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This is one of my all-time favorite examples of some gorgeous heraldry – and the fact that I grew up in Maryland (where the official state sport really is jousting) is icing on the cake (and to be sure, that cake is a Smith Island cake)…

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So far as I know, this is the only American state flag to use heraldry from English gentry: the Calverts (the black & gold) and the Crosslands (the red & white). Leonard Calvert (father of George Calvert, the 1st Baron Baltimore) married Alice (or Alicia) Crossland; when she died in 1587 (George Calvert being about 8 years old at the time) Leonard Calvert married Grace Crossland, Alice’s cousin. Many places in Maryland take their names from this family – Baltimore itself, Leonardtown, Calvert County, Calvert Cliffs State Park, etc etc.

I find it interesting that the arms of the two families are joined twice; ordinarily, when denoting a marriage, the wife’s arms appear on the viewer’s right (as shown in the upper half of this flag). This is a very balanced way to present the heraldry of both sides of the family. I wonder if having the two Crossland devices bespeaks of the two marriages.

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