West Riding Flag

Free To Use High Res West Riding Flag UK-Yorkshire West Riding

The West Riding flag was registered on the UK Flag Registry on Thursday 23 May 2013 after the unfurling in Leeds. The unfurling was attended by the Chairman of North Yorkshire Council, the Chairman of Cumbria Council and the Chairman of the East Riding of Yorkshire Council. At the unfurling my address outlined the background to the West Riding flag.

West Riding Flag

The flag is described as: “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.”

The following messages where received from Civic Leaders unable to attend the unfurling:

  • Calderdale – Mayor of Calderdale, Councillor Ann Martin:“With regret, I am unable to attend the West Riding flag unfurling ceremony in Millenium Square, Leeds, however, I am delighted to send greetings from Calderdale on this occasion.”
  • Doncaster – Civic Mayor of Doncaster, Councillor Christine Mills: “I wish you success with your flag unfurling”
  • Leeds –  Lord Mayor of Leeds: “Sends his best wishes and hopes your event is successful”
  • Oldham – Mayor of Oldham: “It is with regret that I am unable to attend the unfurling of the West Riding Flag.  May I take this opportunity, on behalf of the people of Oldham, to send best wishes for what I am sure will be a wonderful occasion.”
  • Rotherham – Deputy Mayor of Rotherham, Councillor Barry Dodson: “Best wishes to you for a successful and enjoyable event”
  • Sheffield – Lord Mayor of Sheffield, Councillor Vickie Priestley: “I am sorry that I cannot be with you today for the unfurling of the first West Riding flag but send my best wishes to all involved in this special event for a successful and enjoyable day.”

The winning design of the West Riding flag competition was designed by Michael Faul from York.

The flag was chosen by a public vote, following a competition to design a flag for the West Riding which was launched on Wednesday 23 January 2013. Six designs were selected from numerous entries, by a panel of judges, for everyone to vote for their favourite design.

Purchasing West Riding Flags

The first West Riding flag was made by Flying Colours of Knaresbrough. Printed and hand-made West Riding flags can now be purchased from them.

Polyester economy West Riding flags can be purchased from World Flag Shop . They are 5ft x 3ft and cost – £6.25 + p&p

Extreme Points

As a UK adventurer, with a passion for sleeping in remote locations, my adventures have taken me to the UK most extreme points, highest mountains and remote uninhabited islands. I have also slept at the following extreme points of the West Riding:

West Riding - North - Docker Knott 1

The following is reproduced by kind permission of British County Flags.

The flag of the West Riding of Yorkshire was registered on May 23rd 2013. It was created by Michael Faul, a foremost British vexillologist and was the winning entry in a competition organised by Yorkshire resident and adventurer Andy Strangeway in conjunction with the Flag Institute.

The flag has a considerable history as it was originally designed as a prospective flag for the whole of Yorkshire. In the 1990s, with the fashion for local flags ever increasing, Michael Faul and the late William Crampton, the doyen of British vexillology (flag study) had considered a flag for the county of Yorkshire. One design placed a “rose en soleil” device on top of a Saint George’s cross.


The rose en soleil emblem


was adopted by the Yorkist king,Edward IV upon his accession to the throne after the Battle of Towton. The emblem was fashioned by combining the rose of the House of York


with the sun badge used by Richard II


and was the punning reference in Shakespeare’s famous lines from Richard III;

“Now is the winter of our discontent

                                  Made glorious summer by this sun of York.”

In 1927 the former West Riding Council was awarded arms which featured a large rose en soleil


at the centre of the shield. By the twentieth century the association of the white rose emblem of the House of York, with the county of York, had become firmly established and by extension so had the more elaborate combination of white rose and sun.

This splendorous and eye catching emblem, a fine expansion on the theme of a white rose, was a highly suitable charge to appear on a prospective Yorkshire flag. However, wishing to convey something of the Anglo-Scandinavian history of the region, given the enduring Dano-Norwegian presence there in the centuries prior to the Norman invasion, Michael Faul’s development of the design further deployed an off-set cross in the Scandinavian style. The cross was now Scandinavian, in English colours, a neat graphic encapsulation of the local heritage and history.


This latter version became an established contender for the county flag and was taken up by the Yorkshire Dialect Society and the “Campaign for Yorkshire”, which sought to establish a Yorkshire parliament. In time the blue flag bearing a white Yorkshire rose was registered as the county flag but Michael’s rose en soleil and Nordic cross design remained a firm favourite of many.

In the wake of 2012 `legislation regarding flag flying in the UK which specifically referenced “… the flag of….  any Riding of Yorkshire….”, Andy Strangeway launched a competition to select a Flag for the West Riding, one of the three, thousand year old divisions of Yorkshire. Originally a “thriding”, the term “riding” is ultimately derived from the old Norse “thrithjungr” meaning a third part and is a legacy of the Viking settlement of Yorkshire in the ninth century. Yorkshire’s vast size meant that its three divisions of the North, West and East Ridings, which were each of comparable size to other counties, also functioned effectively as counties, with separate legal proceedings, “Quarter Sessions” and separate Lieutenancies. Accordingly, when modern local government was established in 1889 each of the Ridings was awarded an administrative council maintaining their effective status as counties in their own right; there was never a “Yorkshire County Council”!

The Ridings councils and ancient lieutenancies were abolished in 1974 and in the wake of such administrative upheavals many might have thought that the West Riding as an entity in its own right had disappeared but it has not, The competition and the flag that would arise from it, aimed to remind people that the West Riding still exists.

Given the similarity of the design of Michael Faul’s flag with the arms of the former West Riding administration – both are red and white, both bear a rose en soleil – it was felt appropriate to submit the former county flag contender, for consideration in the West Riding flag competition. It was one of six designs selected by a panel of judges for a final public vote, which it duly won.

The newly registered flag of the West Riding of Yorkshire was unveiled outside the Civic Hall, Millennium Square, Leeds on May 23rd  by the competition designer Andy Strangeway and Councillor Bernard Bateman, Chairman of North Yorkshire Council.

West Riding Flag Unfurling

The unfurling was also attended by Councillor Alan Barry, Chairman of Cumbria Council and Councillor Claude Mole, the Chairman of the East Riding of Yorkshire Council.

West Riding Flag Unfurling 1

Yorkshire – West Riding Terminology

Yorkshire One of the 92 counties of ancient origin which for centuries formed, and continue to form, a commonly agreed way of referring to the different parts of the United Kingdom. Existed for over 1,000 years to the present day. Yorkshire is the three Ridings and the City of York. Yorkshire is a traditional/historic county.

The West Riding (of Yorkshire) “Riding” is “thrithing” – a Viking word meaning a third part. There are three Ridings East, North and West. In 1974 as a result of the Local Government Act 1972 the West Riding ceased to be used as an administrative area. Existed for over 1,000 years to the present day. The West Riding is one of the three Ridings of the traditional/historic county of Yorkshire.

West Yorkshire An administrative county created by the local Government Act 1972 solely “”for the administration of local government””. It is also the name of a lieutenancy area or ceremonial county. Existed from 1974 onwards. West Yorkshire is an administrative and ceremonial county.

Useful Links

British County Flags

Flag Institute

UK Flag Registry

Yorkshire Boundary Society