformed Church.





Our thanks go to the following people who have given advice or practical help in the making of the Albion Banner:

  • Charlie and Pete from Barmy Flags of Greenfield for designing, cutting out and sewing the lettering.
  • Carson’s of Penny Meadow, Ashton-under-Lyne for supplying the navy and gold material.
  • Ormsby of Carisbrick for supplying the pale blue material.
  • Busy Hands, on Old Street and the stall in Ashton market supplying cottons, braids, cord and advice.

Special thanks to Alice Adams, Barbara Barrowclough, and Glenys France in their hard work with the sewing and without whom I would have found this task impossible.

Legal Disclaimer: All text and images © Albion URC

Albion United Reformed Church

Stamford St E, Ashton-under-Lyne OL6 6QQ