The story behind the Somerset Flag
The County flag of Somerset in its current form is a comparatively new addition to the list of UK national flags, coming into use on 4th July 2013 at a flag hoisting ceremony in Taunton, attended by the Chairman of Somerset County Council and Civic Leaders from across the County, after an extensive County-wide competition.
Ed Woods of Curry Rivel, born in Yeovil, won the competition with his design based on ancient symbols associated with the county after polling the most votes in a county-wide competition run by Newsquest Somerset in association with BBC Somerset.
Immediately following the flag hoisting ceremony in Taunton, the Chairman of Somerset County Council and guests were flown by Merlin helicopter to the Irish Sea to join HMS Somerset so they could present the new County flag to the Commanding Officer.
The new flag was flown proudly from the yardarm as HMS Somerset made her way through the Irish Sea and entered her homeport of Davenport.
The design takes much from the ancient flag of Wessex and back further to the Roman cohort. The red dragon rampant (some incorrectly call it a Wyvern) on a bright yellow background is similar to the County Council flag of Somerset which again depicts a red dragon but holding a blue mace on a white background overall – the mace representing the authority of the Council.
Judge Robin Ashburner BEM FIAV, Somerset resident, long time flag maker and past president of the Flag Institute, confirmed the organisation would be adopting it as the county’s official flag. Robin is chairman and co-founder of Red Dragon Flag Makers, the only social mission flag maker in the world, who are partnering the 2021 Somerset Day Fly the Flag for Somerset campaign.
Fellow judge Deborah Meaden, who lives in Somerset, said: “I will be flying the flag at my home. The design epitomised what I love about the county. It’s vibrant and bold and eye-catching … and it has a dragon on it too !”
All English Counties now have a flag of their own and all can be seen flying outside Westminster on County Flag flying day, 23rd July every year.