The rather eccentric county of Cromartyshire, comprising 23 separate parcels of land amidst the county of Ross (Ross-shire), depicted below in red, with Ross in blue,
is a seventeenth century contrivance formed from the estates of George Mackenzie, Sheriff of Cromarty, after he gained royal favour. Later ennobled as the Earl of Cromarty, an armorial banner formed from his arms
would seem to be the most obvious and appropriate flag to represent this diffused territory. Whilst this would make a fine flag the Mackenzie arms are still the preserve of an individual armiger or arms holder and therefore not available for the task. However, the heavily antlered golden stag’s head on a blue field could be the basis of a novel flag for the county. In the above proposal from Jason Saber, the basic design is accordingly differenced by the addition of a golden border. Aiming to change the very fine basic design as little as possible and thereby to retain the historical association of the stag’s head with the locality, the amendment is slight and the colour of the added element is also that of the stag’s head to preserve the same theme and feel of the original design.
The border symbolises the county’s particular geography, being a shire whose constitutent parts are encompassed within the territory of another county.
An alternative design from Leonardo Piccioni
again retains the yellow and blue colour scheme of the Mackenzie arms and cleverly alludes to both the splendid antlers in the original arms of the earldom and the nickname of the Mackenzie clan chief, “caberféidh“, Gaelic for “deer’s antlers” with a knotted saltire, that symbolises crossed antlers. A notable cohesion of an obviously Scottish theme with a resonant local twist!
A third proposal from Philip Tibbetts replaces the blue background of the Mackenzie banner with a black one in reference to the Black Isle upon which the town of Cromarty itself sits and around which the county was formed.