Clan Motto: Fortiter Et Recte (Boldly & Rightly)
There are 72 variations of the surname Elliot but the most common today is Elliott
The Elliots were originally a Celtic tribe of Britain and were one of many tribes who fled to Brittany France during the Saxon invasion of Britain in about 500 AD. They returned to their home land as part of William the Conqueror's army at the Battle of Hastings in 1066. Many historians today believe it was Knight William de'Aliot (Elliot) who killed King Harold of England during this battle. For their service to the new king they were granted lands in Cornwall, possibly Yorkshire and Wales. The Elliots were known as a “Fighting Family” which today would be referred to as mercenaries and hired out their services for battle or protection to the highest bidder. In about 1120 AD King David of Scotland required their services to help keep and secure his throne. For this they were granted a Barony and land in the Central Highlands at the foot of Glenshie 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 Elliots sided with their long-time ally and another Fighting Family from the past, the de'Brus's/Brus (Bruce). Unfortunately for both the Elliots and the Brus family John de'Balliol (Balliol) was crowned king in 1292. For supporting of the Bruce family over John Balliol the title of Barony was forfeited and their lands in Angus given to supporters of King Balliol. In 1296 King Balliol was sent into exile and Robert the Bruce was named “Guardian of Scotland”. Ten years later Bruce was crowned king and soon after he granted new lands in the north of Scotland near Liddesdale (today known as Newcastleton) to his long-time allies the Elliots. This move served the new king in two ways. First it repaid a dept of gratitude for the Elliots long-time support. Second was because of the Elliot's fighting reputation and their ability on horseback which gave the king a great light cavalry force to protect his border to England. The Elliot lands were in the area called the “Middle March” in the Liddesdale Valley. Because of its easy approach to and from England and because all the fighting in this little valley it was referred to at that time as the “Cock Pit” and historians today refer to this valley as the “Bloodiest Valley in all of Europe”. Starting about 1297 after John Balliol went into exile King Edward of England “Hammer of the Scots” was determined to bring Scotland under his rule. Edwards army regularly invaded, killing all in their path, looting and burning crops and homes as they went. This left the Elliots and other border clans unable to farm crops or keep live stock to feed their families so they took to raiding England. Their raids would consist of livestock, food, coin, silver and even hostages for ransom. They soon became known as Reivers or the Riding Families for their deeds. For almost 3 centuries they lived this life style, sometimes being paid by the monarchy to raid just to keep English troops chasing these raiders instead of invading Scotland. After time these border clans became so powerful and unruly that even King James feared going into the border area. Queen Elizabeth of England once commented “if I had but 10,000 of these men I could rule all of Europe”. In 1603 Queen Elizabeth died without an heir and her cousin King James of Scotland inherited her throne and with that both kingdoms. To unite both countries (United Kingdom) and with the strength of two armies now under his control King James set out to pacify these unruly clans of the border. Many including several Elliots were hung on sight or forced to fight on England’s behalf against Spain or sent to the new Ulster Plantation in Ireland.
Notes: Battle of Flodden 1513 AD -13th Clan Chief Robert Elliot of Redheugh and many of his clansman died in battle. His son Robert Jr was an infant at the time so his uncle and brother to the clan chief Martin Elliot of Braidly assumed temporary control of the clan. Unfortunately, when Robert Jr became of age his Uncle Martin refused to step down. This event was the first of three family splits that divided the Elliot clan and their lands.
Note: Who Dares Meddle with Me: In 1566 James Hepburn 4th Earl of Bothwell and future husband to Queen Mary of Scotland was appointed “Keeper of Liddesdale” and in an attempt to impress his future bride he was going to show these unruly border clans the rule of law. Unfortunately, not long after being appointed he met up with Little Jock Elliot who had a mean reputation. Bothwell and his men found Jock Elliot riding alone and shot him from the saddle. As Bothwell approached his trophy lying assumed dead on the ground Jock Elliot jumped to his feet and mortally stabbed Bothwell several times while saying “wha daur meddle wi me” (who dare meddle with me) before escaping. Bothwell's men seeing their leader barely alive loaded him up and hastily headed back to Hermitage Castle for treatment. When they arrived back at the castle they found it had already been taken over by the Elliots, and their allies, the Armstrongs and Nixons. Bothwell's men pleaded that they be allowed to enter so they may seek medical attention for their leader. Negotiations began with Clan Chief Robert Elliot demanding and getting amnesty for all his and the other families whom Bothwell was seeking to bring to justice. Queen Mary, who was in Jedburgh for trials at that time, got word that her lover was near death so she rode on horseback through heavy rains to be at his side. In route her horse lost its footing and fell, dropping the Queen into the bogs. This spot is known today as "The Queens Mire". Just recently a farmer found Queen Mary's broach under the mud and it was sent to Edinburgh Castle to be displayed with the other Crown Jewels. Bothwell survived his wounds but left the border area and never returned. Because of Queen Mary's ride in such severe weather she almost died of pneumonia and spent several months recovering. The Elliots not only nearly killed the Queen's lover but because of her ride in terrible weather to be at Bothwell's side the Elliots could claim they almost killed the Queen of Scotland. This slogan “wha daur meddle wi me” used by Jock Elliot has over the years been adopted as our second clan motto
Note: Family Curse: After almost 200 years of raiding and fighting these battle-hardened families of the border became such an unruly group that Archbishop Gavin Dunbar in 1525 put a 1000-word curse on them, their offspring and anything else associated to them. The Elliots are mentioned more than once in this curse and the cursing stone stands today at Carlise Castle in England.
Note: The double T- Most Elliots in Scotland and England spell it with the single T which is the original spelling. The second T seems to originate with those that were forced to Ulster (now Northern Ireland). It's only speculation but it's rumored the second T was added as symbol of the Cross and to show their faith.
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.
CLAN ELLIOT -2019 Honored Clan
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)
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
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.