Gloucestershire’s flag was registered in March 2008 and was the winning entry in a competition held by the High Sheriff of the county, Jonathon Carr, to commemorate a millennium of the county’s existence. It was designed by Jeremy Bentall from Hucclecote in the county, who described the flag thus “The green is representative of our rural county,
the blue, the River Severn
and the yellow, Cotswold Stone.”
No specific explanation was given for the choice of a cross design, but obviously it is a popular pattern for English county flags. The flag features some distinct shades; a pale yellow fimbriation, whose official Pantone designation is in fact ‘cream’; a background colour described as ‘apple green’ and a mid blue cross. The flag was named by its designer as the ‘Severn Cross’ in reference to the major waterway, the River Severn, which runs through the county and which is symbolised by the blue colour used.
In inviting entries, the Sheriff had stated that “Several counties, especially in the West of the country, now have their own flags and I think the Millennium presents a good opportunity for Gloucestershire to have one of its own”.
The final decision was made by Mr Carr with the help of his wife Daphne. The flag was officially launched in a ceremony at Shire Hall, Gloucester. Speaking about the winning design Mrs Carr said: “It was a clear, simple design. When we opened the envelope containing the design we both looked at it and said this is the winner. “When we took it to a top flag designer in London they picked it out straight away as well.” Whilst the winning design is an attractive flag, the selection process that brought it to the fore was notably undemocratic.
Jeremy Bentall, seen at right below, alongside Jonathon Carr, with his winning design,
stated that he had been “…initially very surprised but equally delighted and quite proud. The remit from the High Sheriff was to keep things as simple and traditional as possible and that’s what I tried to do. “It was great to see the flag hoisted. The rain stayed off and there was even a bit of wind.”
Speaking about the competition Jonathon Carr, above right with flag designer Jeremy Bentall, described how they had received
“… a thousand entries and many were from children. They were more like drawings of old spot pigs and cheese rolling, which were beautiful in their own right but not as strong.”
His successor Brian Thornton, declared that “The Gloucestershire flag is a most appropriate design, combining the green of the Golden Valley, the blue of the River Severn and the gold of Cotswold Stone. I shall be flying it whenever I can at home and I hope other Gloucestershire residents with a flag pole will be doing the same.”
Following the competition the county council hosted an exhibition of the winner and the 80 best entries at Shire Hall, Gloucester. The winning flag is seen below flying over Shire Hall
The flag has since been raised around the county
and displayed at its highest point, Cleeve Hill.
It is seen here with the Gloucestershire county Airsoft team
and features on the apparel of a county Morris Dancing club (Miserden Morris)
Perhaps its most striking realisation has been in the form of a splendid cake
The Severn Cross is evident both on top and through the middle
of this excellent creation from the unnamed wife of an engineer at BBC Radio Gloucester!
Shortly after the competition it was reported that publications from the Diocese of Gloucester were printed bearing the county’s new flag with the arms of the diocese superimposed upon it. In 2018 the county flag became a permanent feature at the municipal offices. It is seen there, below,
in the hands of the High Sheriff of Gloucestershire, Charles Martel, right and Mayor of Cheltenham, Councillor Bernard Fisher. In 2019 the Gloucestershire county flag was taken to Everset Base Camp
Before the competition, a design was already commercially available
and as such is the sole legal property of the county council, rather than of the county at large. It is not the county flag.
One further curiosity is a commercially available design, described as the Gloucestershire flag, which is neither the winner of the flag competition nor a banner of the council’s arms. The porcine theme of the design seems to echo some of the competition submissions referred to by Jonathon Carr, in that it features a rather fierce looking boar – which may be a reference to the Gloucester Old Spot breed of pig.