The Herefordshire flag


was the winner of a 2019 county flag competition,


revealed at a ceremony at Hereford Cathedral




on November 2nd and designed by vexillographer Jason Saber.


The flag was duly added to the registry. The original submission, depicted above, (which appeared in the Telegraph Newspaper in December 2018


in a report on a government call to fly county flags (see here))

was amended

Herefordshire Flag.png

for the competition’s final vote

Herfordshire Flag Competition.pngby the competition organisers.


The flag reworks the more distinctive elements found in the coat of arms awarded to Herefordshire County Council in 1946

hcc arms.png

As with those arms, the basic colour of the flag is red to reflect the famed red earth of the county; however, to emphasise the distinctive dark rich soil that is so typical of the terrain, as is evident in these photos of Herefordshire fields,

Herefields3  Herefields2ajpg  Herefields1

the shade used (Pantone 704c), is considerably darker than that found in the general depictions of the council arms.

A bull’s head, from the famed Hereford breed,


is featured.


which originated in the county before spreading worldwide, is also typically a dark reddish brown, with a wide white face


an appearance that the original submission


aimed to reflect faithfully.

The Hereford bull is a typical county theme, with a long pedigree of use representing the county, as demonstrated by this 1796 example

found on a locally produced coin. In the modern era it is used as the badge of Hereford United Football Club

Hereford United

and that of the city’s Air Training Corp


It appears in the insignia of the Hereford Police Choir (left below) and combined Hereford and Worcester fire service (right below)

Hereford Badges

One of the county’s famed cattle can also be found on the insignia of the local farmers’ market association

and it is further used by the county’s Short Mat Bowling Association’

and in silhouette form, is incorporated in the logo of the county cricket association

A Hereford bull is also found on the badge of the county’s branch of the Women’s Institute

And a magnificent statue of the mighty beast can be found in Hereford


As on the council arms, three wavy stripes, blue and white, represent the River Wye which flows through the county, this arrangement being a typical depiction of a water course on flags and emblems. The waves thus refer to the “FORD” element in the county’s name.

The juxtaposition of the wavy stripes and bull’s head differs from that found on the arms; here the bull’s head is a large eye catching charge, placed in a prominent spot at the upper centre of the flag. The stripes are located nearer to the bottom of the flag allowing more space for the larger bull’s head to occupy comfortably. This arrangement is also considered generally more balanced and aesthetically pleasing. 18336632_1112385092240306_593427155_n.gif

The three elements of dark red field; Herefordshire bull; and River Wye are felt to be a concise graphic expression of the county.

It is noteworthy that the arms of the short lived, former Hereford & Worcester County Council

H and W

granted in 1978 and in use until 1996, merged the arms of the Worcestershire and Herefordshire councils, specifically omitting the lion. The omission clearly demonstrates how the local cattle breed was considered more symbolic of the county than the ubiquitous lion charge.

A design

HCC banner.png

sometimes described as the Herefordshire flag and often inaccurately portrayed with a gold lion

HCC banner

is in fact the armorial banner of Herefordshire Council, derived from its coat of arms

hcc arms.png

and therefore belongs to and represents solely that body. It is not the county flag and is not available to residents to fly, albeit that it is commonly mis-sold as the ‘Herefordshire Flag’. Whilst, as described, there are several features on the design that are representative of the county, the lion, whose form is taken from the Royal Banner of England, is found on the arms of the Norfolk, 1200px-Arms_of_Norfolk.svg.png, Dorset Dorset_County_Counciland Staffordshire gb-e)stf county councils and a lion is not remotely unique nor is it specifically representative of the county, being found on flags and arms across the country, the continent and the World!


Additionally and importantly, the lion depicted on the flag, a “lion passant-guardant”, is a royal symbol taken from the royal arms and is thus only available for use under a royal warrant. The permission granted for its use on the arms of the Herefordshire County Council does not extend to any other usage such as deployment as a flag for residents to fly.  

Another design

herefordshire joke

often labelled as “Herefordshire county flag” is a spurious creation that originated as a joke, as reported here…/4889787.Internet_joke_creat…/ It also includes the coat of arms of Herefordshire County Council so is subject to the same provisions as the council’s actual armorial banner; it is neither registered, nor well designed and is certainly not the county flag of Herefordshire.

The county flag over Shire Hall, Hereford


and flying domestically at Woolla View holiday rental property in the west of the county

at Bromyard in bright sunshine

and by the A4411 at Parton


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