Happy Yorkshire Day! It's our favourite time of the year, the perfect time to eat parkin, seek out your local brass band and fly the flags! Did you know that the 3 Yorkshire Ridings have their own flags? Each represents the Riding's unique identity and history! The flags were selected via competitions with each design earning the most votes from the community, furthering the flags' connections with the people and identity of the region.
We wanted to explore the history and symbolism behind the Yorkshire flags this Yorkshire Day to recognise the heritage and identity of this amazing county.
The Yorkshire Flag
The White Rose on the blue background has been recognised as the flag of Yorkshire since 1975, although it wasn't officially registered until 29th July 2008 (just in time for Yorkshire Day!)
While the White Rose originally represented the House of York, it has since become the most recognisable emblem of Yorkshire. It isn't actually known when the White Rose became associated with Yorkshire. We do know that it was likely used for the first time in the 14th century by the first Duke of York. It had religious connotations as the white of its petals represented innocence and purity.
The Rose was worn by York soldiers in the 15th-century battles against the House of Lancaster, the Lancaster men wore the Red Rose. The roses actually were not the official emblems of the war, with the emblems of different Houses also being worn by soldiers. But when Henry the VIII united the two roses to make the Tudor rose, the roses were officially connected to the War of Roses.
The White Rose's connection to Yorkshire is further solidified by the events of 1st August 1759, when Yorkshire soldiers returning from the Battle of Miden picked white roses and wore them in memory of their fallen comrades.
The East Riding Flag
The Flag Institute registered the East Riding Flag on 18th April 2013. The flag is comprised of the White Rose, set against a blue and green background. The blue at the hoist represents the sea and East Riding's historic maritime activities, such as Hulls' whaling heritage and the North Sea fishing industry, and the East Riding's connection to the whole of Yorkshire. The green towards the fly symbolises the Riding's rich agricultural land and points in the direction of its connection with the rest of Yorkshire.
The North Riding Flag
Following the East Riding Flag, the North Riding registered their flag with the Flag Institute on 4th May 2013. Their flag features a yellow-edged blue cross, referencing the colours attributed to Saint Wilfrid. He attended a council at Whitby in 664 AD that was called to settle the controversy on the date of Easter. Much like the East Riding Flag, the colours of the North Riding flag symbolise the natural features of the Riding. The green harkens to the North York Moors, and the blue and yellow are reminiscent of the North Sea Coastline and the Riding's rivers.
The West Riding Flag
The West Riding was the last to get their flag officially registered with the Flag Institute on 23rd May 2013. The 'rose-en-soleil' takes the pride and centre of the flag. It is a combination of the White Rose and the sun emblem used by Richard II. The 'rose-en-soleil' was first used by Edward IV when he came to the throne. It is sat on top of an offset red cross, the cross is in the Scandinavian style, connecting back to the Anglo-Scandinavian history of the region when the Ridings were first established.
While there is no South Riding, South Yorkshire does have its own flag design although it is not officially recognised.
The flags of Yorkshire capture its diverse and unique history, giving a peak into the past of the county. You can see the flag flying throughout the county and beyond. With people across the world representing the county they once called home or fell in love with.
We have a range of flags, big to small, including bunting, car flags and our range of pins and patches, so you can represent Yorkshire however you like!