The finalists for the West Riding flag competition were announced today in the April edition of the Dalesman.* I would like to thank everyone who entered a design. I would also like to thank the Flag Institute for their guidance and assistance.
*Due to unforseen circumstances Design A missed the Dalesman publication deadline.
The flag 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 Yorkshire’s Anglo-Scandinavian heritage, the county having been settled and ruled by Norwegians and Danes in the eighth and ninth centuries. Placed at the centre of the cross is the traditional white rose of Yorkshire, in use since the fourteenth century, shown against a blazing sun, a heraldic combination known as a “rose-en-soleil”. The same combination of “rose en soleil” device and red and white colours appeared in the arms of the former West Riding Council of 1889-1974. NB: This flag has a white background.
The 3 blue triangles at the bottom of the flag represent the 3 Ridings. The rose represents Yorkshire. The yellow and blue triangles represent the “sun in splendour” against a blue sky. The “sun in splendour” was used as a symbol of the House of York in the times of Edward IV and Richard III.
The alternating stripes recall the banner of St Oswald and the Kingdom of Northumbria, which is a reference to the territory of Elmet which was a predecessor of the West Riding. The green and yellow recall the colours of the Kingdom of Gwynedd and their alliance to Elmet. The colours also recall the green of the natural wealth and the gold of the industrial wealth.
The design reflects the coat of arms of the West Riding County Council. The “Yorkshire flag” blue displays 3 roses to represent the 3 Ridings. The red field comes from the colour of the standard used by the County Council. The “rose en soleil” was adopted by the Yorkist King Edward IV.
The rose represents Yorkshire. The blue field represents the Yorkshire flag to provide a link with the overall county. The red represents the historical colour of the West Riding.
The black cross represents the coal mining areas with a white border to represent the historical links of the West Riding to wool production. The rose represents Yorkshire. The gold represents corn, rape and the sun. The green represents the Pennines, moors and valleys. The blue represents the rivers and canals that played a key role in the industries. The silver represents the steel industry.
The voting starts today and will close on Tuesday 23 April. The winning flag will be registered in the Flag Institute’s UK Flag Registry.
The first West Riding flag will then be taken to the extreme points of the West Riding boundary by myself and others who would like to join me at various points.