Last modified: 2010-01-22 by rob raeside
Keywords: yorkshire | york | rose | dewbury | hull |
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image by Jason Saber, 6 July 2009
Flag Registry describes the flag as "Traditional design, registered by
County Organization", the organization presumably being the Yorkshire Riding
Society. Both the picture and Graham Bartram's comment about the Lancastrian
flag confirm that the orientation of the rose favoured by the YRS has been
registered, so the rose sits on a point and three of the lines between petals
form a 'Y'.
Jonathan Dixon, 31 July 2008
My understanding was always that the Yorkshire rose 'sat' on two point not one -
therefore Ken Bagnall's flag is upside down.
Richard Carter, 20 April 2003
Well, there is certainly some kind of 'urban legend' that a Yorkshire rose rests
on one point, so that (some of) the lines between the petals form a letter Y for
Yorkshire. I've never been able to trace the origins of this. Certainly, all the
roses in the arms of the three Ridings are 'conventional' with the roses resting
on two points. However, the roses on the Yorkshire Ridings Society
(self-appointed guardians of Yorkshire heritage) do have the roses resting on
one point on their home page at
Ian Sumner, 21 April 2003
The Yorkshire Rose traditionally rests on one point, two petals, this can be
seen in the Coats of arms of some Yorkshire towns e.g., the Castleford coat of
arms clearly shows the rose with one point down.
Matthew Newbould, 3 September 2005
Just another one for the "Which way up is the rose" debate - on the M62, at the
border of Yorkshire and Lancashire, there are each counties roses welcoming you
into their county. The Yorkshire rose sits on one point, the Lancashire one sits
Richard Webb, 7 January 2006
What is the correct standing of the Yorkshire rose? Matthew Newbould quotes
Castleford's arms (rose on point), yet clearly ignores Knottingley's arms (rose
on side) and Doncaster's (one in each position). I have never seen anything
which states which is historically most correct and have seen many inconsistent
stained glass windows, coats of arms, etc.
White and Red roses are nearly always offset when combined in the Tudor rose and the modern Tudor rose is seated on a side (e.g., Queen's Tudor rose on the 20p piece). Hence the contemporary white rose is shown sitting on its point (e.g., Yorkshire tourist board, Yorkshire Regiment) and red rose on its side, agreeing with Richard Webb's M62 report. Just to confuse it, I got this odd picture of a so called "union rose" from Google.
David Clegg, 11 May 2006
I noticed blue pennants being used on the
Bridlington lifeboat. I wondered at the time whether they were connected with
the fact that the lifeboat was being launched from a carriage - i.e. pulled
across the beach and into the sea by a caterpillar-tracked tractor until it was
in sufficient depth of water to float away. The pennants could have been some
sort of hazard warning, or an indicator of width during the manoeuvre. However,
a quick google has revealed the truth: see
this image and
this image. They are Yorkshire roses in pennant
André Coutanche, 9 December 2006
I have had this explained to me by more than one Yorkshireman, that one of the
advantages of the flag as they see it is precisely that it can be
flown upside down. It would seem to work either way and that it depends from
where in Yorkshire you come from according to which way up it is supposed to be.
Colin Dobson, 1 August 2008
"In the past this has been a dark blue background but more recently a light blue background has become fairly common.
According to the College of Heralds, the heraldic rose can be used with a petal at the top or with a sepal at the top. In Yorkshire there is a tradition of using the rose with a petal at the top in the North Riding and the West Riding but with a sepal at the top in the East Riding."
Eugene Ipavec, 13 February 2009
On August 1st, 1759, soldiers from Yorkshire regiments who had fought in the battle of Minden, in Germany, picked white roses from bushes near to the battlefields as a tribute to their fallen comrades. Since that time the white rose has become the symbol of Yorkshire and is proudly worn by Yorkshiremen and women on Yorkshire Day (August 1).
David Stretton, 9 July 2001
I have been trying to verify the why, when, and how the White Rose was adopted as a county badge for the county of Yorkshire. I note with interest your proposition that it dates from the battle of Minden 1759, can this be verified in any way please. I had started to wonder if it was actually simply a fable as the heraldic links with the Wars of the Roses never was a real contender for all the reasons I am sure you are well aware of.
