Saturday, 13 February 2016

Athelstaneford, East Lothian, Scotland

Athelstaneford is a village in East Lothian, Scotland. An amateur video is at the foot of this page. It is near the town of Haddington and lies about 20 miles east of Edinburgh.

According to popular legend, Athelstaneford is where the original Scottish saltire - the white diagonal cross on a sky blue background - was first adopted.

On the eve of a battle between an army of the Picts and invading Angles from Northumbria in 832AD, Saint Andrew, who was crucified on a diagonal cross, came to the Pictish King Óengus II in a vision promising victory. The next morning the Picts saw a white cross formed by clouds in the sky.

They won the battle and attributed their victory to the blessing of Saint Andrew, adopting his form of the cross as their flag, and naming him as their patron saint.

The leader of the retreating Angles, "Athelstan", was slain at a nearby river crossing, hence the name Athelstaneford.

There are several versions of the tale, of which this is one of the more popular. Whatever the truth, the legend has cemented Athelstaneford's place in Scotland's history.