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 A flag for Dorset
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Stephen Coombs
Vapenkung



Posted - 2005/09/08 :  15:42:54  Show Profile
As a Dorset man in volutary exile I have often wondered why there does not seem to be a Dorset flag. The Cornish have had their St. Piran's Cross for decades (white/silver on black) and Devonians seem to be taking St. Petroc's Cross to their hearts (white/silver, fimbriated black on a green field). See http://www.mantaway.com/cornwall.htm and
http://members.fortunecity.com/devonflaggroup/

What is sometimes used in Dorset instead of a flag is the coat of arms of the Dorset County Council (white/silver with three red lions passant guardant and in base a red fleur-de-lis - see http://www.ngw.nl/int/gbr/d/dorset.htm). However this is the emblem of the county council alone: ordinary Dorset people really have no right to use it.

In the lack of any precedent I would like to make a suggestion. If we take our local patriotism seriously (or half-seriously) we should choose a simple flag with a cross, just as Cornwall and Devon have done. This sort of flag lays claim to a sort of (almost-) nationhood, almost on a par with the English Cross of St. George and the Scottish Cross (actually a saltire) of St. Andrew.

The colours should be individual. We can start with the colours of the county council arms, red and white - but there are a large number of countries using these two colours in different ways - England, Denmark, Poland, Austria, Malta, Monaco to name but a few European examples. so let us add a third tincture. The combination of red, white and gold seems not to be so common, though all three colours in themselves are very often found in flags.

From the flag we can derive the Dorset colours of "red white and gold" and use them in decorations, bunting, streamers, pennants and so on.


My suggestion is a golden (i.e. yellow) field with a white cross edged ("fimbriated") in red. This is technically superior to the Devon flag in heraldic terms, in that we have metal on colour (in the heraldic sense) on metal. The Devon flag with colour on colour (black on green) is a serious breach of heraldic etiquette.

As for a name - there is a Dorset saint who immediately comes to mind, one whose name seems to fit the colour of the central cross on this flag. I am thinking of Saint Wite whose relics are still in the church of Whitchurch Canonicorum in the beautiful countryside west of Bridport - they have survived the ravages of the Reformation and Cromwell unlike all the other relics from olden times that were once found in small parish churches all over Britain.

The name - some people come over all Anglo-Saxon and pronounce it as "witta", but we are not at fault if we pronounce it very much like "white" - this interpretation of the name is of long standing, as witness the alternative name of the saint which the parish uses. "Candida" means "shining white" in Latin.

So now there is a possible flag for Dorset: bright, plain, easy to distinguish. I intend when I have time to contact the Flag Institute - info@flaginstitute.org - to see if they can be of help, the Society of Dorset Men -
http://www.dorsetmen.freeuk.com/page5.html - and perhaps some newspapers. But I would be grateful for help from anyone who happens to google or yahoo themselves on to this suggestion.

Edited by - Stephen Coombs on 2005/09/08 17:13:03

Country: Sweden | Posts: 920

Charles Ross of Biggar
Lekman

Posted - 2006/06/09 :  01:45:43  Show Profile
What a great idea! I grew up in Bournemouth which is in Hampshire but in Dorset according to the newer postal codes. I have never quite understood whether the re-drawing of the postal bounderies was a purely de facto postal measure or whether the county bounderies were de jure altered. At any rate, I can only applaud Stephen Coombs' initative!
Kind regards
Charles Ross of Biggar


With kind regards,
Yours aye,

Country: Germany | Posts: 10 Go to Top of Page

white43
Novis

Posted - 2006/08/19 :  15:32:01  Show Profile
What a superb idea. Shame it had to originate from expatriates!

I did as you say - Googled here. I live in Dorchester, Dorset - and it does bug me somewhat that there is no Dorset flag.

I've taken what you said about the Gold, White and Red and applied them to the English flag.

Is this what you had in mind?:




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white43
Novis

Posted - 2006/08/19 :  15:37:17  Show Profile
Hmmm - Jpeg compression has made the red look horrible. Let's try the original BMP.




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Stephen Coombs
Vapenkung



Posted - 2006/08/21 :  09:47:43  Show Profile
Nice to hear from you! I was born and brought up in Weymouth and know central Dorchester pretty well. My brother lives there.

As for the flag - the red band should be much broader, so that it will show up clearly from a distance. I suggest a breadth about a fifth or a quarter of the breadth of the white (silver) cross. Perhaps the cross itself could be a little broader - it's hard for me to tell without getting out the old graph paper and experimenting ...



Country: Sweden | Posts: 920 Go to Top of Page

white43
Novis

Posted - 2006/08/21 :  17:20:02  Show Profile
I shall get on and try and do another one!


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white43
Novis

Posted - 2006/08/21 :  17:48:09  Show Profile
I've changed the original file - red is now much more defined.


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Alexander
Vapenkung



Posted - 2006/08/21 :  21:34:56  Show Profile
I tried to make the red even thicker, like in the flag of Norway.





---Alexander---

Edited by - Alexander on 2006/08/21 21:37:03

Country: Sweden | Posts: 886 Go to Top of Page

Stephen Coombs
Vapenkung



Posted - 2006/08/22 :  12:47:33  Show Profile
These latest depictions are much closer to what I intended - thanks for help and interest! But I think the silver cross itself could be broader than in these latest version, and perhaps the red edging too, just a little broader...

