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The Two Flags of Scotland

The Saltire and the Lion Rampant

The Saltire

Saltire Flag of Scotland

The Flag of Scotland, also known as the Saint Andrew's Cross or The Saltire, is the national flag of Scotland. The Saltire differs from the Lion Rampant (Royal Standard of Scotland) in that it is the Saltire that is the correct flag for all individuals and corporate bodies to fly in order to demonstrate both their loyalty and Scottish nationality. It is also, where possible, flown from Scottish Government buildings every day from 8am until sunset. According to legend, the Christian apostle and martyr Saint Andrew, the patron saint of Scotland, was crucified on an X-shaped cross at Patras,, in Achaea. Use of the familiar iconography of his martyrdom, showing the apostle bound to an X-shaped cross, first appears in the Kingdom of Scotland in 1180, during the reign of William I. This image was again depicted on seals used during the late 13th century; including on one particular example used by the Guardians of Scotland, dated 1286.


The Lion Rampant

lion rampant flag Scotland

There is a second flag which is proudly flown in Scotland, the "Rampant Lion", or Royal Standard of Scotland. Although based on a Scottish flag that is older than than the St. Andrew's Cross (which the Saltire is based on), it should, strictly speaking, now only be used by the monarch in relation to her capacity as Queen in Scotland. However, it is widely used as a second national flag.

The Rampant Lion flag flies over the offices of the Secretary of State for Scotland at Dover House in London and New St Andrew's House in Edinburgh.

King George V signed a Royal Warrant in 1934 allowing the use of the Rampant Lion flag as "a mark of loyalty" because of the forthcoming Jubilee celebrations. The Lord Lyon now takes the view that this permission "related to decorative ebullition", makes it permissible to wave the flag at sporting events. However, it is not permissible to fly the Lion Rampant flag on a flag-pole or from a building unless permission has been granted.

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Battle of Stirling by William Sinclair To Scotland's ancient realm, Proud Edward's armies came; To sap our freedom and overwhelm Our martial forces in shame. 'It shall not be' brave Wallace cried! 'It shall not be' his chiefs relied! By the name our fathers gave her, Our steel shall drink the crimson stream, We'll all her dearest right redeem, Our own broadswords shall save her. With hopes of triumph flush'd, The squadrons hurried o'er Thy Bridge Kildean, and heaving rush'd Like wild waves to the shore. 'They come, they come' was the gallant cry, 'They come, they come' was the loud reply. O strength thou gracious giver, By love and freedoms stainless faith, We'll dare the darkest night of death, We'll drive them back forever. All o'er the waving broom, In chivalry and grace, Shone England's radiant spear and plume By Stirling's rocky base. And stretching far beneath the view, Proud Cressingham, thy banners flew. When like a torrent rushing, O God! from right and left the flame, Of Scottish swords like lightning came, Great Edward's legions crushing. High praise, ye gallant band, Who in the face of day, With daring hearts and fearless hands Have cast your chains away. The foemen fell on ev'ry side, In crimson hues the Forth was dyed. Bedew'd with blood the heather, While cries triumphant shook the air, Thus shall we do, shall we dare, Wherever Scotsmen gather.
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