English Roses: 10 Folklore Facts And Superstitions

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Let’s explore 10 fascinating folklore facts you probably didn’t know about English Roses and the tales that surround them.


English roses, with their captivating beauty and enchanting fragrance, have long been cherished in gardens and folklore across the United Kingdom. These iconic flowers hold a special place in the hearts of many, and their rich history is steeped in fascinating folklore and superstitions.

Things You Didn’t Know About English Rose Folklore and Superstitions

They’ve a symbol of Love and Passion

Forgive us, you probably do know this, but since ancient times, English roses have been revered as symbols of love and passion.

But what you might not know is that according to legend, the Roman goddess of love, Venus, is said to have emerged from the sea amid a bed of roses.

This association with love has continued through the centuries, making roses a popular choice for romantic gestures and declarations of affection.

They had a whole war named after them

One of the most well-known historical connections of English roses is with the Wars of the Roses, a series of civil wars fought in England during the 15th century.

The red rose represented the House of Lancaster, while the white rose symbolized the House of York.

The conflict eventually ended with the union of the two houses and the creation of the Tudor rose, combining both red and white roses into one emblem.

Roses have protective properties

In English folklore, roses were believed to possess protective properties against malevolent spirits and witches.

Hanging dried roses above doorways was thought to ward off evil and bring blessings to the household.

Carrying a rosemary-scented sachet was also believed to protect you from illness and bad luck.

Victorians developed the language of Roses

During the Victorian era, a complex language of flowers, known as floriography, was developed.

Different flowers, including English roses of various colours, conveyed specific messages and emotions.

For example, a red rose signified passionate love, while a yellow rose symbolized friendship.

Rose Pruning Superstitions

Superstitions about pruning roses have existed for centuries.

Some believed that pruning these flowers on New Year’s Day would bring bad luck, while others insisted that it was essential to prune on that day to ensure healthy growth in the coming year.

Regional variations of these beliefs still persist in some parts of the UK.

You can use Roses for medicine

Apart from their ornamental and symbolic value, English roses were also used for their medicinal properties.

Their petals were commonly used in herbal remedies for ailments like digestive issues, skin conditions, and even headaches.

Rosewater, derived from the distillation of rose petals, was a sought-after ingredient in ancient cosmetics and perfumes.

The Rose

Roses and wedding traditions

English roses have been integral to wedding traditions for centuries.

In medieval times, wedding ceremonies often featured garlands of roses, which were worn by the bride and groom as symbols of love and purity.

Today, English roses continue to be popular choices for bridal bouquets, adding timeless elegance to the occasion.

Roses and the Ghost of Borley Rectory

The infamous Borley Rectory, considered one of England’s most haunted houses, was once surrounded by a beautiful rose garden.

The ghost of a nun, believed to be the spirit of a young woman named Marianne Foyster, was frequently seen near the roses.

The tales of Borley Rectory and its ghostly presence have become an enduring part of English folklore.

Roses have inspired much art and literature

English roses have inspired countless poets, writers, and artists throughout history.

From Shakespearean sonnets to contemporary novels, roses have been used as symbols of love, beauty and fleeting moments.

This flower’s allure has left an indelible mark on English literature and continues to be a popular motif in artistic expressions.

Roses are a National Floral Emblem

In 1986, the English rose was officially declared the national floral emblem of England.

Its selection was a nod to the flower’s cultural significance and timeless charm.

Today, you can find English roses proudly displayed in gardens, parks, and public spaces across the country.

English roses stand not only as beautiful flowers but also as carriers of ancient traditions, folktales, and cultural symbols.

Their connection to love, protection, and even the supernatural make them an integral part of English folklore and superstition.

Have we missed anything? Tell us your thoughts about this article in the comments below!


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here