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.
Years Attended: Fall 2010 (First Year Attendee!)
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