Origins of the name

The name Eliott is believed to derive from the village of Eliot in Angus although the Old English form of Elwold also appears in Scotland. Little is known of the early history of Clan Eliott because few records survive. This could be because the Eliott’s Castle Stobs was burned down in 1712.

Legend has it that the extra “t” in Eliott arose when a branch of the Eliotts adopted Christianity. The t was in reality meant to be a cross. The differences in spelling can be distinguished in this rhyme:

The double L and single T
Descent from Minto and Wolflee,
The double T and single L
Mark the old race in Stobs that dwell.
The single L and single T
The Eliots of St Germains be,
But double T and double L,
Who they are nobody can tell.

Robert Bell in “The Book of Scots-Irish Family Names” adds: “For double L and double T, the Scots should look across the sea!” He pointed out that 71 of 76 births of children by that name in Ireland in 1890 spelt it “Elliott.” Elliot(t)s emigrated or were sent to Ireland in the early 17th century after the unification of the English and Scottish crowns. The Elliot(t)s were notorious reivers - cattle thieves - in the Scottish-English border area and, as such, a thorn in the side of both governments. Many settled in county Fermanagh.



14th century & Robert the Bruce

It is known that in the time of King Robert the Bruce that the Clan Eliott who lived in the north in Glenshire moved to Teviotdale in the Scottish Borders. This unusual move was taken in order to protect King Robert the Bruce’s son who was also called Robert. This Robert Bruce had become Lord of Liddesdale. The previous Lord of Liddesdale, William de Soulis was serving life imprisonment for treason.



15th & 16th centuries

The chief of the clan was usually appointed as Captain of Hermitage Castle in Liddesdale. In 1476 the tenth chief of Clan Eliott was Robert Ellot of Redheugh. The Eliotts became famous as one of the great Scottish “riding” clans.

During the Anglo-Scottish Wars in the 16th Century chief Robert died when he led the Clan Eliot in support of King James IV of Scotland at the Battle of Flodden Field in 1513 fighting against the English.

In 1565 Scott of Buccleuch of Clan Scott executed four men from Clan Eliott for cattle rustling.



17th century

Gilbert Eliott of Stobs was made a Baronet of Nova Scotia in 1666. Another Gilbert Elliot, of Minto, was created Baronet in 1700 and made a Lord of Session in 1705.



18th century

Of the chiefs’ direct line, several were distinguished as judges and empire builders. The most famous were Gen. George Augustus Eliott, who as governor of Gibraltar in 1779, conducted the heroic and successful defence of the Rock when it was besieged by Franco-Spanish forces, and Sir Gilbert Elliot-Murray-Kynynmound, 4th Baronet, who was created 1st Earl of Minto: he followed his father into politics and in 1794 was made Viceroy of Corsica. In 1807, Lord Minto was appointed Governor General of India.



19th century

His great-grandson, Gilbert Elliot-Murray-Kynynmound, 4th Earl of Minto (1845-1914), is remembered in the sporting world for having broken his neck riding in the Grand National. The mishap had no permanent effects and he was Governor-General of Canada before succeeding Lord Curzon as Viceroy of India in 1905. He was the chief architect of the Morley-Minto Reforms, regarded as dangerously radical in some circles at the time though, as it turned out, insufficient to stem the tide of Indian unrest.



Clan castle

The seat of the Earl of Minto is Minto House, in Hawick, and of the Eliot of Stobs, chief of the clan at Redheugh.



Clan profile

The crest badge used by clan members consists of a crest encircled by a strap and buckle containing a motto. The crest is a raised fist holding a sword, while the motto is FORTITER ET RECTE (translation from Latin: “With strength and right”).

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