The Red Rose Of Lancaster

This ancient red rose, also known as the Red Rose Of Lancashire, is believed to be "Rosa Gallica Officialis", which was understood to be the first cultivated rose. It grew wild in central Asia and was discovered by the Persians and Egyptians. The Romans adopted it and took it to France, where it assumed the name of Rosa Gallica. It Rata Penuhis recorded as being cultivated for the courts of Charlemagne in the ninth Century AD for use in medicine and perfume. Other names have included Apothecary's Rose, Old Red Damask and Rose Of Provins. To our eyes it actually appears more bright pink than red, with bright yellow stamens in the centre. They are highly perfumed and their slightly ruffled petals, even when dried retain much of their scent. It is therefore no surprise that they quickly became popular for international trade, especially for their many herbal and medicinal remedies and their suitability, even today for using in potpourris. They have been just as attractive to bees as they have to ourselves. Their tough and hardy bushes grow to about a metre high and they provide masses of blooms towards the end of June and into July. They can thrive in impoverished soils and enjoy full sun. Although they lose their blooms relatively quickly, they certainly perform abundantly each year, after a session of pruning.

The first time the rose was adopted as an emblem or heraldic device was by the English first Earl Of Lancaster and it became the Lancashire Emblem after the Battle Of Bosworth Field in 1485 during the famous Wars Of The Roses. This was a time when signs and symbols spoke louder than words. When Henry Tudor ascended to the throne of England, it merged with the York White Rose to form the Tudor Rose. York and Lancashire were the two fighting factions during The Wars Of The Roses.

The Wars Of The Roses began in 1399 when Henry Bolingbroke, who was the Earl Of Lancaster, overthrew King Richard 11 from the English throne. It wasn't until Battle of Bosworth Field in 1485 when Henry Tudor defeated the Yorkist leader King Richard 111 and claimed the throne, becoming Henry V11. He cemented his claim by marrying Elizabeth of York, the daughter of King Edward 1V. Thus the two houses of Lancaster and York merged, forming the Tudor Dynasty, which had it's emblem of the Tudor Rose.

In more recent times it was worn as a badge during World War 1 by the British 55th (West Lancashire) Division of the army. Their motto was "They win or die who wear the Rose Of Lancaster." It has also been adopted on the cap badge of the Duke Of Lancaster's Regiment since 2006. The American baseball team adopted the name Lancaster Red Roses in 1906, changing their name from The Maroons. Their rival team York White Roses criticized them for this, but many believed that the two teams were named after the historic Wars Of The Roses in British Tudor times.