The Beginnings of the Scotish Thistle

Scottish Thistle

Scotland adopted the thistle during the rein of Alexander III (1249 -1286)
Legend has it that an Army of King Haakon of Norway, intent on conquering the Scots landed at the Coast of Largs at night
to surprise the sleeping Scottish Clansmen. In order to move more stealthily under the cover of darkness the Norsemen removed
their footwear.
As they drew nearer one of Haakon's men stood on one of these spiny little devils and the and the defenders cried out in pain which of course alerted 
the Clansmen of the advancing Norsemen. The Scots were the ones to end up winning the battle.
It wasn't until 1470 that James III used this symbol by stamping the thistle onto silver coins

Much later in 1540 the Order of the Thistle was founded by King James V who being honoured with the order of the Garter from his uncle King Henry VIII of England and with the Goldern Fleece from the Emperor, and the order of St Michael from France, resolved to be in the royal mode, and so made the order of the Thistle for himself and twelve knights, in imitation of Christ and his twelve apostles. Then celebrating all the festivals of the orders, he set up their arms and badges over the gate of his palace at Linlithgow, joining St. Andrew with them.
The common badge (shown below) worn by the knights are, a cross surmounted by a star of four silver points, and over them a green circle bordered and lettered with gold, containing the motto "Nemo me impune lacessit", "No-one harms me without punishment" but more commonly translated in Scots as as "Wha daurs meddle wi me". and in the centre is a thistle , the whole being embroidered on the left breast.

Founder knights; 1687 Creation

  1. James, Earl of Perth; went into exile with James in 1688, died in France 1716
  2. George, Duke of Gordon; exiled in 1689 but returned home and pardoned, included in the 1703 revival by Anne, died 1716
  3. John, Marquis of Atholl; reconciled with new regime in 1689, died 1703
  4. James, Earl of Arran; confirmed in his titles by William III in 1698, heavily involved in the disastrous Darien Scheme, abstained from the vote passing the 1707 Acts of Union, killed in a famous duel with Lord Mohun, 1712
  5. Kenneth, Earl of Seaforth; imprisoned after 1688, released in 1696 and moved to Paris, died 1701
  6. John, Earl of Melfort; went into exile with James in 1688, died in France 1714
  7. George, Earl of Dumbarton; went into exile with James in 1688, died in France 1692
  8. Alexander, Earl of Moray; lost office after 1688, died at home 1701