May 23, 2013
The literary types amoung you will recognize this headline as a reference to Shakespeare’s famous play Henry V.
What in the world do Beaufort and Shakespeare have in common?
Hint: the town flag…
Jennifer, the kids, and I were watching the Kenneth Branagh version of Henry V a few weeks ago. While watching the entire film at once is quite an undertaking for three kids, watching some of the best scenes with the kids is a lot of fun. The girls love the back and forth between Henry and Catherine and the boy loves the battle scenes. All love the St. Crispian’s Day speech (the popular origin of the phrase, “band of brothers”).
While watching that speech one of the kids pointed out that the King’s uniform was very similar to the Beaufort town seal as it appears on the town flag.
I realized they were right and I also realized that I didn’t know the exact connection between the flag and Henry’s royal colors. As many parents do, I skilfully avoided the question of “ why?”
After the movie, I started some research.
I went immediately to Mary Warshaw’s book, Porchscapes.
On pages 173 and 174, she discusses both the town seal and the town flag. According to Mary, who utilizes a number of sources, Beaufort’s town seal is a modification of the crest of Beaufort’s namesake, the 2nd Duke of Beaufort, Henry Somerset.
His crest was indeed derived from the same coat of arms that Henry V would have worn during the Battle of Agincourt on that faithful Oct. 25th, 1415, the Feast of St. Crispin.
Read more about English coats of arms. Both the Beaufort town seal and Henry V’s coat of arms share the two quarters containing the three lions and the fleur-de-lis.
The past is alive in Beaufort in a very special way. Point out those connections to the past, especially to children.
And just in case you haven’t seen it, here’s a link to the scene from Henry V: