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Somerset

The flag depicts the traditional dragon emblem of Somerset, a design first promoted as the county flag by Ed Woods in 2006. The red dragon has been used for the last century by the local county council as their coat of arms but it is ultimately derived from the banners borne by Alfred the Great and his kinsmen during the era of the Viking Wars, which were variously described as bearing red or gold dragons or wyverns. Further research suggests a potential linkage with the county that reaches further back to Celtic use of a dragon symbol itself ultimately derived from use of the Draco symbol by the Roman military during the Roman occupation of Britain.  In essence therefore, the  flag is a traditional design with a pedigree of over a thousand years. In 2013 the design was submitted to a county flag competition which it duly won. The flag is promoted at http://www.facebook.com/SomersetFlag which features much discussion of the provenance of this design.

5 thoughts on “Somerset

    • In fact Somerset has an entrenched dragon tradition, which is why one appears on the coat of arms of the county council and the badges and emblems of numerous sporting bodies in the county. You might also like to consult “Somerset Dragons” by Brian Wright. The Somerset flag was the winner of a county flag competition, its local heritage and tradition being immediately recognised and embraced by the people of the county. The wyvern specifically represents the wider region of Wessex, of which of course Somerset is part. Whilst sharing an origin the two forms of mythical winged beast have diverged and differentiated over the centuries and have come to represent different entities.

  • When flying both Wessex and Somerset flags on a single pole, which should take precedence (be on top)? Wessex day and Somerset day are both in May.

    • Thanks for your interesting question. As no legislation covers these designs – they are recognised as local or community flags – there is no formal procedure that really applies, in the circumstances that you describe. So that leaves common sense and generally, as Wessex is the greater entity and Somerset a part of it, it would seem sensible to have Wessex flying over Somerset but if you are specifically flying both on Somerset Day, it would be more appropriate to allow the county flag, prominence, on the county day.

  • Very many thanks for your helpful answer. To change the informal precedent on the day is an excellent idea.

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