Design Stories – The Thistle

The story begins in the 13th Century, on the west coast of Scotland, which had endured raids by the Norsemen for over 300 years.

The Vikings would row silently in the dead of night. They would place wooden carvings of the heads of hideous creatures on the prows of their boats to scare away the spirits protecting the land, and to strike fear into anyone who witnessed their approach. Landing on a remote beach, a few men would be left to guard the boats, while the rest went reaving. What happened next would be fast, vicious and ruthlessly efficient; a lightning raid, slaughter and mayhem, the rounding up of treasure and slaves, and finally a retreat to their boats before the populous had a chance to take their revenge.

One night, the Danes landed off the coast of Largs, and began to make their way to the closest settlement. The plan was simple – go quietly in the black of night, slit the throats of the men while they slept, and then divide the spoils. It was a hot, dry summer, so the invaders decided to go barefoot to minimise the noise they made as they crept through the long, brittle grass.

Without any kind of lights, or a full moon to light your way, night was inky black and impenetrable. If a man could learn to move by you silently in the dark, you would never know his presence until you felt his breath on your neck.

The attackers grew closer and closer to the settlement, almost within striking range. Unfortunately for them, this was the moment one of their crew stepped on a thistle. His scream of pain raised the alarm. Some of the Vikings made it back to their longboats. The rest were butchered by the alerted Scots.

That was the night the humble thistle was elevated to the national flower of Scotland.

 Our Thistle Designs

The character of the Thistle is summed up pretty well in this little nugget of history – David vs. Goliath – a tiny plant twarting the plans of the mighty Vikings. We’ve tried to capture that spirit of defiance in our designs. Our thistle is a character with a little bit of an attitude.

Thistle pendant on candlestick

Thistle Necklace – Sterling Silver

Thistle earrings on glass

Thistle Earrings – Sterling Silver