Devon Day (Saint Petroc’s Day) Date in the current year: June 4, 2024

Devon Day (Saint Petroc’s Day) Many historic counties of England have a holiday that celebrates their cultural heritage. Some of these county days are the feast days of patron saints of particular counties. For example, Devon Day coincides with the observance of the feast day of Saint Petroc, which occurs on June 4.

Devon (Devonshire) is a ceremonial and non-metropolitan county in South West England, bordered by Cornwall, Dorset, and Somerset. The name “Devon” is derived from Dumnonia, the Roman name for a Celtic kingdom that was situated in the area of modern Devon and Cornwall, and also included parts of Somerset and Dorset.

The Anglo-Saxons began to settle in the area around the 7th century. In the 9th and 10th centuries, Devon repeatedly defeated Viking raiders, but it couldn’t resist the Norman conquest for long. Devon’s capital of Exeter fell to the troops of William the Conqueror after an 18-day siege, allowing the new king to enter upon honorable terms.

During the Middle Ages and the early modern period, Devon was home to a number of anticlerical movements. The county also featured in major civil conflicts in England, including the Wars of the Roses, Perkin Warbeck’s uprising, the Prayer Book Revolt, the English Civil War, the Monmouth Rebellion, and the Glorious Revolution.

For a long time, the economy of Devon relied on tin and copper mining, as well as fishing. Since the 19th century, agriculture and tourism have been important for the county’s economy as well. Thanks to their mild climate, picturesque landscapes, sandy beaches, national parks and other recreational and leisure attractions, the resort towns along Devon’s south coast are collectively known as the English Riviera.

The patron saint of Devon is Saint Petroc (also spelled Petrock). He was a British prince who was born in South Wales in the mid-5th century. He studied in Ireland, then made a pilgrimage to Rome and returned to Britain, where he preached in the kingdom of Dumnonia, which, as we’ve already mentioned above, included present-day Cornwall and Devon, as well as parts of Dorset and Somerset.

Although the major shrine of Saint Petroc is located in Cornwall, where he is as popular as in Devon, Devon has far more church dedications to Saint Petroc than Cornwall. Besides, the primary patron saint of Cornwall is Saint Piran and not Saint Petroc. Because of this, it was decided to dedicate the flag of Devon to Saint Petroc.

The subject of the Devon flag — or, more precisely, a lack thereof — first came up during an interview with a local Scout group on BBC Radio Devon in 2002. The station asked the public to submit their designs and ran two online poll to choose the winner. The winning design, created by Ryan Sealey, had a white cross outlined in black on a green background. In 2006, the Devon County Council officially recognized the flag by raising it outside County Hall.

Since the flag of Devon is dedicated to Saint Petroc (hence its alternative name, St Petroc’s Cross), Devon Day coincides with the saint’s feast day. It is marked by various events celebrating the history and culture of Devon.

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Devon Day in England, Saint Petroc’s Day, religious observances, holidays in the UK, county days in England