Flags & Definitions


Barra Flag real
The Barra Flag 
We are delighted to confirm that the Barra flag has been granted official recognition from the Lyon Court. The Barra flag resembles a Nordic cross, symbolic of 500 years of Viking rule.  The green and white colors reflect the island's Catholic heritage.
The name of the island of Barra comes from Finnbarr, otherwise known as St. Barr, who is the patron saint of the island.  Barra and  its islands are now predominantly Catholic in their religious  belief.  The Catholicism of Barra is closer to the earlier Celtic church than to any of the later branches of Christianity.  The patron saints of these isles, like St. Barr, have more in common with the myths and legends of the Gaelic people than they do with the establishment of Rome. St. Barr, a county Cork man, is said to have sailed from Ireland to form the first church on the island.  After he left, and despite being approached by other churches, the people remained faithful to St. Barr's teaching.


St Andrew Flag
The Scottish Flag

The Scottish flag is the cross of St. Andrew, also known as the Saltire.  It is said to be one of the oldest national flags of any country, dating back at least to the 12th century.

Tradition suggests that St. Andrew (an apostle of Jesus in the Christian religion) was put to death by the Romans in Greece by being pinned to a cross of this shape.
The flag of the United Kingdom - known as the the Union Flag or Union Jack - is made up from the flags of Scotland, England (the Cross of Saint George) and Ireland (the Cross of Saint Patrick).


Rampant Lion real flag
Royal Flag of Scotland

There is a second flag which is associated with Scotland, the "Lion Rampant", or Royal Flag of Scotland.  Although based on an older Scottish flag than the St. Andrew's Cross, 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 Lion Rampant flag flies over the offices of the Secretary of State for Scotland (who is the representative of the U.K. government in Scotland); that is 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 Lion Rampant flag as "a mark of loyalty" because of the forthcoming Jubilee celebrations.  The Lord Lyon officially now takes the view that this permission "related to decorative ebullition", that is, it is permissible to wave the flag at football matches.  It is however not allowable to fly the flag without permission, on a flag-pole or from a building.  The Lord Lyon once threatened the town councilors of Cumbernauld with an Act passed in 1679 which prescribed the death penalty for misuse-use of the royal arms.




A clan is a social group made up of a number of distinct branch-families that actually descended from, or accepted themselves as descendants of, a common ancestor. The word clan means simply children. The idea of the clan as a community is necessarily based around this idea of heredity and is most often ruled according to a patriarchal structure. For instance, the clan chief represented the hereditary "parent" of the entire clan. The most prominent example of this form of society is the Scottish Clan system.

Mac, Mc Prefix

Scottish and Irish patronymic surnames frequently have the prefix Mac or Mc. When these surnames were originally developed, they were formed by adding the Gaelic wordmac, which means son of, to the name of the original bearer's father. For example, the surname MacDougall literally means son of Dougal. In later times, these prefixes were also added to the occupation or nickname of the bearer's father. For example, MacWard means son of the bard and MacDowell means son of the black stranger.


The Picts were a mysterious warrior people of ancient Britain. According to tradition, the Picts migrated from the shores of Brittany around the 15th century BC. They sailed northward to Ireland, but were refused permission to settle there by the ancient kings of that land. However, the Picts were granted permission to settle in the northeastern part of Scotland on the condition that each Pictish king marry an Irish princess, thus providing the Irish with a colony whose rulers were of royal Irish blood. This Pictish settlement was ruled by a matriarchal hierarchy unlike any other form of government in British history.


     In the Middle Ages, the most common geographical divisions in Scotland were rendered by counties. In the modern era, however, Scotland is divided into regions, and subdivided into counties. The following are a list of the modern regions of Scotland, and the ancient counties which are located within them.


The Boernicians, who were a mixture of Scottish Picts, Angles, and Vikings, were one of the ancient clans of the Scottish-English borderlands. Considered to be the ancient founding peoples of the north, the Boernicians inhabited the tract of rugged territory that stretches from Carlisle in the west to Berwick in the east. In the 4th century,Scotland was composed of five different kingdoms, which were each home to a different race: the Gaels, Vikings, Picts, Britons, and Angles all held land, each had their own realm.

 The Vikings

 The Vikings, a Scandinavian people of astounding vitality, first began their invasion of Scotland in 794. However, the first wave of mass Viking migration occurred around 888, when King Harold of Norway defeated an unruly faction of northern clans who then abandoned their homeland. In search of a new place to live, they migrated to the sea-swept Orkney Islands in the north of Scotland under the leadership of their chief, Earl Sigurd. This settlement was permitted by the Scottish king and the kings of theIsle of Man, who allowed the Viking exiles to make their homes in the Orkney and Shetland Islands in return for a payment of 20,000 shillings.

 Mary Queen of Scots

Many people wonder which spelling of this Scottish name is the older. The quick answer is Stewart. The line of Stewart monarchs of Scotland began in 1371, descending from the union of Marjorie, daughter of King Robert the Bruce and Walter, the 6th High Steward of Scotland. Mary, Queen of Scots was born in 1542, a few days later her father died and she became infant Queen of Scotland.

 A Brief History

 The long history of the lands of the northern third of Great Britain has been violent and often tragic. The castles and ruins, the songs and the legends tell Scotland's tale. It is the harshness of its history and the ruggedness of its land that have shaped its proud inhabitants. How the country came to be, and evolved, has long taxed the minds of many historians.