As Scots, and to All our clan and family from wherever you may hail, here is wishing you a happy St Andrews Day, and we hope you enjoy it and for all those in Scotland, the national holiday that comes with it.
We are further waiting, as a Society, on some great news regarding one of our own, which will be clarified today. More to come……
St Andrew is not only the Patron Saint of Scotland, but is revered by many other countries. He is the disciple, the fisherman from Gallilee who, in the New Testament, introduced his brother, the Apostle Simon Peter, to Jesus as the Messiah.
As Christ’s first disciple, he was mentioned as the patron Saint of Scotland in the mid 10th century although records suggest that he was recognised as such before then.
Although there were over 600 pre-reformation churches in England named after St Andrew, it was the Scots who claimed him as their own. In fact in the Declaration of Arbroath sent to the Pope in 1320 and putting forward the case for Scottish independence, it cites Scotland’s conversion to Christianity by St Andrew ‘the first to be an Apostle’.
Interestingly this was the same year that Thomas Carruthers, 1st of Mouswald, son of John Carruthers, 3rd of Carruthers, received his charter of lands from Robert the Bruce and started that chiefly line, which finished in 1548, leading to the House of Holmains, in fact John the 5th of Holmains becoming Chief of the clan.
Since 1320, St Andrew has become tied up in so much of Scotland; the flag of Scotland, the St Andrew’s cross, was chosen in honour of him and the ancient town of St Andrews was named after him, due to its claim of being the final resting place of the Saint.
With so many different connections to our country, it’s worth considering how he came to be so important to Scotland. The answer is surprisingly simple, and sums up some of the most prominent characteristics that you can find in Scots both at home and abroad. When we talk of him today, we specifically look at the traits that made him so saintly (figuratively and, later, literally).
St Andrew has struck a chord with the Scots for thousands of years and to this day and anyone who has visited Scotland can vouch that his spirit is still alive here today. If you’re lost, there’s always someone there happy to point you in the right direction. In fact, Scotland is known around the world for its incredibly warm welcome and friendliness. It’s one of the many things that keeps people coming back to visit.
It is stated that his relics were brought by divine guidance from Constantinople to where the town of St Andrews (Latin: S. Andrea(s); Scots: Saunt Aundraes; Scottish Gaelic: Cill Rìmhinn), located on the west coast of Fife, Scotland. It is the home of one of Scotland’s oldest universities, and the third oldest in the English speaking world. There has been an important church located in St Andrews since at least the 747 AD, founded it was suggested by the pictish King Óengus mac Fergusa, when it was mentioned in the Annals of Tigernach, and a bishopric since at least the 11th century.
According to ancient and importantly existing manuscripts, these relics were carried by Óengus, to the Scottish shores in the middle 700’s. However other legends state that it was St Regulas who brought the relics to Kilrymont, where a shrine was established for their safekeeping and veneration while Kilrymont was renamed to St Andrews, in honour of the saint.
Again history suggests that it was Óengus’s son, King Óengus II who led a Scottish army against the Angles led by Athelstan, near Athelstaneford in East Lothian but that, according to legend. The king prayed that if he won the battle against a greater foe, being well outnumbered, he would appoint St Andrew Patron Saint of Scotland.
The next morning, legend suggests that the clouds formed as a saltire on an azure background, which was taken as representing the ‘crux decussata” or crucifixion on a cross as an X. This emboldened the Scots who took the day in victory. St Andrew was made Parton Saint from that day forth. The white saltire on a blue background has been the flag of the peoples of Scotland ever since, and is reputedly the oldest national flag in the world. However, there is now evidence it seems that he was venerated in parts of Scotland prior to this.
As an aside, in the borderlands from which Carruthers hail, a cross of St Andrew on a fireplace or lintel was believed to keep witches away and prevent them from entering the homes in which they are displayed.
As Carruthers, we are lucky that our records go as far back as documentation can prove and we know we are Scots through and through. The first Carruthers ever mentioned was William de Carruthers, or ‘of’ Carruthers, living in the reign of Alexander II, who made a donation to Newbattle Abbey. We are also aware that our name comes from a region in Annandale, called Carruthers, and we as a clan and family took our name from there.
Even using yDNA sampling, this is only as historically accurate as the surname it is attached to. It otherwise becomes seriously blurred into the mists of time with only a clue at the ethnicity of the individual. Carruthers regularly comes up as Celtic/Brythonic in the main, with the inclusion of other races to include Norse. For this reason, Scottish clans use yDNA sampling to augment the genealogical investigations being carried out by those with the necessary skills to do so.
As a Carruthers, we are extremely proud of our heritage and culture and therefore the celebration of St Andrews day is just another link in the chain linking us to our colourful history in the borderlands of Scotland.