The Yorkshire White Rose

The Yorkshire White Rose, also known as ‘the Mystical Rose of Heaven’, is the central feature of the Yorkshire flag. White roses were also worn by soldiers of Yorkshire regiments in remembrance of their comrades who died at the time of the Battle of Minden in 1759. 

I spent last weekend with my daughter and grandsons in Thirsk. One of my grandsons asked, ‘grandad, why is the Yorkshire White Rose flag so popular?’. Wherever we went we noticed the blue flag with a white rose displayed proudly from flagpoles, not only on local government buildings but from church towers, pubs, shops, in gardens of private houses – just about everywhere.

 I couldn’t give Frank a definitive answer, so we spent the afternoon finding out.

The White Rose of York is an ancient symbol of purity. The White Rose was used by Plantagenet supporters of the House of York in the 14th century. White roses were also reputedly worn by soldiers of Yorkshire regiments at the Battle of Minden on August 1st which is now known as Yorkshire Day.

But why has the Yorkshire White Rose Flag become so popular?

First of all, it is not political. It is the People’s flag and suggests Yorkshire pride. The flag has become part of our Yorkshire identity and togetherness, celebrating our rich, shared culture, one which is not about exclusiveness, but one which, whatever our background or birth heritage, is about belonging.

In a time where so much seems difficult and uncertain, and so much change is taking place in our lives, a need for a sense of our history and past in which our present is rooted, has never been so strong. 

 So, let’s wave the White Rose of the Yorkshire flag with pride. It symbolises all that is strong and resilient about Yorkshire and its people, the beauty of our county, and symbolises the inclusive character and resilience of ‘Yorkshire folk’.

It therefore truly a symbol of hope to help us emerge from these troubled times stronger and wiser.

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