Margaret Frances Eliott, 29th Chief of Clan Elliot
Lady Margaret Elliot of Scotland inherited her title as clan chief from her father Sir Arthur Eliot 11th Baronet of Stobs twenty-eight years ago and is one of only nine women to accept this title. She resides five miles from the border of England in Liddesdale on the ancestral lands of the Elliots'. Her farmhouse where she now resides is referred by its ancient name of Redhuegh and was built from stones of the many peel towers that once dotted the nearby lands owned by the Elliots over six centuries ago. She is involved with maintaining the long and turbulent history of the border between Scotland and England and is the Deputy Lieutenant of Ettrick of Roxburgh and Lauderdale as well as Community Councilor. Ms Margaret also hosts our Elliot clan Gathering every four years there at her Redheugh estate in Scotland where Elliots / Elliotts/ Eliotts from all over the world come together to reminisce about their ancestors.
Margret’s first husband passed many years ago and she remarried Mr. Christopher Wilkins who assists with her many clan responsibilities. She has a son and daughter as well as two step children and 7 Grandchildren.
My wife Sherrie and I are the proud parents of three children and one grandchild. Our first visit to Montana was in 1992 and we immediately fell in love with the Bitterroot Valley. Not long after we purchased property here as a place to retire when the time came. In 2006 we moved to Montana full time and have enjoyed our decision. After the passing of my father and not knowing much about my family history or the origins of the Elliott's I started researching. Little did I know when I started my research it would lead me to roots here in Montana. My Great Grandparents homesteaded and married in Wisdom in 1894 and their wedding picture is hanging in the Crossing Restaurant. The earliest record I have of my Great Grandfather here in Montana is an 1882 news paper article in Fredonia,Wilson County Kansas where he was raised. The article says “Jonnie Elliott returned home from the Montana Territory for a visit”. The next earliest record is his registered 1886 livestock brand in Wisdom, Beaverhead County. My Great Grandmothers side, the Scollicks lived near the Elliott ranch which is now part of the Hirshey ranch and the earliest record I have of her here in Montana is 1893.
I'm a proud Freemason, Past Master of Victor Lodge 43 as well as a Knights Templer in Hamilton. Both groups keep me busy with community service such as Bike for Books (public school reading program), scholarship programs, highway clean up, widow assistance and fund raising.
Bitterroot Celtic Games & Gathering
PO Box 1774 Hamilton MT 59840 US
President Clan Elliot Society USA
2nd VP of the clan Elliot USA & Commissioner for the State of Montana. Past Master Victor Masonic Lodge 43, & Knights Templer, Hamilton Lodge
Bill is a former US Naval submarine officer who subsequently has worked in the health care high tech equipment field for both the Navy and private industry.
He is currently the President of the Clan Elliot Society USA and has been active in various Scottish related activities for a number of years.
This includes serving on the Board of Directors for the Clan Elliot Society USA and the St. Andrew’s Society of Mid-Maryland, regional responsibilities for the Scottish American Military Society, serving on the Executive Committee for the annual Mid-Maryland Celtic Festival and on various COSCA/Standing Council of Scottish Chiefs working groups, and working with the Frederick Scottish Country Dancers.
Additionally, he handles the Websites/Social Media presence for most of these organizations as well as for the Quilts of Valor Foundation.
Bill lives in Frederick, MD with his wife Marianne (Past President of the St Andrew’s Society of Mid-Maryland and the current Chair of the Mid-Maryland Celtic Festival)
CLAN ELLIOT -2019 Honored Clan
Clan Motto: With Strength and Right
There are 72 variations of the surname Elliot but the most common today is Elliott with the Double "T".
The Elliot’s were originally a Celtic tribe of Britain and one of the many tribes which fled to Brittany (France) during the Saxon invasion of Britain around 500 AD. They returned to their homeland five centuries later as part of William the Conquerors army in 1066 at the Battle of Hastings. Many historians believe it was Knight William de'Aliot (Elliot) who killed King Harold of England during this battle. For their service in battle they were granted lands in Cornwall, Devon, and possibly York and Wales. The Elliot's were known as a Fighting Family which today would be labeled as mercenaries and hired out their service for protection or battle to the highest bidder.
In about 1120 AD King David of Scotland required their help to keep and secure his throne from rivals. For this they were granted a Barony and lands in the central highlands at the foot of Glennshie in Angus Scotland. In 1290 Queen Margaret “Maid of Norway” died without an heir and a power struggle for the throne of Scotland began. The Elliot's sided with their longtime ally and another Fighting Family from the past, the de'Brus / Bruce family, but unfortunately John de'Balliol was crowned king in 1292. For their support of Robert the Bruce over the Balliol family the Elliot lands were forfeited and given to supporters of the new king. Four years later in 1296 King Balliol went into exile and Robert the Bruce was named Guardian of Scotland and then in 1306 he was crowned king. Soon after, Bruce granted new lands in the north of Scotland near the town of Liddesdale (today named Newcastleton) to his longtime allies- the Elliot's. Many agree this move of a clan was unusual, but it served the new king well. First it repaid a debt of gratitude for the Elliot's long-time support to the Bruce family. Another reason was because of the Elliot's fierce fighting reputation and their ability on horseback. This gave the new king a great, light cavalry force to protect his northern border to England.
