In 1977, the Elliot Clan Society was formed by the Clan’s late hereditary Chief, Sir Arthur Eliott, 11th Baronet of Stobs and Laird of Redheugh, the ancient seat of the Clan Chiefs.
Our present Chief is Sir Arthur’s daughter, Margaret Eliott of Redheugh, the 29th Elliot Clan Chief.
The primary purposes of this Society, which is headquartered in Redheugh, are to preserve the history and traditions of the Clan, and to promote a spirit of kinship among its members. In the words of Sir Arthur, “the tie is essentially a family one, transcending national boundaries and disregarding distinctions of age, sex, wealth or status. Thus our Clan Society is more than a club and more even than what is generally understood by a ‘Society’. It is above all, a family association and has been formed for those of us who feel that this ancient tie is of special interest and value to our modern world.”
The Elliots have existed as a Clan with a recognized Chief at least from the time of King Robert the Bruce (1306-1329) to the present day. Before the Union of the Crowns in 1603, they held that part of the frontier with England known as “The Middle March” — their Chief usually being appointed Captain of Hermitage Castle in Liddesdale, and they became famous as one of the great “riding” clans of the Scottish borders.
Later the Elliots were notable for the part they played as leaders in the expansion of Britain overseas, and in the settlement of the New World, where their independence of character for which the Clan has always been renowned, made them particularly welcome. In the modern world, the Elliots have prospered and the Clan is now widely spread throughout the world.
The Scottish tongue is unique and easily identifiable, yet accents and dialects can vary from region to region. For a sense of the accent and dialect from the Borders region of Scotland, listen to a short interview with Walter Elliot.
From “Scotland and Her Tartans”
The Elliots, with the Armstrongs, were the most troublesome of the great Scottish Border families in the Middle Ages, the Redheugh branch being regarded as the most influential of them.
Robert Elwold (or Elliot) of Redheugh fell at the Battle of Flodden in 1513, and from his third son came the Elliots of Arkleton.
The Stobs branch stems from 1584, and to it descended the Redheugh lands. Gilbert Elliot of Stobs (1651-1718), known as “Gibbie with the Golden Garters”, was convicted of high treason in 1685 for plotting against the Catholic Duke of York, but was pardoned, and after the accession of William of Orange in 1689 he was knighted, appointed Clerk to the Privy Council, made a judge, and created Lord Minto.
His son Gilbert (1693-1766), Lord Justice Clerk of Scotland, was the father of the talented Jane Elliot of Minto (1727-1805), author of the best version of all of the traditional song The Flowers of the Forest, commemorating the Battle of Flodden in 1513.
This line also produced Gilbert (1751-1814), 1st Earl of Minto, Governor-General of India 1806-13, and Gilbert (1847-1914), 4th Earl, Governor-General of Canada 1898-1904 and Viceroy of India 1905-10.
The headship of the family resides with descendants of the 1st Baronet of Stobs, grandson of “Gibbie” by his fourth son.” Excerpt from “Scotland and her Tartans” by Alexander Fulton (c) 1991 CLB Publishing, Godalming, Surrey, England
From “Scottish Clans and Tartans”
The Elliots were a famous, indeed notorious, Border clan, like the Armstrongs. Their territory was around Upper Liddesdale, where they conducted their more or less profitable banditry for many centuries.
The principal family in the early days was the Elliots of Redheugh, who often held the captaincy of Hermitage Castle — still to be seen, squat and impregnable, on the moors south of Hawick. One of the Elliots of Redheugh, forefather of the Elliots of Arkleton, fell at Flodden (the beautiful lament for that disaster, The Flowers of the Forest, was written by Jane Elliot, sister of Sir Gilbert Elliot, first Baronet of Minto in the 18th century).
The Elliots of Stobs go back to Gawain Elliot of Stobs in the late 16th century, who was descended from the Elliots of Redheugh. Since the 17th century, when Border plundering was finally suppressed, they have been the principal among the many cadet houses. Gawain was succeeded as Laird of Stobs by Gilbert, known as “Gibbie wi’ the gowden gartens”, and from one of his sons the baronets and earls of Minto are descended.
Of this line, several of whom were distinguished as judges and empire builders, the most famous were George Elliot, vegetarian and teetollar, 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 Gilbert Elliot, first Earl of Minto, a notable Governor-General of India in the early 19th century.
His great grandson, Gilbert, fourth 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.
The seat of the Earl of Minto is Minto House, in Hawick, and of the Eliot of Stobs, chief of the clan at Redheugh.
The Elliot Motto
Fortiter et Recte = With Strength and Right
Soyez Sage = Be Wise (old motto)
Authorization of the use of the information here was given to the Border Reiver Heritage Society by Bill Elliott, President, Clan Elliot Society USA