Richard Hayton, 20 February 2002
In UK heraldry, if I am not mistaken, a "house" (i.e., a family and its retainers and servants and distant relatives and whatnot) has not
only various coats of arms but a "badge". For a royal house (or would-be-royal house) the badge can extend to the entire country, such as the
Scottish thistle or Irish shamrock, Welsh leek. Somehow the House of York (a subdivision of the British - then English-only - royal house)
acquired a white rose as its badge (it does not, I don't think, appear on any
coat of arms) and the House of Lancaster had a red rose. Hence their internecine wars were called the "Wars of the Roses". When the
dust settled at the end of the wars the badges were merged into the "Tudor rose" which serves as the badge of England
The two houses, Lancaster and York, no longer exist (do they?). Now the question here, as I understand it, is how the family badge of the house of York became the county badge of Yorkshire. To me the reason is obvious; Yorkshire simply adopted it from the family badge. As to the date and manner of the adoption, indeed whether it was an official act with an actual date or a gradual act over time, is an interesting question.
Al Kirsch, 20 February 2002
The Houses of York and Lancaster still exist in that they are subsumed into the House of Windsor. HM The Queen is Duke of Lancaster and HRH Prince
Andrew is Duke of York. The badge of York Herald is a white rose "en soleil"
(i.e., with a sunburst behind it).
Graham Bartram, 20 February 2002
According to the
Online, it is now legal to fly the flag of Yorkshire [without special
Chrystian Kretowicz, 30 July 2008
[Editor's note: this article refers to the inclusion of the flag of Yorkshire in the UK Flag Registry.]
The Yorkshire Ridings Society were the prime mover behind this. However, as
the extensive media coverage made clear, it was also endorsed by the Lord Mayor
of Hull and Admiral of the Humber and other local representatives. In the media
coverage, the YRS cited the case of the Ryedale farmer who was summonsed, but
not prosecuted, for flying the Yorkshire flag and that this was one of the
reasons why this flag needed to be legalised. However, what was not pointed out
by them, nor by the many journalists who covered this issue yesterday was that
event occurred in 2003 - a full five years ago, so it was hardly a current
example. Moreover, that was when the 1992 regulations applied and not the 2007
regulations, which permitted the flying of county flags, so the council
concerned were well within their rights to address the issue. Insofar as I am
aware, there hasn't been a testing of the 2007 regulations in England.
Colin Dobson, 31 July 2008
image by Blas Delgado Ortiz, 7 February 2002
A picture from York shows a shield
in a coat of arms high over a gate. So, I theorized that the flag should be a
banner of arms and constructed this one out of the England flag. Has anyone see
this flag? Is its ratio 2:1? Should the lions be nearer to
Blas Delgado Ortiz, 7 February 2002
This shield is abundantly seen around
the City of York - it was visible on the city wall, and on the bridge over the
River Ouse. During the International Vexillogical Congress in York [in
2001] the flag as Blas has drawn it was flying high from the Guild Hall,
although I am not sure if it was 2:1 or not.
Rob Raeside, 8 February 2002
image by Daniel Martin
Dewsbury is a town in West Yorkshire, northern England, with around 60,000
inhabitants. Legend has it that St Paulinus, the "Apostle of the North" preached
Dewsbury in 627 after being sent by the Pope to Christianize the kingdom of Northumbria. A monastery was established and Dewsbury became a the centre of a huge parish stretching over 400 km2. It became a royal manor and stayed that way until the Norman conquest. Legendary outlaw Robin Hood is said to be buried in the grounds of Kirklees Priory, which lay in the parish of Dewsbury.
Dewsbury was a small village until the beginning of the nineteenth century. It built its fortune on the textile industry and following the industrial revolution became the thriving centre of the heavy woollen industry, exporting cloth and blankets throughout the world. One of its most famous wares was "shoddy" cloth, which was made from a mixture of wool and torn-up rags. Much of the clothes it produced were cheap and, some said, of inferior quality: hence the later pejorative meaning of the word "shoddy". The textile industry declined after the first world war. Among famous Dewsburians are Betty Boothroyd, the first female speaker of the UK House of Commons; Patrick Stewart, actor who appeared in Star Trek and the X-Men; Charlotte Bronte, author who based Jayne Eyre on her experiences of teaching in the town; and Tom Kilburn, inventor of the modern computer.