The Elliot lands were in the area called the Middle March near the Liddesdale Valley. Due to its easy approach to and from England, and the constant warring between the two nations, this little valley was referred to then as “The Cockpit” and historians today refer to this valley as “The Bloodiest Valley in all of Europe”.
King Edward of England “Hammer of the Scot's” was determined to bring Scotland under his rule and his armies regularly invaded burning homes and crops, looting and killing all in their path. Because of this, the border clans had no way to shelter or provide for their families so out of necessity and out of retribution they took to raiding into England. These raids would consist of the burning of entire villages and looting coin, livestock, silver, and even capturing hostages for ransom. For this these battle harden families of the border became known as “Reivers” or “The Riding Families”. For over three centuries they lived this outlaw lifestyle often being paid by the monarchs to raid in order to keep the English soldiers chasing these raiders instead of waging war. Sometimes these raids would consist of a single clan and a few men while other times they consisted of many of the border families and had well over 3000 men in the saddle. After time these clans of the border became so powerful and unruly that even the King feared entering that area of his country. Queen Elizabeth of England committed after a large raid by these Scottish Raiders “if I had but only 10,000 of these men, I could rule the entire continent of Europe”. In 1603 Queen Elizabeth of England died without an heir and her cousin King James of Scotland inherited her throne and with that both countries (United Kingdom). This was the beginning of the end for these unruly clans of the border. Now with the strength of two armies under his control and the need to unite his two countries King James set out to pacify the border. Many including several Elliot's were hung on site, drowned (to save the cost of rope), or forced into military service with England's war against Spain, or forced to the Ulster Plantation (now Northern Ireland).
Battle of Flodden 1513 – The 13th Clan Chief Robert Elliot of Redheugh died in battle along with many of his clansman. His son Robert Jr, the future clan chief, was only a child at the time so his uncle, Martin Elliot of Braidley, took temporary control of the family. When Robert Jr became of age his uncle refused to step down. This was the first of three family splits which would divide the clan and their lands
“Who dare meddle with me” - In 1566 James Hepburn, 4th Earl of Bothwell and future husband to Mary Queen of Scots, became the Keeper of Liddesdale (Sheriff). To impress his future bride he was going to show these unruly men of the border the rule of law. Unfortunately, not long after arriving he met up with Jock Elliot who was well known for his violent reputation. The Earl and his men found Jock riding alone and shot him from the saddle. As the Earl dismounted and approached his trophy, lying assumed dead on the ground, Jock Elliot jumped to his feet and stabbed the future King of Scotland several times while saying “Wha daur meddle wi me” (who dare meddle with me) before escaping. After seeing their leader mortally wounded, his men loaded the Earl up and took him to Hermitage Castle for treatment. Unfortunately, when they arrived, they found the castle guards had been overpowered and the castle was now under control of the Elliot's and their allies the Armstrong’s, Nixon's and Crozier's. The Earl’s men pleaded they be allowed to enter and seek medical attention for their leader. Negotiations began with Clan Chief Robert Elliot of Reheugh seeking and getting amnesty for his men and the others that the Earl was attempting to bring to justice. Hearing that her lover was near death, Queen Mary, who was in Jedburgh at the time, rode horseback during the night through heavy rains to be at his side. Her horse at least once lost its footing and dropped the Queen into the bogs. This spot today is called “The Queens Mire”. Just recently, the broach of Queen Mary which was lost that fateful night was found in the mud and returned to be displayed at Edinburgh Castle with the other crown jewels. The Earl recovered from his wounds but left the border area never to return. Queen Mary spent several months after recovering from pneumonia due her eventful ride. The unruly Elliot's not only nearly killed the Queens lover, but also took over his castle and nearly caused the death of the Queen herself, due to her ride. Jock Elliot's comment on that day “Who dare meddle with me” has been adopted as our second clan motto.
Family Curse – In 1524 and after two centuries of raiding, Archbishop Gavin Dunbar of England put a 1000+ word curse on the Elliot's, their off-spring, their lands, livestock, and anything else associated to them. The Cursing Stone stands today in Carlise Castle in England.
Name Variations – The original spelling of Elliot with the single T is still used frequently in England and Scotland but the spelling with the double T is the most common worldwide. It's a family rumor but the double T is thought to have originated with those who were forced from their homelands to the Ulster Plantation in Ireland. It's said the Elliott's there added the second T as a symbol of the Cross and to show their faith. The French variation of Aliot can still be found in France, linking back to when they fled Britain for Brittany during the Saxon invasion