The Flag of Scotland, called The Saltire or St Andrew’s Cross, is a blue field with a white saltire; according to tradition, it represents Saint Andrew, who is supposed to have been crucified on a cross of that form (called a crux decussata) at Patras.


It is the oldest continuously used sovereign flag in the world, having been in use since AD 832.

According to legend, it was round about this time that Kenneth I, also called MacAlpin, became the the founder and first king of Scotland.


About 834 he succeeded his father, Alpin (reigned about 832-34), as king of the Gaelic Scots in Galloway. In a series of battles (841-46) he conquered the Pictish Kingdom and,
uniting it with his own, called his expanded domains Scotland. The kingdom is sometimes called Scone, after Kenneth’s capital.

ImageScone Palace

The Hill of Credulity became known as the Moot Hill and it was to here that Kenneth MacAlpin, the first King of Scotland, brought the Stone of Destiny, or Stone of Scone, in 843.

ImageReplica of the Stone of Scone

The Stone of Scone was believed to have been Jacob’s pillow when he saw the angels of Bethel. It had been brought to the Scottish holy island of Iona by St Columba in the 6th century. In bringing it to Scone, Kenneth MacAlpin signalled the unification of the kingdoms of the Picts and the Scots under one crown. In later years, the king led six invasions of Lothian, southern Scotland, then part of Saxon Northumbria.

The Saltire became part of the Union Flag following the Union of the Crowns of England and Scotland in 1603.

union jack 1606

The image shows how the flags of England and Scotland were combined to form the Union Flag of 1606: and then with the flag of Ireland (below)

st patrick saltire

to form the 1801 Union Flag.


What’s the history of your flag – real or legendary?



The Man Who Wept Blood. A female sleuth is hired by her ex-lover who has a secret.



One thought on “The oldest flag still in use

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