The name originated as Elwald or Elwold in Old English and there are many other variations on the spelling of this name which is strongly associated with the Scottish Borders and the reivers (raiders on horseback) of the area. But family tradition says that the Ellots (as it was spelt at that time) came from the foot of Glenshie in Angus. But in 1320 William de Soulis, a powerful Border noble, was convicted of treason. The Ellots were supporters of Robert the Bruce> and they moved to Liddesdale to improve Bruce's hold on the area.
The Elliot form of the name was used by the family in Minto while the Eliott form was used by those in Stobo. And there were other variations - Robert Ellot of Redheugh was the 10th chief in 1476. The family built around 100 strong towers around Liddesdale and, like so many of the Scottish nobility, the 13th chief was killed at the Battle of Flodden> along with King James IV> in 1513. At times, the Ellots of Redheugh held Hermitage Castle, south of Hawick.
In 1565 a feud arose between the Ellots and the neighbouring Scott> family. 300 Ellots rode to avenge the execution of one of their kinsman by Scott of Buccleuch and casualties on both sides were heavy before they came to terms. The Ellots also had a dispute with the Earl of Bothwell> (future husband of Mary Queen of Scots) and a royal force of 4,000 men ravaged the Ellots lands.
After the Union of the Crowns in 1603, the Borders quietened down. Many in the Borders at this time emigrated to Ulster in what became known as "the Plantations". Sir Gilbert Eliott of Stobs became chief in 1673 and King Charles II> created him a Baronet of Nova Scotia.
The poetess who wrote "The Flowers of the Forest"> was an Elliot and the earl of Minto became Governor General of India in 1807. He became Earl of Minto and Viscount Melgund on his return. The 4th Earl became Viceroy of India in 1905.
The Eliott clan motto is "Fortiter et recte" which means "Boldly and rightly".
There is an Eliott clan Web site here>.
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