It is probably true to say that there is no Welshman or Welsh woman who would not recognise the National Flag of Wales, the Welsh Dragon or Y Draig Goch. Welsh flags images are known the world over and have consistently been judged as one of the most iconic and striking flags. Many national flags are merely an arrangement of colours - the Wales National flag image is one of a confident, fiery Welsh dragon – Y Ddraig Goch or the Welsh dragon flag!
The Welsh dragon flags show the Dragon as a red dragon passant (a passant being an animal shown as walking with the right front foot and its tail raised) on a green and white background. Its not only iconic but many believe that it is one of the oldest flags in the world that is still in use.
The dragon has been associated with Wales for many centuries, but its origins and why it is on the flag are unclear. The oldest recorded use of the dragon to signify Wales, goes way back to the Historia Brittonum, written by the historian Nennius around 820.
Amongst the earliest mentions of the word "draig" in the Welsh language date back to the sixth century. It is thought, however, that the word "draig" meant a "leader" and in particular a "strong leader" at that time rather than the current day meaning of "dragon". The word "draig" would be used by poets. They used "draig" for someone who would free the Welsh people from English oppression, and so the word seems to suggest fierce warrior or a symbol of the strength of the Welsh people.
Even before that, in the fifth century, the Welsh Kings of Aberffraw are said to have used the dragon to symbolise their might after the Romans withdrew from Britain.
In the 12th century, Geoffrey of Monmouth wrote in Historia Regum Britanniae that the dragon has connections to the legends of Arthur (who was Welsh). The name of Uther Pendragon, who was Arthur’s father, means Dragon Head. Geoffrey also mentions the prophecy of Myrddin (or Merlin) which predicts an enduring struggle between a red dragon and a white dragon, i.e., the fight between the Welsh and the English.
After the Prince of Wales, Owain Glyndwr, used the dragon in the year 1400 as a symbol of revolt against the English, the dragon was brought to England by the House of Tudor, direct descendants of the Welsh Royal Family who held the English throne from 1485 to 1603.
The flag incorporates the red dragon of Cadwaladr, King of Gwynedd, along with the Tudor colours of green and white. It was used by Henry VII at the Battle of Bosworth in 1485, after which it was carried in state to St Paul's Cathedral.
Although Wales is part of the United Kingdom, to many it is strange that no part of the Welsh flag is represented in the Union Jack flag at all! An Act of parliament back in 1535 is the law which joined Wales to England, and at that time the St George’s Cross of England (the red cross on a white background) was adopted for the 'Kingdom of England' which, following the 1535 Act then included Wales. The first Union Flag was created in 1606, and it included parts of Scotland’s (the Saltire or Saint Andrew's Cross, a white X-cross on a blue background), and England's flags. In 1801 the current Union Flag (commonly called the Union Jack) was created, incorporating a further element to represent Ireland (the Saltire of St Patrick: a red X-cross on a white background). So, for historical and legal reasons going back to 1535, Wales has no separate representation in the Union Flag.
For all Welsh men and women, this is disappointing and even more so as to almost anybody, the Welsh flag is far superior to the Union Jack! Amazingly, it was not until 1959 that the Queen Elizabeth declared that ‘only the Red Dragon on a green and white flag should be flown on government buildings in Wales’. Here is a list of many other Welsh Flags, many of which are still flown in public today.
Here are some of the older or even old Welsh flags...
|Welsh Flag - Current from 1953||Welsh Flag - From 1807 to 1953|
|St David's Current||St David's with Red Dragon|
|Owain Glyndwr||Powys Mathrafal||Deheubarth|
|Llywelyn ap Gruffudd||Powys Fadog||Gwynedd|
Today it is common to see the flag of Owain Glyndwr flying all across Wales. The nationalist movement in Wales has always held Owain Glyndwr in high regard, but he is now a figure of mass culture in Wales, with statues and monuments alongside pub and street names commemorating him. Owain Glyndwr's Day, 16th September, commemorates the last native Welsh person to hold the title Prince of Wales.
The flag of Y Wladfa, the Welsh settlement in Patagonia, Argentina, since the late 19th century is the Argentinian flag with a Welsh Dragon in the white area in the middle.
Our company, FelinFach Natural Textiles is located in the heart of the Preseli area of Pembrokeshire near to Boncath. We design Welsh blankets and the iconic Welsh Tapestry blankets which are traditionally woven at Welsh mills. We also design and make natural hand dyed yarn, cotton, silk and wool scarves and other handmade products. We are a proud supporter of the Campaign for Wool and Global Welsh.
Last updated 20th September 2020
Owain Glyndŵr Day, 16th September, commemorates the last native Welshman to hold the title Prince of Wales. Today, he is a figure of mass culture in Wales, with statues, flags and monuments alongside pubs and street names remembering him. He is possibly one of the greatest Welshmen of all time if not the greatest. His name is still remembered and revered today.
Wool blankets and throws and traditional hand weaving are at the heart of FelinFach's ethos of "Natural, Traditional, Handmade". All of our wool blankets are traditionally hand woven in Wales on age old looms using the skills and methods of times gone by. Whilst the weaving methods are traditional, our designs, patterns and colours range from not only the traditional but also the contemporary.
Be part of the worldwide celebrations for Roald Dahl's Day on Sunday 13th September 2020! Dahl’s story began in 1916 in when he was born at Villa Marie, Fairwater Road, Llandaff, Cardiff, Wales, a house name was named after the first wife. In 1918 his father, Harald, purchased a much grander property, Ty Mynydd (Mountain House in Welsh), a large farm of 150 acres in Radyr, near Cardiff.