3, 250-word article on the Scotland’s national flag and Scottish geophysicist James Hutton. The Saltire, the oldest flag in the British Commonwealth, has its origins in a battle which took place at Athelstaneford in East Lothian, some twelve miles east of Edinburgh. In the early ninth century at the site of the village, a large army led by Saxon king Athelstan met a force of Scots/Picts led by King Angus.
Seeing he was outnumbered Angus prayed to St Andrew, and just before the armies clashed a saltire appeared created by clouds which formed a cross against the blue sky. Angus realised this represented the cross on which St Andrew had been crucified, and took it as a sign that his forces would be victorious. With renewed heart, Angus and his men took to battle and a great victory followed.
In addition to being the birthplace of Scotland’s flag, Athelstaneford is home to Scotland’s oldest church, the original having been built in 1176. The village is important academically, too. Sir David Lyndsay, writer of the "Three Estates" was born in nearby Garleton Castle. Adam Skirving (1719-1803) East Garleton Farm, wrote the Lyric: "Hey Johnnie Cope" and the "Ballad of Prestonpans". Two of its Ministers Robert Blair (1730-45) wrote the poem "The Grave" and John Home (1745-57) wrote the dramatic Play: "The Douglas Tragedy".
Athelstaneford also has important links in military history. Sir John Hepburn, born in the village in 1598, founded the First or Royal Scots Regiment, of which he became its Colonel, before being made a Field-Marshal of France in 1636.
James Hutton: The Scot who discovered Time.
On a sunny afternoon in June 1788, Doctor James Hutton and two other gentlemen set off in a small boat near Siccar Point in south-east Scotland. The others were mathematician John Playfair and geophysicist Sir James Hall, and the men were in search of an exposed area of headland that would prove one of the most amazing claims in the history of science — that the earth’s age was beyond means of calculation.