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Restoration and Renewal

The Project

With the passage of time, there has been a gradual deterioration in the fabric of the structures and site. As the birthplace of the Saltire is of national significance, the Trustees consider it essential that the issues are addressed quickly and that fresh investment is made in a programme of restoration and renewal. This will allow the story of Scotland’s flag to be presented to the highest standard and brought to a wider audience for generations to come.

  • The North and East walls are badly weathered and in need of specialist repair. 

  • The plinth of the memorial is crumbling in parts and stained and discoloured. Remodelling the plinth and improving the landscaping will enhance the memorial. 

  • Uneven and rutted paths and difficult steps make accessibility a problem

  • Planning for new pathways

    Make a donation and help restore and renew the birthplace of Scotland's Saltire. 

    Hepburn Dootcot

    The exterior of the building is now weathering badly. The North and East elevations of the building are particularly in need of repair. Specialist conservation work is needed to replace the harling and lime wash the walls in period colours.


    The gravel pathways leading to the Memorial and Heritage Centre have become very uneven and rutted, and steps present a barrier to people with reduced mobility. A new interpretative walkway will be laid to improve access.

    Audio Visual Presentation

    Visitors to the Heritage Centre can enjoy a dramatisation of the 9th C battle. However, the AV equipment is now dated and increasingly prone to breakdown. Replacement using the latest technology will allow a much enhanced immersive experience.

    Saltire Memorial

    The base of the plinth is starting to crumble in parts and it is stained and discoloured. The setting will be enhanced by remodelling, new landscaping and the installation of engraved paving.


    Pathways project

    The gravel pathways leading to the Memorial and Heritage Centre have become very uneven and rutted over time. The steps which are also uneven and worn present a barrier to people with reduced mobility.

    A new resin-bound path will create a smooth and safe path for everyone and make the site easier to access for wheelchair users and people with reduced mobility. Signage guiding people to the viewpoint and flag heritage centre at the back of the kirkyard will also be added along with a new interpretative walkway that will lead people back in time through the history of the saltire. 

    The Saltire Memorial

    Connections with the world project

    The setting for the saltire memorial will be enhanced by remodelling the whole area surrounding the monument. This new space will be used to show Scotland's connections across the globe featuring an interpretation of Scotland's links through the Saint Andrew's societies worldwide. New landscaping, engraved paving, benches and new floodlighting will be installed.

    The Saltire Memorial

    To celebrate Athelstaneford’s significance in the story of Scotland, a striking monument was erected in 1965 commemorating the ancient battle and the birthplace of Scotland’s national flag.

    The Saltire Memorial consists of a massive concrete plinth within which is a granite plaque depicting the two armies beneath the cross of St Andrew in the sky. Attached is a tall flagpole on which the Saltire flies permanently, floodlit at night.

    Royal Scots raise the Saltire at Athelstaneford St Andrew's Day 1965
    The Royal Scots raise the Saltire on St Andrew's Day 1965
    Flag Heritage Centre Athelstaneford
    The Hepburn Doocot housing the Flag Heritage Centre

    The Hepburn Doocot

    Overlooking the battle site is a lectern doocot built in 1583 by George Hepburn whose son, Sir John Hepburn, was the founder and first colonel of the Royal Scots. This famous regiment, the First of has used the Saltire as its emblem since the 17th century. In the 1990s the building was restored and converted into an interpretative centre to allow the historical origins of Scotland’s flag to be brought to a wider audience.

    The building is category B listed and is described as early and well detailed example of the Lectern Doocot in East Lothian. Will situated and with associated historic interest due to its siting. Rare in being restored with lime render and limewash giving it its original appearance.

    Make a donation

    Make a donation and help restore and renew the birthplace of Scotland's Saltire.