Flag of Dorset

Flag of Dorset

Flag of Dorset
Names St Wite's Cross, The Dorset Cross
Proportion 3:5
Adopted 2008
Designed by Stephen Coombs and David White

The Flag of Dorset is the flag of the English county of Dorset. The 'Dorset Cross' was chosen as the flag of Dorset on 16 September 2008 following a public vote, open to all Dorset residents, and organised by Dorset County Council. The unitary authorities of Bournemouth (historically part of Hampshire) and Poole declined an invitation to participate. The flag has subsequently been registered at the Flag Institute and added to their UK Flags Register.[1]




In 2007, an armorial banner of the Dorset County Council coat of arms appeared for commercial sale, and prompted calls for a Dorset flag to be officially created.[2] The council's initial response was to reject these calls saying it had no authority to create a flag as its administrative area was not the same as the county itself.[3] Following this, an independent campaign led by Dorset resident David White began to promote a flag that was conceived by Dorset expatriate Stephen Coombs and depicted by White himself. In April 2008 John Peake, the chairman of Dorset County Council, asked the Dorset public to submit other ideas for a Dorset flag through the local press.[4] Designs were submitted until the end of June 2008.

Although the Bournemouth and Poole unitary authorities declined to participate in the event, council-sponsored voting took place from 12 August to 12 September and all residents of Dorset were eligible to vote. The Dorset Cross was announced as the winner on 16 September 2008 after receiving 54 per cent of the vote.[5]

The Flag

The Dorset flag is made of three colours - red (pantone 186), white and gold (pantone 116). These colours are found in the arms of Dorset County Council. The gold represents several things related to Dorset: Wessex; the ancient Anglo-Saxon kingdom, Dorset's agriculture, Dorset's sandy beaches, Golden Cap, the highest point on the Jurassic Coast and Gold Hill, the nationally famous street in Shaftesbury. The Dorset militia and regiment used the colours gold, red and green. The flag also recognises St. Wite, a female Dorset saint who is buried at Whitchurch Canonicorum. An Anglo-Saxon holy woman, she was thought to have been martyred by invading Danes in the 9th century.

The flag has been variously known as "The Dorset Cross", "St Wite's Cross" or simply "The Dorset Flag". The creators express a preference to "The Dorset Cross", due to its more secular nature.[6]

Armorial Banner

Dorset County Council Armorial Banner

The armorial banner of the Dorset County Council coat of arms includes three red lions passant guardant with a red fleur de lys on a white background. Strictly speaking, the arms only represent Dorset County Council, rather than Dorset as a whole and officially, permission should be sought to use them.[7]


The original four final designs were selected by an independent judging panel and shortlisted for public voting.[8] Voting began in August and ended on the 12 September 2008, although this was not held in the form of an officially-constituted County referendum. The other three contenders are shown below along with the explanations submitted by their designers:

Design A

Straight dorset design A.gif

Blue is for the sky and sea; yellow for sun and sand; and green for the fields and countryside.

Design C

Straight dorset design C.gif

The green background is synonymous with the county of Dorset and maintains our identity as a green and pleasant land. The yellow cross depicts the beautiful beaches we are fortunate to be blessed with. The oak leaf signifies the rural nature of this wonderful county, something most people living here are very proud of. The black border around the yellow cross signifies the black death that came to our shores and nearly wiped out the population but through our resilience as a people we overcame that threat and made us the proud people we are today.

Design D

Straight dorset design D.gif

The colours on the flag should show all the good things we have in Dorset. Blue for the sea and beaches; green for the countryside; and gold for the sand and because Dorset is a sunny place to live.


External links

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