The Hampshire Rose is one of the best known of England’s county symbols
The symbol of the red rose of Hampshire has been in use for several hundred years. It appears as an emblem in various guises throughout the county. It was established enough to be used in Southampton on a 14th-century staple seal and on the seal of the Custos Rotulorum for Hampshire in the period 1625 – 1649.
The rose has been one of the symbols associated with England certainly since the time of King Henry IV,1399 – 1413 who had the red rose of Lancaster as one of his badges and King Edward IV 1413 – 1485 who carried the badge of the white rose. The two roses became commonly used badges after the war that we now refer to as ‘The War of The Roses’, so a bit of a chicken and egg story there.
The first Tudor king King Henry VII 1485 – 1509, used the clever ploy of combining the two roses in what we now call the Tudor Rose, to express the new inclusive nature of his reign, a joining of the houses of York and Lancaster.
Where does the Hampshire Rose fit in with all this?
The royal household of King Henry III used the golden rose of Provence as a badge. It has connections with the crusaders and as such it’s adoption by royal households can be seen as a fitting symbol in many ways. Henry was also known as Henry of Winchester and so an adoption of the rose as the county badge quite possibly originated at this time. The colour of the rose is an issue, the Hampshire rose is a strong pillar box red but with the shape of the Rose of Lancaster and there are many connections between the Duchy of Lancaster and Hampshire. In Hartley Mauditt church the 15th century font has the symbol of the Rose of Lancaster carved upon it.
King Henry V, was the grandson of John of Gaunt, the Duke of Lancaster. A story exists that upon Henry’s victorious return from Agincourt he granted the rose to his Hampshire long bow archers and soldiers to use in recognition of their prowess in the field of battle, is a lovely but entirely speculative tale. It could be that he wanted all his men at arms to carry the same symbol so that they would have been recognizable to each other in the field of battle and that on their return, they were given the honour of retaining the badge. Many of the troops would have been called from the estates in Hampshire where the lords would have had to provide the military assistance as commanded by the king. So the symbol stayed with men from Hampshire. A theory to dwell upon. The Hampshire Regiment has been using the rose as a badge but again the origins of it’s use are unclear.
Enjoy the collection of historic roses, picked on out travels in Hampshire and further afield, which we will continue to add to as we find them. We have used the Hampshire Rose in our own title name, thanks to deejmedia.