The Wars of the Crusaders were a series of Wars undertaken by people of the Christian Faith for the safe deliverance of the Holy Land.

The feeling and belief at this era was that no work could conduce more to the well-being of the soul than a visit to the Holy Land. To fight on the side of the Crusaders was deemed to be an act of the highest Christian duty.

Legend tells us that a certain Thomas Duthie left Newbigging near Musselburgh as it was known at that time to go and fight on the side of the Crusaders.

To us he was the first Crusader of this town and on his return journey homewards, while passing through Italy, he was struck with the beauty of a monastery called Loretto. When he ultimately arrived home he was granted a Charter by King James V of Scotland in 1533 to build a shrine which he named “Loretto”.

Today in smaller fashion when we of the Crusaders’ Riding Club also go from the town to prove our equestrian skill for qualification as members of this club, let us remember the goodness of the heart and thought of Thomas Duthie.

On behalf of the members I ask the Honest Lad along with his Lass and Attendants to acknowledge this Charter as a token of our support and in silent memory of our first Crusader.

As the chosen Lad for this year, we hope that he enjoys with feeling and pride the honour bestowed upon him. May he be blessed with fair weather, popular support and free from mishaps.

To mark the opening of this week’s festival we unfurl this flag, and call upon all to make light with joy and happiness. Let us welcome the strangers within our midst so that they too may also feel the gladness and goodness within our hearts.

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