Monday, May 24, 2010

UK Flag Institute Spring Meeting 2010: Part IV

Flag of Wiltshire
Adopted December 1, 2009

The fourth speaker was Mike Prior a native son and longtime resident of Wiltshire. Prior is the key vexillologist responsible for the current Wiltshire County flag.

Wiltshire is due west of London, land locked in the heart of England. Wiltshire's most famous landmark known across the world is Stonehenge.

Wiltshire Coat of Arms
the basis of the flag
Prior to Prior's desire for Wiltshire flag Wiltshire County had no flag.

At the 2010 UK, Flag Institute Spring Meeting, Prior gave an fascinating lecture upon the long drawn out process of creating the Wiltshire flag. It all started five years ago during the Tony Blair administration.

Prior went through a cumbersome and heavily bureaucratic process to fly his own personal Wiltshire flag in his garden. During a holiday trip to Devon, the seed of the Wiltshire flag was planted in his head and sprouted Christmas 2005.

Mike Prior soon discovered that there was no official Wiltshire County flag, except for a city council flag, that was for city council use only. Subsequently he was inspired to create a Wiltshire Flag.

Great Bustard sings happily
in front of
Wiltshire Flag
The architects of the flag were himself and his graphic designer-daughter, Helen. Helen's idea was to include the roundel of six partitions of green and white. Mike was responsible for the green and white bars in the back ground.

The local community office of Wiltshire charged a whopping 195 pounds (over 250 US Dollars) to process the form for flying a personal flag on private property. The town then sent out fliers and notices to neighbors that he was going to fly the flag on his property. Eventually the buzz caught the attention of the local paper, and soon enough, he was getting calls for the purchase of this yet unapproved, personally designed flag for private use.

Mike Prior on the right holding
the Official Wiltshire County Flag
Long story short Prior's desire for a personal flag ended up on national news and soon enough the local MPs got involved and orders around the world for the flag of Wiltshire were abound.

The bird on the flag of Wiltshire is the Great Bustard. This gargantuan native bird to Britain was hunted out of existence in the 1800s. In 2009 a breeding program was celebrating the successful birth of three chicks. Which coincidentally occurred on the second anniversary of the first official flag raising ceremony of the Wiltshire Flag at the county seat in Towbridge.

Although Mike Prior originally intended this banner for his own personal use to fly privately over his garden, the great fates decided otherwise. Back in 2005 little did he know that he was actually dreaming of a flag that was destined to represent half a million people and one of the world's most famous counties renowned for Neolithic architecture: Stonehenge.

If you would like to hear more or purchase an official Wiltshire Flag you can contact Mike Prior at

Wiltshire's most famous landmark flying the Wiltshire County Flag

Visit His Website Here: Mike Prior

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