The Border Reivers

The surname Elliot is thought to either originate from an Anglo-Saxon forename Elewald which means ‘elf ruler’ or from the surname ‘Elias’.  After the Norman conquest the name appears as the forename ‘Heliot’.  The earliest record of the surname includes ‘Elyot’ and ‘Eliot’.  It is thought that the Eliots from the south have a surname deriving from Elias and the Elliott families of the north descended from Elewald who lived in Cumberland in 1279. 

Until the 15th Century the Elliotts of the England Scotland border lived with various spellings of their surname, including Elwald, Elwold, Elwuad, Elwat etc.  Today there are at least 70 derivatives of the surname which includes four different spellings of the basic name ie Eliot, Eliott, Elliot and Elliott.  Although the latter spelling is said to be frowned upon by the Scottish border Eliotts!

The Elliot clan was one of the greatest reiving families who lived in Redeugh near Newcastleton in upper Liddesdale.  In the height of their reiving activities, they occupied 40 Pele towers throughout the locality.

Like other reiving families, the Elliot’s land was confiscated and the clan forced to scatter following  England and Scotland’s unification.  Many were sent to America or Northern Ireland.  Some also moved to the North East where the name is still common today.

For more information on the Clan Elliot try this site: