Flag of Saint David

The flag of Saint David (Welsh: Baner Dewi Sant) is normally a yellow cross on a black field, but it has also appeared as a black cross on a yellow field or with an engrailed cross. It represents the 6th-century Saint David (Welsh: Dewi Sant; c.500c.589), a Welsh bishop of Menevia and the patron saint of Wales.

Flag of Saint David
UseCivil and state flag
DesignYellow cross on a black field
(Sable a cross or)
Arms of the Diocese of St. David's, Sable, (a cross Or with five cinquefoils sable). The arms, lacking cinquefoils, forms the basis of the flag.

Saint David's cross has been used as a flag to represent Wales, as a less frequently used alternative to the Red Dragon flag. England and Scotland primarily use patron saint flags of Saint George and Saint Andrew, respectively.

It is similarly used in the Diocese of St David's arms. On Saint David's Day it often plays a central role in the celebrations.[1]

Recent history

The flag was used by the 38th (Welsh) Infantry Division during the Second World War.

The flag of Saint David (right) alongside the flag of Wales (left) on Saint David's Day.

The flag of Saint David was mostly unknown in Wales until 1994.[2] There was a large one along the roof in St David's Cathedral with the cinquefoils thereon but hardly any others in use. The Welsh Tartan Company (WTC)[who?] of Cardiff were looking around for a 'brand' to complete the Brithwe Dewi Sant (St David's Tartan). J. Wake, then of the WTC, set out to see if the flag could be used commercially or indeed patriotically across Wales. The feeling at the time was that the Union flag did not contain any Welshness, the St George's Cross representing Wales as a principality of England. The Dean of St David's said that the cinquefoil and the cross were their property and advised help from a London royal official office.

The WTC was then told the Prince of Wales probably owned the rights to the flag and may not give permission. There was neither outright animosity to the flag being produced and used, nor any enthusiasm. It was decided, after a lawyer was consulted, that the flag could be used as long as there were no cinquefoils on it. A thousand flags were produced without the cinquefoils; they were distributed around Wales and a PR campaign took place to increase knowledge of the St David's flag.

The flags were hung prominently in the Welsh shop in the centre of Cardiff and at other locations. Within 10 years, the St David's Flag was known and flown across Wales in patriotic use. It was never a flag to usurp the Red Dragon but to complement it, and perhaps to get Wales's own Patron Saint's emblem to proudly fly alongside the emblems of the other nations, St George, St Andrew and St Patrick.[citation needed]


The history of the flag is somewhat obscure, but it seems to have emerged at the beginning of the 20th century. One theory is that it was developed to fly atop Anglican churches in Wales (possibly with colours reversed as a black cross on a yellow field) in the same way that the St George's Cross was flown outside churches in England, but since 1954 churches are more likely to fly a flag of the Church in Wales based on its armorial badge granted that year.

In any case, the colours of the flag, black and gold, have certainly long been associated with the Welsh saint, even if not always in the form of a symmetrical cross. St David's University College, Lampeter (now the Lampeter campus of the University of Wales Trinity Saint David), founded in 1822, adopted these colours as the 'college colours' in 1888,[3] and the flag of St David continues to be associated with the college, and is often flown today in a form defaced to include the cinquefoils of the crest of St David's College.

A stylized version of the flag was also used as the shoulder badge of the 38th (Welsh) Infantry Division during World War II.

Between 2003 and 2008, Cardiff City F.C. incorporated the flag into their logo.[4] The club also has eventually used the flag as captain armband. Crusaders RLFC, who started playing rugby league in Bridgend in 2006, also incorporated the flag on their logo.

In 2007 George Hargreaves, leader of the Welsh Christian Party, campaigned to replace the Flag of Wales with the St David's Cross, claiming that the red dragon on the Welsh flag was "nothing less than the sign of Satan".[5]

HMS Flora

The crew of the Pembroke-built Royal Navy cruiser HMS Flora played football in a black and yellow kit, in honour of Saint David's colours.[citation needed] While docked in Chile in early 1903, they were beaten by a local team from Coquimbo, upon which the sailors gifted the local team some of their jerseys.[6] Coquimbo Unido continues to play in black and yellow in the Chilean First Division.[7]

See also


  1. Wales History: Flag of St David 31 January 2011 www.bbc.co.uk, accessed 21 November 2020
  2. "St. Davids Flag (Wales)". www.crwflags.com. Retrieved 2017-03-01.
  3. Price, DT William. A History of Saint David's University College, Lampeter. 1. Cardiff: University of Wales Press. ISBN 978-0-7083-0606-2.
  4. Moor, Dave. "Cardiff City". Historical Football Kits. Retrieved 26 March 2013.
  5. Molly Watson, "Christian group wants 'evil' Welsh flag changed" Western Mail, 3 March 2007
  6. "Coquimbo". FIFA. 2 October 2014. Retrieved 21 December 2020. The club acquired its black and yellow kit after a series of matches against the crew of the British ship HMS Flora. Following the fifth game, which was won by Los Piratas, the sailors handed over a set of shirts sporting the colours of the flag of St David, the patron saint of Wales.
  7. Coquimbo Unido Football Shirts 8 September 2020 www.oldfootballshirts.com, accessed 21 November 2020