Tradition has it that the Saltire, Scotland's National flag, originated in a battle fought in East Lothian, near the village of Athelstaneford in the Dark Ages. Today the flag flies proudly all year round from the floodlit Saltire Memorial in Athelstaneford Parish Church to celebrate this special connection. The Flag Heritage Centre at the back of the churchyard tells the story of the Battle of Athelstaneford.
I want to invite anyone and everyone with an interest in our country’s history and culture to support the work of the Trust, and to visit the place which is the birthplace of the Saltire, Scotland’s national flag. I hope to welcome you to East Lothian, and look forward to seeing you in Athelstaneford to enjoy and learn about a unique place in our nation’s story.
It is essential that the memorial to the origins of Scotland's national flag is suitably preserved for posterity. I therefore warmly commend this fundraising campaign to Scots both at home and abroad and indeed to all who have a love of Scotland.
I was delighted to be asked by the Trustees a year or so ago to deliver a lecture on the Saltire within Heraldry. The Saltire is one of the most powerful symbols within heraldry representing our nation of Scotland. I have been privileged to address St Andrews Societies and Highland Games across the world as Lord Lyon, and the diaspora have a tremendous attachment to Scotland’s flag and its birthplace – Athelstaneford.
I was in Athelstaneford in 2016 while filming in East Lothian for a series of STV programmes entitled Hayman’s Way. It was the first time I had visited this historic site, and I was delighted we were able to bring the story of the origins of Scotland’s national flag to a television audience.
The Saltire is a welcoming symbol for all Scots whether they are Scots by birth, by choice or through their family roots. The Saltire memorial and Flag Heritage Centre celebrate the connection Athelstaneford and East Lothian has as the birthplace of the Saltire, Scotland's national flag.
Our new fundraising programme aims to restore and renew this unique visitor attraction so that more people can learn about the history of Scotland’s national flag.