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The Red Rose - symbol of Lancashire

The Red Rose of Lancaster is the county flower of Lancashire.

In heraldry it is known as a rose gules. The first Earl of Lancaster used it as part of his heraldic device. Some people believe that it was used by Lancastrians during the Wars of the Roses and became the ‘official’ emblem of Lancashire after the Battle of Bosworth Field in 1485. (The term ‘Wars of the Roses’ did not exist at that time and has only been used since the nineteenth century).

Others believe that Henry VII (a Lancastrian, originally named Henry Tudor) was responsible for cementing the link between Lancastrians and the red rose. As in the modern age, he believed that a logo could convey a very strong message. The White Rose of Yorkshire was in existence before the wars and shortly after winning the Battle of Bosworth Field he became king and married Elizabeth of York, uniting the country and reconciling the disagreements between the Yorkists and Lancastrians. He, or his publicists, created the Tudor Rose by amalgamating the York Rose with a red rose. The Red Rose became linked, retrospectively, with the Lancastrians.

Although the opposing sides were named after the cities of York and Lancaster they had very little to do with the counties of Yorkshire and Lancashire. Both Dukedoms owned land in many different parts of the country.

Lancashire flags are often seen as a red rose on a white background but the official flag is a red rose on a yellow background. In 2008, when the flag was officially registered, it was discovered that a red rose on white was already registered to Montrose, Scotland. Yellow was chosen as the background colour because yellow and red are the livery colours of Lancashire. Officially the rose should stand on two points though various artistic representations are often seen.

It is not certain what species of rose it is based on but it is most likely to be Rosa Gallica Officinalis, which is now named as the official Lancashire Rose and can be bought at many garden centres across the country.


We are called The Red Rose Chorus because we are based in central Lancashire. Our members come from all parts of the county - and beyond. You do not need to have any connection with Lancashire to join the chorus.