George Washington was descended from the Sulgrave Washingtons of Yorkshire. This cross is the centerpiece of a memorial plaque for George’s great-grandfather, Sir Lawrence Washington who is buried in the Garsdon Churchyard near Malmsbury where the family lived from 1631. The plaque featrues the “Mullets and Bars” of the Washington family’s Coat of Arms. The design later became the basis for the Stars and Strips of the American Flag.
The Washington family perpetuated its British connections well beyond most American families. The immigrant ancestor, John and his son Lawrence, continued to own land in both Virginia and England for half a century after coming to America. George’s brother Lawrence married into the aristocratic Fairfax family and the President spent much time in their company; he clearly admired and emulated their lifestyle in later years.