The flag of Dewsbury is based on the town's coat of arms, which were granted following Dewsbury's incorporation as a municipal borough in 1862. The blue and yellow checks are from the coat of arms of the de Warenne family. The Warennes came over with William the Conqueror after the Normans defeated the English at the Battle of Hastings in 1066. They were created earls of Sussex and were granted patches of land throughout the country, including the manor of Dewsbury. The two owls are taken from the coat of arms of the Savile family. The Saviles have owned a great deal of land in the town since the middle ages: their hall was at Thornhill in the south of the town until the civil war, when it was blown up by accident. They are still major landowners. The cross is from the arms of the Copley family, another large landowner in the area. The head of the family is the Earl of Wilton.
Daniel Martin, 9 November 2004
A blue and gold flag (three gold crowns above each other on a blue field)
based on the coat of arms for the city was seen flying in Queen's Gardens, Hull.
This design was first seen on a seal dated 1331. The crowns have variously been
described as 'royal crowns' or 'ducal coronets' and 'crest crowns'. The present
blazon describes the arms as 'three crowns or in a field of azure'. There are a
number of traditions as to why there are three crowns. One tradition suggests
it's because of the three English monarchs involved in the founding and
development of the early town. (Edward I, Edward II and Henry VI). Another
suggests is to do with the three great lords responsible for the development of
the city. There is even tradition that links it to the Three Kings who acme to
visit the baby Jesus at his birth. Generally however it is accepted now that it
is most likely due to the town's devotion to the Holy Trinity. (For example, the
main church of the mediaeval town was ascribed to the Trinity.)
Paul Leaver, 6 September 2005
According to my copy of The Colours of the Fleet (created & compiled by
Malcolm Farrow OBE, FCMI and edited by David Prothero), Hull City Council has a
flag meriting "further research but when the council is sitting a red ensign
defaced with a shield (azure bearing three coronets in pale or) in the fly, is
flown above the city hall.
Keir Heath, 24 December 2009
When I saw this flag, it was flying on the flagpole on the Alfred Gelder
Street side of the Guildhall, rather than over the main entrance (which normally
flies two banners of arms). Such a flag has certainly been in use for over
thirty years, because the Flag Institute did a survey of British local
government flags in the late 1960s/early 1970s (not sure of the date - it was
certainly before the big reorganisation in 1973-74), and Hull City Council
reported using a defaced Red Ensign then.
Ian Sumner, 31 December 2009
image by Michael Faul
This new flag for the English region of Yorkshire was designed by Michael
Faul, Editor of Flagmaster, the journal of the Flag Institute.
It shows the cross of St. George, the historic symbol of England, with the
vertical band off-centre to the left, in the format adopted by most
Scandinavian countries. This reflects the fact that Yorkshire is part of
England, but also that it has close ties with Scandinavia, having been settled
and ruled by Norwegians and Danes in the eighth and ninth centuries. The white
rose is shown on a blazing sun, called "rose-en-soleil" in heraldry, which is
the Royal badge of the Royal house of York, the last member of which to rule
England was Richard III (1483-1485). The new flag has been adopted by the
Campaign for Yorkshire which is campaigning for a Yorkshire parliament.
Michael Paraskos, 20 September 2002
You may be interested to know that the Yorkshire Dialect Society has adopted this flag and uses it as the masthead on its website. The Campaign for Yorkshire has also expressed interest in "officially" adopting it as the flag for the whole of historic Yorkshire (but has not yet actually done so). The centre of the rose is yellow, for the pollen stamens.
Michael Faul, 11 October 2002
image located by Chrystian Kretowicz, 13 February 2009
Based on a story in the Hemsworth and South Elmsall Express:
"South Kirkby and Moorthorpe Town Council designed and commissioned the flag
to include the Yorkshire Rose and three coats of arms representing North, East
and West Riding – the areas which made up Yorkshire before it was made into four
The flag has the three coats of arms from North, East and West Riding. "We designed it in a Y shape with the Yorkshire rose in the middle. Red, white and blue were chosen as the colours because they represent Britain. I see this as the proper Yorkshire flag – I wouldn't walk behind the other one."
Chrystian Kretowicz, 13 February 2009
image located by JerrytheGerman, 18 May 2008
The flag shown here is marketed by a camping equipment and adventure travel
company, and its status as an official flag of the region is uncertain.
Rob Raeside, 18 May 2008