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Clan Eliott

Clan Eliott is a Scottish chiefly family historically associated with the Borders region.


The origins of the Elliott family are very obscure, even by the standards of recorded individuals in medieval Scotland. <ref>George Way of Plean and Romilly Squire, Scottish Clan and Family Encyclopedia, 128</ref> They appear suddenly as a clan with a chief in the late fifteenth century. <ref>Plean, Squire, Encyclopedia, 128</ref> The lack of information has been attributed to the destruction of the castle at Stobs, which belonged to the chief branch of the family, in 1712, when many documents were destroyed. <ref>Plean, Squire, Encyclopedia, 128</ref>

Traditionally, the family came from Angus at the foot of Glenshie and moved to Teviotdale at the time of King Robert the Bruce. <ref>Plean, Squire, Encyclopedia, 128</ref> It is true that to move from the north to the Borders, as suggested by the Eliott tradition, would be considered as exceptional. <ref>Plean, Squire, Encyclopedia, 128</ref> However, in 1320 an event of some note took place in Liddlesdale which might lend credence to this tradition.<ref>Plean, Squire, Encyclopedia, 128</ref>

In that year, William de Soulis, one of the most powerful nobles in Scotland, whose family had for nearly two hundred years held the Lordship of Liddesdale, was convicted of treason against Robert the Bruce and imprisoned for life. All his lands were forfeited.<ref>Plean, Squire, Encyclopedia, 128</ref> Two years later Liddesdale, together with the great Borders fortress of Hermitage Castle, was made over to Bruce's illegitimate son, Robert.<ref>Plean, Squire, Encyclopedia, 128</ref> On the occasion of so sudden and dramatic a change in the lordship, it would scarcely be remarkable for Bruce to ensure his hold on the strategically important frontier region by encouraging the settlement of a loyal and tested clan - such as the Ellots - in the district.<ref>Plean, Squire, Encyclopedia, 128</ref>

Later Middle Ages

It is known from a Berwickshire pedigree that Ellot of Redheugh was living in the early 1400s.<ref>Plean, Squire, Encyclopedia, 128</ref> John Elwalde from Teviotdale is recorded in 1426.<ref>Plean, Squire, Encyclopedia, 128</ref>Robert Ellot of Redheugh appears as the tenth chief in 1476, and from that time the formal history of the clan can be said to have begun. In 1470 he built a strong tower on a cliff overlooking the ford on Hermitage Water. This was one of about one hundred strong towers belonging to the Ellots which were dotted around Liddesdale, which they shared with Clan Armstrong another of the great Borders riding clans. <ref>Plean, Squire, Encyclopedia, 129</ref> The Elliots fought at the Battle of Flodden and Robert, the thirteenth chief was killed along with James IV and many others.<ref>Plean, Squire, Encyclopedia, 129</ref>



In 1565 a deadly feud developed between the Ellots and their neighbours, the Scotts.<ref>Plean, Squire, Encyclopedia, 129</ref> Scott of Buccleuch, ancestor of the present duke, executed four Ellots for cattle stealing. In revenge three hundred Ellots attacked the Scotts, although terms were later agreed. Next, the Ellots came into conflict with James Hepburn, Earl of Bothwell and future husband of Mary, Queen of Scots. In a skirmish around Hermitage Castle Bothwell was wounded, and in reprisal a royal force of nearly four thousand men devastated the lands of the Ellots and their neighbours in 1569. <ref>Plean, Squire, Encyclopedia, 129</ref>

Seventeenth Century

The Union of the Crowns in 1603 marked the beginning of the end for the border reivers. There were many summary executions, and around this period many Borderers accepted the offer of a new life in Ulster during the Plantation.<ref>Plean, Squire, Encyclopedia, 129</ref> Robert Eliott of Redheugh went into exile in Fife, leaving his lands in Liddesdale.<ref>Plean, Squire, Encyclopedia, 129</ref> It was around the 1650s that the 'i' was introduced into the name of Ellot.<ref>Plean, Squire, Encyclopedia, 129</ref> Sir Gilbert Eliott of Stobs became chief in 1673. He was created a Baronet of Nova Scotia by Charles II in December 1666. <ref>Plean, Squire, Encyclopedia, 129</ref>

Eighteenth Century

The third Baronet remodelled the old Tower of Stobs into a mansion house around 1764, although it was subsequently rebuilt after a fire.<ref>Plean, Squire, Encyclopedia, 129</ref> His second son, Augustus, was a distinguished soldier who was rewarded for his spirited defence of Gibraltar in 1782 with a peerage. He was created Lord Heathfield, but this title became extinct within one generation. <ref>Plean, Squire, Encyclopedia, 129</ref>

Eliott of Minto

Another branch of the chiefly family acquired the lands of Minto in 1703. This line has produced some persons of distinction, and were created baronets in 1700. Sir Gilbert Eliott of Minto was a diplomat who served first in Corsica, then in Vienna, finally becoming Governor General of Bengal. He returned from India in 1813 to be created Earl of Minto and Viscount Melgund. <ref>Plean, Squire, Encyclopedia, 129</ref> The present Earl of Minto is prominent in local government in the Borders, although the magnificent mansion house of Minto has had to be demolished. <ref>Plean, Squire, Encyclopedia, 129</ref> The estate of Stobs also passed from family hands at the turn of this century. For a time the chiefs resided in America, but in 1932 the tenth Baronet reclaimed the ancient holding of Redheugh where he died in 1958.<ref>Plean, Squire, Encyclopedia, 129</ref> The present chief is the daughter of Sir Arthur Eliott, eleventh Baronet and twenty-eighth chief. There being no bar to female succession to a Scottish chiefship, she assumed her father's seat on the Council of Chiefs, but the baronetcy passed to a male heir.


The present chief is Madam Margaret Eliott of Redheugh. <ref>http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/this-britain/all-hail-the-chiefs-the-unlikely-leaders-of-scotlands-modern-clans-1749291.html</ref> She is an active clan chief.

Margaret Eliott of Redheugh

There is an Eliott Clan Society: http://www.elliotclan.com/