Monmouthshire’s flag was registered on 30 September 2011 following a resolution of support for it by Monmouthshire County. The design originates with the arms
attributed by mediæval heralds to the sixth century king, Inyr, of the Kingdom of Gwent – the forerunner to Monmouthshire, although no information has yet come to light detailing the significance of this particular arrangement of three fleur de lis and the colours blue and black. The same design formed the basis of the arms now used by the Diocese of Monmouth
, of the church of Wales and it has since been further incorporated into the arms and badges of other local bodies over the succeeding years, including Blaenau Gwent Council,
appearing as a band across the top of the shield and Monmouthshire County Rugby Football Club
In 1948 the attributed arms of ancient Gwent were subsumed in the coat of arms awarded to Monmouthshire County Council.
King Inyr’s arms also made a decorative appearance at the 1969 Investiture of Prince Charles at Caernarfon Castle
As can be seen therefore, the pattern has long been associated with the county and is widely used and recognised. In 2010, ABC member (Association of British Counties) Jason Saber contacted the local membership regarding a proposed flag for the county and met with an enthusiastic response. The design proposed was formed from the council arms, following research into their derivation and origin, which had revealed the long standing association of the county of Monmouthshire with the blue and black shield bearing three gold fleur de lis. The proposed flag was thus a vertical bi-colour of blue and black with three gold fleur de lis, although with some modifications that improved the design’s efficacy in flag form. Illustrations of the arms attributed to ancient Gwent, typically depict a shade of blue in the shield that is rather dark
. Such an arrangement appears to contravene the heraldic rule of tincture, which prohibits such dark colours as blue and black touching in any design to avoid a reduction of visibility. By contrast the shield that has been commonly depicted in the arms of the County Council, whilst supposedly based on the ancient shield, has generally been shown with an obviously lighter shade of blue
In like manner the proposed county flag was also composed of black and light blue divisions. The detail of the fleur de lys was also simplified, thereby making the flag less intricately composed and thus more effective and comparatively easy to reproduce by hand. An original prototype design was fashioned
which was later modified after consultation with the Flag Institute, to include the slightly darker blue shade, of Pantone 300 and a fixed form for the fleur de lis.
The proposed flag thus retained a symbol of ancient and local significance in a fresh and impactful style. It was designed in accordance with recognised precepts of good flag design promulgated by both NAVA (North American Vexillological Association) and the Flag Institute, was distinct and different from all other county flags but easy to render and familiar to local inhabitants.
The Monmouthshire Association was formed and in December 2010 began to promote the newly devised but anciently sourced flag. It arranged for the manufacture of some flags which were subsequently lent to local organisations for display at public events. The Monmouthshire Mounted Games Team contacted the association to use the flag at the June–July 2011 Glanusk Horse Trials in neighbouring Brecknockshire, having learnt that other county teams were to brandish their flags at the event; the team proudly wielded the flag during the sporting contest
In late July, the village hall committee in Devauden, in the east of the county, became the first organisation to create a permanent installation of the Monmouthshire flag, raising it at the Hood Memorial Hall in the village.
This was reported by the South Wales Argus, later in the year.
“A Village hall in Monmouthshire is thought to be the first to adopt the permanent flying of the county flag. Planning permission was granted by the council for the Monmouthshire flag to be displayed at the Hood Memorial Hall, Devauden, after chairman of the hall committee John Rowlands saw a flagpole at a hall near the Gower and thought it would be a pleasant welcome to the village. Teaming with the Monmouthshire Association, who supplied the flag, the arms attributed to the Kingdom of Gwent now flies proudly outside the hall.”
On the back of these two outstanding instances of local usage of the proposed flag, the ABC’s Rupert Barnes contacted the local council to enquire about their support for the flag. The council proved to be very enthusiastic and duly announced their official seal of approval in the council minutes on September 29th 2011.
“Monmouthshire County Council is proud to bear the name of the historic county of Monmouthshire. We recognise the importance of the counties to identity and heritage and are pleased to see Monmouthshire celebrated: not just the local administrative area which bears its name but the wider historic county. We recognise that the proposed flag of Monmouthshire presented to us by the Monmouthshire Association is suitable to be accepted as a flag to symbolise the historic county of Monmouthshire and we would be pleased to see it registered as such on the UK Flags Register. We therefore support the Monmouthshire Association’s application for registration of the flag.”
As a result of this solid and demonstrable support for the proposed flag from several local bodies and in light of the traditional, historic nature of the design, it was duly registered as the county flag of Monmouthshire.
The flag is now widely available commercially. Shortly after registration it was raised at the Llansantffraed Court Hotel, at Clytha
and has since been flown across the country
The flag easily lends itself to depiction on key fobs, badges, ties and other similar items
In 2012 the Monmouthshire county flag adorned the county’s highest point Chwarel y Fan.