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Dorset (England)

Last modified: 2013-01-01 by rob raeside
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[Dorset] image by Ivan Sache, 1 May 2008

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Dorset flag

The flag proposal for Dorset, conceived by Stephen Coombs in 2006 and designed by Dave White, from Dorchester, is with a white cross fimbriated red.

The colours of the flag are considered as the colours of Dorset for different reasons. First, they are found in the Dorset County Council arms, on which two golden dragons supports a white shield charged with three leopards stacked over a red fleur-de-lis. The golden dragon is thought to have represented the ancient Saxon kingdom of Wessex. Second, during the Duke of Monmouth's uprising in 1685, the Dorset militia wore red coats with yellow facings. The drummers actually had this reversed with yellow coats and red facings. Third, the three colours are also found in the coat of arms of the Sherborne Abbey, "Gules a white cross a crozier or piercing the cross". Red and white also recalls that Dorset is an English county.

The flag is nickmaned "St. Wite's cross". According to the local tradition, St. Wite was a Saxon holy woman martyred by the Danes in the IXth century; Christine Waters ("Who was St. Wite?") rather believes she was a hermit who worked selflessly for the local community. The complete remains of the saint are kept in the church of Whitchurch Canonicorum. - First discussions on the flag - Heraldica forum - St Wite's cross flag website - Flag of Dorset (indeed Dave White's flag proposal) in Wikipedia

On 11 April 2008, Louise Dunderdale reported in "The Dorset Echo" that the town criers of Dorset back up the flag. There is further discussion in the "Comments" section of the newspaper; as usual in such a context, the discussion drifts quite quickly off-topic:

On 27 April 2008, Martin Lea reported in "The Dorset Echo" that the Dorset County Council is interested in a Dorset flag but would like to see more proposals. The newspaper calls for proposals, which will be featured in the paper and sent to the County Council:

As said by Dave White, the Dorset County flag available commercially is not the flag of Dorset but a white flag with the attributes of the County Council's arms: - Flag for sale - Photograph of the flag flying and discussion on its statutes.
Ivan Sache, 1 May 2008

The "Dorset Echo" shows two more flag proposals for Dorset.
"A narrowboater has come up with a novel idea for a Dorset flag - the one he has been sailing under for the last 12 years. Grayham Rosamond, from Shipton Gorge near Bridport, needed a flag to sail under when he began narrowboating across the country. So he opted for producing his own Dorset-related ensign - and reckons it is the perfect solution to the Echo's hunt to find a county flag.
Mr Rosamond's flag design is based upon the St George's Cross and features Hardy's Monument standing on a 'Bridport dagger' - a piece of rope. The submission also boasts a shield, divided into four quarters, which features the White Horse of Osmington Hill, Corfe Castle, the Cerne Giant and an Abbotsbury swan. Mr Rosamond's design also includes a banner that reads Vitare Gaudeamus, which means 'let us enjoy life'.
Weymouth reader Anita Blake also took the time to send her Dorset flag design to us here at the Echo. Her idea is based on the county's distinctive coastline and uses the isle of Portland's outline as the 'D' in Dorset. Mrs Blake, from Broadwey, said: "Flags don't normally have wording, so I thought this too would be different." [sic]
Ivan Sache, 2 June 2008

In "The Dorset Echo", 12 June 2008, Arron Hendy reports that the councils of Eastern Dorset have not been fascinated by the proposals:
"Bournemouth Borough Council has cited their historic links with Hampshire while Poole and Christchurch have also decided not to be involved at this stage. Dorchester's Dave White, who launched the project with his own design, still hopes the flag will go ahead. He said: "I'm very disappointed with Bournemouth Borough Council's response considering the town has now been part of Dorset for many years. Hankering after a past life with Hampshire certainly is not a particularly good excuse. If the people of Bournemouth choose to adopt the flag, then who are the council to stop them?"
   Mr White contacted all three councils after Dorset County Council chairman John Peake stressed that discussions would have to involve Bournemouth and Poole. Chief executive of Bournemouth Borough Council Pam Donnellan confirmed their decision. She said: "We already have strong historic links with both Hampshire to the east and Dorset to the west and we wish Dorset every success in this new initiative."
A Borough of Poole spokesman also referred to historical issues. He said: "The borough has a rich history dating back hundreds of years and was subject to a Royal Charter in 1568 which saw it named the county of the town of Poole and, therefore, separate from the county of Dorset. "The council has no objections to the campaign for a Dorset flag however we feel that this issue is best pursued by our colleagues at Dorset County Council."
   Sally Northeast, public relations manager at Dorset County Council, confirmed chief executive David Jenkins had spoken to both Bournemouth and Poole's councils and that they were not interested at the moment. She said: "The issue for them is to do with the fact that they have quite a strong town identity from a tourism point of view. If the flag goes into production who knows what will happen."
Ivan Sache, 13 June 2008

With regards to Dorset, England - the Dorset Cross/St Wite's Cross - gold field, white cross outlined in red - yesterday won a public vote to see it endorsed as the flag of Dorset. 4,000 people voted, with the Dorset Cross claiming 54% of the vote. Three other contenders received 22%, 21% and 3% respectively.
Dave White, 17 September 2008