Flag from Battle of Trafalgar goes on display at the National Maritime Museum

Posted on October 21, 2015 by Rob Powell

The Selling Flag on display in Nelson, Navy, Nation Gallery with Textiles Consrvator Nicola Yates and her Intern and Curator, Quintin Colville
Photo © National Maritime Museum

A RARE Union flag that was flown at the Battle of Trafalgar is joining the National Maritime Museum’s Nelson Gallery for the first time to mark Trafalgar Day.

The flag was flown from HMS Minotaur at Trafalgar in 1805 and taken back to Selling in Kent, near Faversham, by the Master’s Mate, Stephen Hilton.

Hilton died in 1872 and the flag was given to St Mary’s Selling by his descendants in the 1930s where it hung in the church’s Hilton Chapel until 1994 alongside an Austrian ensign captured from a Spanish warship at Trafalgar. The flags were later moved to the Canterbury Cathedral Treasury and have now both been acquired by the National Maritime Museum. 

Since the acquisition of the Minotaur’s Union flag, the museum’s conservators have repaired a number of small holes and given it a thorough clean and now, 210 years since the Battle of Trafalgar, it goes on display from today at the dedicated Nelson, Navy, Nation gallery at the National Maritime Museum.

The only other known surviving Union flag from Trafalgar was flown from HMS Spartiate and sold at auction in 2009 to a private collector for £384,000.

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