Any opinions on the flag as such? Does it look good? Is it suitable for a county just along the coast from Cornwall and Devon? Could it catch on? Would there be any point in trying to publicise the Cross of St. Wite, perhaps through the local paper, the Echo?



Country: Sweden | Posts: 920 Go to Top of Page

white43
Novis

Posted - 2006/08/22 :  15:33:32  Show Profile
Hi Stephen,

I wouldn't know if there was any interest - there might be now that Devon has it's own flag. Maybe a letter to the Echo? I'm sure your discourse on the colours etc would be much better than mine!!!

As for aleckx's design - I preferred the more vibrant yellow in my original design, but do like the thicker red borders, but again in the red I originally had.

Was it your intention for a nod towards the original Wessex flag of the region (Red with the yellow seraph? as seen here: http://www.white43.f2s.com/wessex.bmp )



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Stephen Coombs
Vapenkung



Posted - 2006/08/22 :  17:12:13  Show Profile
Wyvern rather than seraph! No, I hadn't thought about that. I don't know if there really is a Wessex flag, though if someone has managed to get this one accepted I'm all for it. We know the Saxons before the Conquest used a golden dragon or wyvern, but the red background must surely just be a good idea had by someone closer to our own time. The dragon in the arms of Somerset County Council is derived from the same tradition, though there it is red and four-legged, like the Welsh dragon.


Country: Sweden | Posts: 920 Go to Top of Page

white43
Novis

Posted - 2006/08/22 :  21:39:01  Show Profile
D'oh! Yea, I meant Wyvern.

This flag has been adopted by the Wessex Regionalists. It's not a Dorset flag. Apparently it always was red with a golden Wyvern. It's shown on the Bayeux tapestry apparently.



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Stephen Coombs
Vapenkung



Posted - 2006/08/23 :  11:07:14  Show Profile
Harold's flag was not what we mean by a flag. See http://www.crwflags.com/fotw/flags/fr_bayxt.html

By googling I have found your Wessex flag at http://www.crwflags.com/fotw/flags/gb-wessx.html
As can be seen there, ideas about the colour of the Wessex dragon or wyvern have varied. I don't remember where I originally read that it was gold - that seems to be just one alternative.



Country: Sweden | Posts: 920 Go to Top of Page

Enar
Vapenkung



Posted - 2006/08/24 :  09:18:16  Show Profile  Send Enar an ICQ Message
quote:
Originally posted by Stephen Coombs

Any opinions on the flag as such? Does it look good? Is it suitable for a county just along the coast from Cornwall and Devon?


The flag looks good, but what about proportions?
Unlike heraldry, flag often have exact proportions. Is this the case for Devon and Cornwall?



Country: Sweden | Posts: 936 Go to Top of Page

Stephen Coombs
Vapenkung



Posted - 2006/08/24 :  10:38:36  Show Profile
Surely what happens is that official flags tend to have their proportions decided by governments etc. while the proportions of unofficial flags, like those of Devon and Cornwall, are whatever the manufacturers, or those placing the order, think suitable.

My own idea is that the Golden Section (gyllene snittet) is a good guide, roughly 5:8.



Edited by - Stephen Coombs on 2006/08/24 10:39:06

Country: Sweden | Posts: 920 Go to Top of Page

Bentley
Novis

Posted - 2006/10/20 :  07:42:59  Show Profile
Like the Dorset flag suggestion, Stephen. Though currently living out in India I grew up within the parish limits of Whitchurch Canonicorum. Think Wite beats Candida as a name however. Not sure Devonians would let us forget that we were naming our flag after a genital fungus. For this reason the Dorset flag would clearly need to be superior in all respects to the Devonian one. Therefore your colour scheme would seem to be about the right one. I agree that the cross and edging need to be both a little thicker. Perhaps the gold could be a little darker too?



DaveB

Country: India | Posts: 1 Go to Top of Page

Stephen Coombs
Vapenkung



Posted - 2006/10/20 :  16:45:55  Show Profile
Thanks for liking the flag. "Candida" was never on the cards for the name of the cross, but simply mentioned as a precedent for associating the saint's name "Wite" with the colour white. As to genital fungus, I doubt whether that connection would be made by many outside the medical and nursing professions. I may be wrong: I belong to a generation for which "STD" stands for "subscriber trunk dialling". - "Candidus" with various endings simply means (shining) white in Latin. The original "candidates" were dressed in white for the occasion. I'm sure the adjective turns up in botanical and zoological names as well as mycological ones.

To the heraldic way of thinking gold is gold (i.e. often in practice some sort of yellow). The actual shade used is theoretically not specified, but as a rule the strongest, purest hues are preferred, and in this I think your taste agrees with mine. When flags achieve an official status the colours are often specified by a technical code; however this Dorset flag is as yet very far from becoming official!

If this flag is to be made known and used we would need the energies of someone based in Dorset. I hoped perhaps that the chap behind the appellation white43 might see his way to taking on that rôle, but apparently not....



Edited by - Stephen Coombs on 2006/10/20 16:51:07

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Farmer
Novis

Posted - 2006/10/23 :  16:00:40  Show Profile
As another former resident of the Whitchurch parish, I'd definitely support the use of Saint Wite's name. And yes let's steer well clear of Candida ;) The proposed flag looks good - so much the better if it is also heraldicly superior to its Devonian counterpart.

Nice work chaps!

PS Also, am I the only one slightly amused that this discussion is taking place on a Swedish hosted forum?!



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