Flag of Saint David

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The flag of St David

The flag of Saint David (Welsh: Baner Dewi Sant) is normally a yellow cross on a black field, but it has also appeared as a black cross on a yellow field or with an engrailed cross. It represents the 6th century Saint David (Welsh: Dewi Sant; c. 500 – c. 589), a Welsh bishop of Menevia and the patron saint of Wales.

The Flag of Saint David has been used as a flag representing Wales (as an alternative to the Red Dragon flag), in the same sense that the crosses of Saint George, Saint Andrew, Saint Patrick and Saint Piran are used to represent England, Scotland, Ireland and Cornwall (of which they are respectively patron saints). It is similar to the arms of the Diocese of St David's.

The flag can be seen throughout Wales, but not as frequently as the Red Dragon. On Saint David's Day it often plays a central role in the celebrations.

History[edit]

The flag of Saint David (right) alongside the flag of Wales (left) on Saint David's Day.

The flag of Saint David was mostly unknown in Wales until 1994.[citation needed] There was a large one along the roof in St David's Cathedral with the cinquefoils thereon but hardly any others in use. The Welsh Tartan Company (WTC)[who?] were looking around for a 'brand' to complete the Brithwe Dewi Sant (St David's Tartan)/J Wake, then of the WTC, set out to see if the flag could be used commercially or indeed patriotically across Wales. The feeling at the time was that the Union flag did not contain any Welshness, the St George's Cross representing Wales as a principality of England. The Dean of St David's said that the cinquefoil and the cross were their property and advised help from a London royal official office.

The WTC was then told the Prince of Wales probably owned the rights to the flag and may not give permission. There was neither outright animosity to the flag being produced and used, nor any enthusiasm. It was decided, after a lawyer was consulted, that the flag could be used as long as there were no cinquefoils on it. A thousand flags were produced without the cinquefoils; they were distributed around Wales and a PR campaign took place to increase knowledge of the St David's flag.

The flags were hung prominently in the Welsh shop in the centre of Cardiff and at other locations. Within 10 years, the St David's Flag was known and flown across Wales in patriotic use. It was never a flag to usurp the Red Dragon but to complement it, and perhaps to get Wales's own Patron Saint's emblem to proudly fly alongside the emblems of the other nations, St George, St Andrew and St Patrick.

Uses[edit]

The history of the flag is somewhat obscure, but it seems to have emerged at the beginning of the 20th century. One theory is that it was developed to fly atop Anglican churches in Wales, in the same way that the St George's Cross was flown outside churches in England, but since 1954 churches are more likely to fly a flag bearing the armorial bearings of the Church in Wales, granted that year.

In any case, the colours of the flag, black and gold, have certainly long been associated with the Welsh saint, even if not always in the form of a symmetrical cross. St David's University College, Lampeter (now the Lampeter campus of the University of Wales Trinity Saint David), founded in 1822, adopted these colours as the 'college colours' in 1888,[1] and the flag of St David continues to be associated with the college, and is often flown today in a form defaced to include the cinquefoils of the crest of St David's College.

A stylized version of the flag was also used as the shoulder badge of the 38th (Welsh) Infantry Division during World War II.

Between 2003 and 2008, Cardiff City F.C. incorporated the flag into their logo.[2] Crusaders RLFC, who started playing rugby league in Bridgend in 2006, also incorporated the flag on their logo.

In 2007 George Hargreaves, leader of the Welsh Christian Party, campaigned to replace the Flag of Wales with the St David's Cross, claiming that the red dragon on the Welsh flag was "nothing less than the sign of Satan".[3]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Price, DT William. A History of Saint David's University College, Lampeter 1. Cardiff: University of Wales Press. ISBN 978-0-7083-0606-2. 
  2. ^ Moor, Dave. "Cardiff City". Historical Football Kits. Retrieved 26 March 2013. 
  3. ^ Molly Watson, "Christian group wants 'evil' Welsh flag changed" Western Mail, 3 March 2007

External links[edit]