Lothian is a traditional region of southern Scotland, subsuming the three counties of East, West and Mid-Lothian. Through the Dark Ages the territory was the focus of Britain’s early warring factions and was in turn possessed by the Picts and the Anglo-Saxons of Northumbria. Ultimately the territory was absorbed by the Gaelic Scottish kingdom, with 973 generally acknowledged as the point at which Lothian came under Scottish control, when the English King Edgar relinquished control of the land. As late as 1091, however, the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle was still describing how the Scottish king, Malcolm,’went with his army out of Scotland into Lothian’ an indication of its continued recognition as a distinct entity.
The name of the territory may be derived from that of a legendary British King Loth or Lot. Another suggestion is that it is associated with Lugus the Celtic God of Light. But whatever its ultimate origin the evidently Celtic name was used even by English chroniclers and in spite of its occasional rule by the Northumbrians. In this earlier period “Lothian” described all the land from the southern shore of the Firth of Forth to the modern English border but since this time signifies the territory up to the Lammermuir Hills.
Appearing in the arms of the Earldom of Lothian
the symbol of a sun has a long association with the region. As noted one theory holds that the name Lothian may derive from the name of the Celtic God of Light, “Lugus”. The association of the sun symbol with the Lothian region was recognised by its later inclusion in the arms of Midlothian County Council
and again in the arms of Lothian Regional Council
The sun symbol,
rare in British heraldry and vexillography, is distinctly representative of the region of Lothian and is a powerful, eye-catching image. Identified by Philip Tibbetts as a distinct local charge, the sun is set against the rich maroon hue which he also recognised is widely found around Lothian. It features as the school colours of the celebrated local educational establishment “George Watson’s college” as seen on the school badge
and its uniform
A maroon and gold colour scheme is also deployed by Lothian buses .
and is the colour of the local Hearts football club
The attractive and striking combination of gold and maroon thus already serves as something of a local livery and in combination they also make a resplendent flag, distinctive yet traditional.