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Wales: Church in Wales


Last modified: 2020-07-04 by rob raeside
Keywords: wales | church in wales | celtic cross |
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[Flag of Church in Wales] Željko Heimer, 4 September 2001

See also:

Church in Wales

A different flag is used by the Church in Wales: a white flag with a black cross, and a gold Celtic cross emblem inside the cross. It is described as being in accordance with the Grant of Arms of 9 December 1954; a white field charged with a royal blue St George's cross, and in the centre thereof a Celtic Cross in gold. It was to replace the flag which had been in use since 1936; a black cross on a golden field said to have been taken from the arms of the manors of Llawhaden and Pebidiog (anciently known as Dewisland), of which the early Bishops of St David's were barons.
David Prothero, 3 September 2001

Alternate 1:2 version of the flag

[Flag of Church in Wales] Blas Delgado Ortiz, 30 December 2001

Based on a recent photo this flag appears to be 2:1, in contrast to the one shown above by Željko Heimer. Also, all the spaces inside the emblem appears golden, instead of some blue in the background, and it is smaller than previously depicted. The crosses' arms inside each four squares seem to be trefoils.

Blas Delgado Ortiz, 30 December 2001

The provincial [church] flag is a white flag with a blue cross centred by a Celtic cross (black and white picture attached). The heraldic description is Argent, on a Cross Azure a Celtic Cross Or.
Hendrik Haye
, 14 December 2004

A more elaborate version of this flag is shown at
Ron Lahav, 8 January 2009

Dewi Sant (Saint David's Cross)

[Saint-David's Cross] by António Martins-Tuvalkin, 18 August 2001

The gold cross on black of St David has, as far as I know, never had an official status in Wales. The nearest to it was that it was used by Anglican churches in Wales before disestablishment in 1921. I have never seen it flying - the nearest was a banner of the arms of the diocese of St David's which flew from my college on St David's day. The only written reference for the gold-and-black flag I have seen is in Carr (1961).
Roy Stilling, 21 November 1995

According to Carr (1961), Flags of the World, a black cross on gold was used by Welsh Anglican churches until 1954. '[It] is said to have been taken from the arms of the manors of Llawhaden and Pebidiog (anciently known as Dewisland [NB: Dewi Sant is the Welsh for St David]), of which the early bishops of St David's were barons' (p66). This, of course, is the reverse of the gold cross on black flag previously mentioned.

However, the arms of the bishopric of St David's are a gold cross on black, like the flag mentioned, but with four outline black cinquefoils in the arms of the cross. I spent three years in Wales at university and I too never saw a cruciform flag being flown instead of the Red Dragon. However, on St David's Day (1st March), my college - St David's University College, Lampeter (Coleg Prifysgol Dewi Sant, Llanbedr Pont Steffan for any Welsh-speakers) - flew a banner of the arms of St David's.
Roy Stilling, 3 September 1996

For more details about this flag, see our page on the St. David's flag.

Diocese Arms and Flags

Each diocese bears arms (6).

  • The diocese of St. Asaph - Sable, two keys endorsed in saltire wards in chief, argent (available here)
  • The diocese of Bangor - Gules, a bend or, guttee de poix between two mullets, pierced argent (available here)
  • The diocese of St. David's - Sable, on a cross or, five cinquefoils of the field (available here)
  • The diocese of Llandaff - Sable, two pastoral staves endorsed in saltire, the dexter or, the sinister argent. On a chief azure three mitres with their infulae or (available here)
  • The diocese of Monmouth - Per pale azure and sable two croziers in saltire or, between in chief a besant charged with a lion passant guardant gules, in fesse two fleurs-de-lis and in base a fleur-de-lis of the third (available here)
  • The diocese of Swansea/Brecon - Per fess azure and or in chief surmounting a Catherine wheel issuant an eagle rising regardant of the second and in base a fleur-de-lis of the first (available here)
However, you will find that there are no flags depicting these diocesan arms on their own. On most occasions the provincial flag will be used. On occasions St. David's may fly the flag of St David (black with a gold cross). There are no stringent rules for churches as such, on national feast days they may fly the Union Jack (hopefully not upside down) and on St David's Day (1st March) some will fly the Red Dragon. Mostly though they fly the provincial flag on feast days of saints, especially the patron saint.
Hendrik Haye, 14 December 2004

While English dioceses hoist the St. George flag with a distinguishing mark in the canton, usually the arms or a simplification of the arms of the diocese, the Welsh dioceses hoist banners of arms, as far as I could trace their flags. Usual churches, i.e. churches not being cathedrals, probably are hoisting the flag of the Church in Wales, as their English equivalents hoist the St. George flag without distinguishing mark. Welsh dioceses have furthermore badges with a twinned shield, all displaying the arms of the Church of Wales in the dexter shield and the diocese arms in the sinister shield. The whole is surrounded by a golden belt with black inscription “THE CHURCH IN WALES - YR EGLWYS YNG NGHYMRU”
Klaus-Michael Schneider, 7 October 2019

Diocese of Bangor

[Diocese of Bangor] image by Klaus-Michael Schneider, 5 October 2019

Based on this photograph, seen at St. Daniel's Cathedral, Bangor, described in blazon as "Gules a bend Argent gutty of pitch (Guttè de poix) and flanked by two mullets of the same."

The flag I spotted had four drops, Wikipedia displays nine drops, the website of the local St. Daniel's Cathedral displays seven drops.
Klaus-Michael Schneider, 1 October 2019

The number of drops varies - the diocesan website displays 7 drops on a coat of arms, as does a stock photo of the cathedral. According to, the arms were granted in 1512 and it seems the Wikipedia artist decided on the number of drops as a stylistic choice. (Note, many arms on Wikipedia use the public blazon to make their own versions to avoid any copyright concerns). Even the College of Arms did not note on how many drops are supposed to be present; "Gules, a bend Or guttee-de-poix between two pierced mullets argent" was the official blazon given by the College of Arms.
Zachary Harden, 20 June 2020


Diocese of St Davids

[Diocese of St Davids] image by Klaus-Michael Schneider, 5 October 2019

It is a banner of arms: Sable parted by a centred cross Or, charged with five cinquefoils Sable.
The cinquefoils are said to be representations of burnet roses (Latin: Rosa pimpinellifolia) (image:
Source: leaflet of the city of St Davids (Welsh: Tyddewi)
Klaus-Michael Schneider, 5 October 2019

Diocese of Swansea and Brecon

[Diocese of Swansea and Brecon] image by Klaus-Michael Schneider, 8 October 2019

Diocese of Swansea and Brecon (Welsh: Esgobaeth Abertawe ac Aberhonddu)
The flag is a banner of arms, parted per fess of dark blue over yellow. In the middle of the blue half is an eagle reguardant Or on a bladed demi-wheel of the same. The yellow half is charged with an unsymmetrical fleur- de-lis Azure.
The diocese was established in 1923 and had before been the Archdeaconry of Brecon (Welsh: Aberrhonddu) within the Diocese of St David’s. Its cathedral is former Brecon Priory, having the patron saint John the Evangelist. The eagle is his attribute. The wheel usually is an attribute of St. Catherine. I couldn’t find out, which relationship is between the saint and the diocese. The fleur-de-lis usually is an attribute of St. Mary, but as Tuberose (Latin: Agave polianthes) it is also an attribute of St. Joseph, patron saint of the cathedral in Swansea (Welsh: Abertawe).
Klaus-Michael Schneider, 8 October 2019