York RoseThe White Rose of York (also called the Rose alba or rose argent), a white heraldic rose, is the symbol of the House of York and has since been adopted as a symbol of Yorkshire as a whole.

Traditionally the origins of the emblem are said to go back to Edmund of Langley in the fourteenth century, the first Duke of York and the founder of the House of York as a cadet branch of the then ruling House of Plantagenet. The actual symbolism behind the rose has religious connotations as it represents the Virgin Mary, who was often called the Mystical Rose of Heaven.The Yorkist rose is white in color, because in Christian liturgical symbolism, white is the symbol of light, typifying innocence and purity, joy and glory.

During the civil wars of the fifteenth century, the White Rose was the symbol of Yorkist forces opposed to the rival House of Lancaster. The red rose of Lancaster would be a later invention used to represent the House of Lancaster, but was not in use during the actual conflict. The opposition of the two roses gave the wars their name: the Wars of the Roses which was coined in the 19th century. The conflict was ended by King Henry VII of England, who symbolically united the White and Red Roses to create the Tudor Rose, symbol of the Tudor dynasty. In the late Seventeenth Century the Jacobites took up the White Rose of York as their emblem, celebrating “White Rose Day on 10 June, the anniversary of the birth of James III and VIII in 1688.

At the Battle of Minden on 1 August 1759, Yorkshiremen of the King’s Own Yorkshire Light Infantry’s predecessor the 51st Regiment picked white roses from bushes near to the battlefields as a tribute to their fallen comrades who had died. They stuck the plucked white roses in their coats as a tribute. Yorkshire Day is held on this date each year.

My first visit to York was a few years ago when I stayed there for a few days to visit York Minster and other historic parts of York. Then, too, the Yorkshire Dales have been fascinating to me since I read the James Herriot stories. In 2014 the Tour de France began in Yorkshire. Prince William wore a Yorkshire pin, a stylized Y all in yellow to honor the tour. I wish I could get one of those pins.

Location: 05-F1