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The Saltire Flag of Scotland

The flag shown on the left of this page represents the Cross of Saint Andrew against a blue background. Saint Andrew was Christ's first missionary, and when condemned to death by the Romans in 60AD, chose this form of cross (the story goes) as he saw himself as being unworthy of a cross of the same type as that on which Jesus had been crucified.

In the 8th Century, Saint Rule (Saint Regulus) experienced a vision in which he was told to take certain of Saint Andrew's bones to the most westerly part of the known world. (Fife !). He came ashore with the relics at a place called Kilrymont, which through its saintly associations became known as Saint Andrew's.

Some years later, in 832AD an army of Pictish soldiers, led by Angus mac Feargus (High King of Alba), along with some Scots under Eochaidh (King of Dalriada), were in East Lothian surrounded by a superior (or so they thought) army of Angles, with the Nurthumbrian warrior Athelstan at their head. King Angus, seeing their predicament, thought prayer worthwhile. Apparently as a result of this, white clouds in the blue sky above them formed the shape of the saltire. Angus promised that if they won the day with Saint Andrew's help, he would be adopted as Scotland's patron saint. The Picts and Scots were victorious, and from that day, the Saltire became the flag of Scotland (and possibly the oldest in use in Europe and the Commonwealth).

On 8 June 1999, the U.K. Post Office issued four new stamps for Scotland, the "2nd class" (19p) one of which showed the Saltire.

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