Clan Carruthers

Clan Carruthers: The Flags of Scotland

THE SALTIRE- Flag of the people

The Saltire

To a true Scot or to one of Scottish descent, there is nothing more emotive than the national flag of Scotland, stirring to the very heart and soul of everyone who appreciates their Scottish culture and heritage, from wherever they may reside.

The saltire took its rise from 832AD when Angus MacFergus King of the Picts, High King of Alba and the Eochaidh, King of Dalriada, King of the Scots, unified to battle with an army from Northumbria under Athelstan at what was to become Athelstanford in East Lothian, Scotland.  Legend has it that a vision appeared in a dream to the Pictish King, in the form of St Andrew and during prayers for success in the upcoming fight, a white saltire was seen in the sky on the day of the battle. The Saltire became the national flag of Scotland and St Andrew its Patron Saint.

The blue background, officially recognised by the Scottish Parliament as Pantone 300 in 2003, is to represent the sky and the white saltire, the cloud formation seen on the day. The Saltire has never been replaced or changed and is the oldest flag of any coutry in Europe. Even during the time of the Protestant Reformation it was used by the Covenanters and has proudly remained the flag of Scotland to this day. Interestingly it is also suggested by some historians that the azure blue of the Saltire inspired the background of the American ‘Stars and Stripes’.

After the the Union of the Crowns by Scotland’s longest reigning monarch, James VI of Scotland in 1603, a ‘Union’ Flag was produced, now commonly known as the Union Jack or in Canada, the Royal Union Flag. It came in two forms initially one being used in Scotland showing the Saltire as dominant and one used in England defined by the cross of St George over the Saltire. This was rationalised with one flag in 1707 but it wasn’t until the Union of Great Britain and Ireland in 1801 that the Union Flag as we recognise it today, was designed by Royal Proclamation. The flag combined aspects of three older flags: the red cross of St George (England), the white saltire of St Andrew (Scotland) and the red saltire  of St David (Ireland). Wales was not included as it was seen as falling under the flag of St George since the successful invasion of Wales in 1282.

The Saltire is also known as the St Andrews Cross, coming from the Disciple of Jesus of that name as alluded to above. Andrew was a fisherman from Galilee, who was crucified by the Romans for preaching the gospel. Because he felt unworthy of being cricified on the same type of cros as Jesus, he was crucified on an x-shaped cross at Patras, in 69 AD. Some of his remains were carried to Scotland and placed in what was to become, the Cathedral of St Andrews in Fife Scotland. Destroyed during the Scottish Reformation, but 1879 the local Archbishop sent part of the saint’s shoulder blade to the Scottish Roman Catholic community, and Pope Paul VI presented further relics of the Saint in 1969. These are currently on display in St. Mary’s Roman Catholic Cathedral in Edinburgh.

Belonging to ALL the people of Scotland, the Saltire is thus flown with great pride.

THE LION RAMPANT- Royal Standard of Scotland

Lion Rampant

The Royal Standard, also known as the Lion Rampant, dates back to the 13th Century and was first officially used as the Royal Standard by King Alexander II in 1222, with the double border of lillies being introdiced by Alexander III 1249. However records show that the Lion Rampant was also used by William I (the Lion, 1165-1214)  and as far back as Malcolm III (Canmore 1058–1093) .

This flag historically and legally belongs to the King or Queen of Scotland. As there has been no Scottish Monarch since the 17th century, the flag and arms is incorporated into the Royal Standard and Arms of the British Monarch, Queen Elizabeth II.  Although some claim that Carruthers is one of the few families that may fly it legally, this is nonsense in that its correct use is restricted by an Act of the Parliament to only a few Great Officers of State who officially represent the Sovereign in Scotland, the Lord Lyon being one of them.there is also a claim that all those who fly it are descendants of the Scottish King, William the Lion, which is clearly not true.

The term ‘lion rampant’ actually refers to the positioning or attitude of the lion. A rampant lion is shown as a profile of a lion standing upright (on one or both hind legs) and the forelegs are raised, claws unsheathed, as if to strike.

USE – of the Royal Banner

As the personal banner of the Sovereign, use of the Royal Banner of Scotland is restricted under theAct of the Parliament of Scotland, 1672 and any unauthorised use of such is an offence under the Act. In 1978 a St Albans linen merchant, Denis Pamphilon, was fined £100 daily for usurpation of the banner on decorative bedspreads until he desisted, and both Rangers FC and the Scottish National Party (SNP) have been admonished by the Court of the Lord Lyon for their improper and non-authorised use of the banner. Despite such action, the flag continues to feature on a variety of merchandise and souvenirs produced commercially for Scotland’s economically important tourism industry.

In 1934, King George V issued a Royal Warrant authorising use of the Royal Banner of Scotland during the Silver Jubillee celebrations, due to take place the following year. However, such use was restricted to hand-held flags for “decorative ebullition” as a mark of loyalty to the Sovereign; the banner was not to be flown from flagpoles or public buildings. The use of hand-held flags at state occasions, such as the opening of the Scottish Parliament and at sporting events, continues to be authorised by this Royal Warrant as a sign of support for the Crown, although according to former Lord Lyon Robin Blair, in an interview given to the Sunday Post, a Scottish Newspaper, in November 2007, such use at sporting events “was not envisaged in 1935“.

The Royal Banner of Scotland has since 1603 been a component of what is now styled the Royal Standard of the United Kingdom; both that version used exclusively in Scotland and that used elsewhere. It similarly appears in the Royal Standard  of Canada, showing the close relationship of Canda and the Crown, with the Arms of Canada reflecting the royal symbols of England, Scotland, Ireland and France.


Flag of the Chief of Clan Carruthers, reflecting the blazon of his personal arms and therfore, legally and respectfully only to be flown by the chief themselves, usually when in residence or at a gathering.


Clan Carruthers Society WP footnote grey

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.