Flag of Devon
Flag of Devon
Name Saint Petroc's flag Adopted October 2006 (by county council) Designed by Ryan Sealey
The Flag of Devon is the flag of the English county of Devon. It is dedicated to Saint Petroc, a local saint with numerous dedications throughout the West Country and particularly in Devon. It is notable for its creation through two web-based polls.
The flag was created in 2003 after two polls run by the BBC Devon website, the winning design taking 49% of the votes cast. The design was created by student Ryan Sealey.
Since its launch in 2003, the Devon Flag has gained popularity, and in October 2006 it gained "official" recognition when Devon County Council raised the flag outside County Hall. Although the Devon Flag is a new invention, the colours of the flag are those popularly identified with Devon (e.g. the colours of its Rugby Union team, Exeter University and Plymouth Argyle F.C.). Lord Exmouth flew a dark green flag with white circles at the Bombardment of Algiers (now on view at the Teign Valley Museum).
The Devon Flag is made of three colours — green (Pantone 348), black and white. The green represents the colour of the rolling and lush Devon hills, the black represents the high and windswept moors (Dartmoor and Exmoor) and the white represents both the salt spray of Devon's two coastlines and the China Clay industry (and mining in general). The placement of the colours (specifically placing sable on vert) violates the heraldic rule of tincture.
In April 2004 Rodney Lock of Ottery St Mary in East Devon was threatened with legal action for flying a Devon flag in his back garden, as he required planning permission to fly non-national flags. Since then the Minister for Housing, Keith Hill, has said local authorities can officially "turn a blind eye" to the practice of flying the county flag from poles.
The creation of the flag has drawn particular criticism from Cornish nationalists, who accuse it of being an attempt to 'hijack' their culture. It is also claimed the flag is too similar to Cornish flag. However, the flag also bears resemblance to other flags of the United Kingdom. Another issue is its identification with St Petroc, who is also associated with Cornwall (though not with the Cornish Flag).
Indeed, Bob Burns, who started the original debate, cited the visibility of the Cornish Flag as one of his reasons "Devonians are only too aware of the ubiquitous Cornish Flag, which can often be seen in the form of car bumper stickers, on vehicles entering Devon from Cornwall." 
Dr Mark Stoyle, a Devon historian, noted that "People are quite aware in Devon that the Cornish make political capital by claiming to be different." He also suggested that the new-found Devonian identity was a backlash against city-dwellers.
When to fly the Devon Flag
The Devon flag group have suggested the following dates as days when it is appropriate for the Devon flag to be flown. Most of them are either the days of local events or the feast days of Devon's saints. It is also flown outside of these days, especially in rural towns.
- 4 January - St Rumon of Tavistock and Romansleigh
- 7 January - St Brannock of Braunton
- 5 March - St Piran, patron saint of tin miners
- 7 April - St Brannock, as celebrated in Exeter
- May Bank Holiday, Anniversary of first time Devon Flag Flown at World Gig Championship 2003, Isles of Scilly
- May/June - Devon County Show
- 3 June - St Kevin
- 4 June - St Petroc, for whom the flag is dedicated
- 5 June - St Boniface of Crediton
- 6 June - St Gudwal, hermit of Devon
- 17 June - St Nectan, patron of Hartland
- 21/22 June - Midsummers day
- 8 July - St Urith
- 13 July - St Juthware
- 30 July - Anniversary of battle against Spanish Armada
- 1 August - St Sidwell, virgin of Exeter
- 10 August - St Geraint of Dumnonia
- 30 August - St Rumon
- 26 September - Anniversary of Sir Francis Drake's Circumnavigation of the World
- 2 November - St Cumgar
- 5 November - St Kea
- 7 November - St Congar
- 8 December - St Budoc (St Budeaux) of Plymouth
- 12 December - St Corentin
- 21/22 December - Midwinter
- 31 Dec to 6 Jan - New Years Eve to Twelfth Night
- ^ The Flag Institute
- ^ Devon, England
- ^ BBC - Devon Community Life - Devon gets its own flag
- ^ This is Devon: Nest Flies The Flag For Devon With Her Poem
- ^ BBC - Devon Features - Council's told they can "turn a blind eye" to flag flying
- ^ a b "New Flag Causes A Flap in South West". BBC Devon website. http://www.bbc.co.uk/devon/news_features/2003/flap_over_flag.shtml. Retrieved 2008-09-13.
- ^ "Flag celebrates Devon's heritage". BBC Devon website. http://www.bbc.co.uk/devon/community_life/features/devon_flag.shtml. Retrieved 2008-09-13.
- BBC article on flag
- www.DevonFlag.co.uk - Devon based e-tailer
- Flags of the World - The origins of the flag
- Devon Flag Group
County flags of the United KingdomCounty flags as listed on the Flag Institute's UK Flag Registry
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