The Order of the Thistle

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The Order of the Thistle


Battle, Battle of Largs, Hebrides, heraldry, King Alexander III of Scotland (1241-1286), King Haakon of Norway, King James II of England, King James VII of Scotland, Largs, medieval Scotland, national emblem, Norway, order of knighthood, Order of the Thistle, Scotland, St Andrew, thistle


Explaining the establishment of "The Most Ancient and Most Noble Order of the Thistle” in 1687, this article from the Western Argus first discusses the medieval adoption of the thistle as Scotland’s national emblem. This it dates to the Battle of Largs fought between the Scottish army of Alexander III and the Norwegian army of King Haakon IV in 1263. In an ongoing battle over the territory of the Hebrides, King Haakon of Norway landed on Scottish shores and planned a night attack on the Scottish camp. However, one of his horsemen stepped on a thistle and cried out in pain, giving them away. The article suggests that the Scots adopted the thistle as their national emblem in remembrance of the Battle of Largs. It then links this to the thistle as the emblem of “The Order of the Thistle”, an order of knighthood founded by King James II of England (also King James VII of Scotland) in 1687. The article incorrectly identifies the King of Scotland at the time of the Battle of Largs as Alexander II. King Alexander II had died and was succeeded by his young son, Alexander III, in 1249. Alexander III assumed full powers in 1259 and ruled until his own death in 1286. For more on Alexander III, see Norman H. Reid, ‘Alexander III (1241–1286)’, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, 2004; online edn, Oct 2009 [, accessed 18 Dec 2010]




National Library of Australia


The Western Argus


25 February 1930, p.35


Western Argus, copyright expired


Newspaper Article

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