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A society dedicated to promoting awareness of the continuing importance of the 92 historic (or traditional) Counties of the United Kingdom.

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The new Sutherland Flag with a Sutherland border sign. Courtesy of Phillip Tibbetts.

New Flags for Sutherland and East Lothian

Sutherland and East Lothian have become the latest counties in Scotland to have flags registered by the Flag Institute. Both flags were adopted following a public vote.

The Sutherland flag was unveiled at a ceremony hosted by the Lord Lieutenant of Sutherland at Highland Council’s offices in Drummuie, Golspie and attended by representatives of HMS Sutherland, local veterans and pipers from Sutherland Schools Pipe Band. The design represents Sutherland’s unique position as the historic mainland frontier between Scotland and the Vikings. The sun at the centre of the two crosses represents the sun at its highest in the South and thus the origins of the county’s name as the Viking’s ‘South Land’. The colours were inspired by those of the former Sutherland County Council.

The Sutherland flag being hoisted by sailors from HMS Sutherland. Courtesy of British County Flags.

The East Lothian flag was revealed on December 13th 2018 at a reception hosted by the Lord Provost. The design was created by local man, Archie Martin, who sadly passed away before the competitions’ conclusion. The design features a voided saltire in reference to East Lothian being the legendary birthplace of the Scottish national flag, at Athelstaneford. The blue colour recalls the Scottish saltire and the Rivers Esk and Tyne. The gold colour recalls the county’s reputation as the granary of Scotland. In the centre of the design, on a voided lozenge, is a golden lion rampant. This serves as a link to the civic arms of the county, in turn inspired by the arms of the Earls of Dunbar representing the mediaeval history of the county.

Lord Lyon Joseph Morrow, left, presenting the flag with East Lothian Lord Lieutenant Michael Williams. Courtesy of British County Flags.

This brings the total number of Scottish counties with registered flags to six (along with Orkney, Shetland, Kirkcudbrightshire and Caithness). This compares to 43 counties in England and Wales now with registered flags.  The process in Scotland, however, is more complicated with all heraldic flags coming under the legal jurisdiction of the Lord Lyon King of Arms. We can, however, expect further Scottish county flags to be registered in the next few years, especially following the appointment of the Flag Institute’s Community Vexillologist Phillip Tibbetts as an honorary vexillologist to the Court of the Lord Lyon. Many thanks are due to him and all those involved in the design and registration of these latest county flags. ABC hopes that these flags will become familiar symbols of county pride within their counties.

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