Celebrating the identity, heritage, & culture of Ulster & the Ulster-Scots (a.k.a. "Scots-Irish") people worldwide!

Tuesday, October 23, 2012


From a booklet about the Elliots one of the Border Reiver clans.

The death of Elizabeth 1 set the Borders alight. Both Scots and English tried to do as much damage as possible to each other without fear of retribution. Robert Ellot,17th Chief,invaded England with almost 400 horsemen carrying battle flags. Several other clans followed their example. Unfortunately James succeeded to the united throne much faster than anticipated and declared the Borders were no longer the extremities of the two kingdoms but the middle of one United Kingdom. All laws and usage of the Borders were declared finished and the peculiar justiciary system that had existed for over 400 hundred years was swept away. James V1, that ungainly,unlikely King,succeeded in pacifying the Borders as he had the Highlands where his predecessors had failed.

The King's authority was stamped on the Borders and the first crop of executions resulted in thirty two Elliots,Armstrongs,and Johnsons going to the gallows. Iron gates were ordered removed from the old peel towers and turned into plough shares,arms were banned,and horses forbidden to have saddles. Forcible emigration to Ulster began,as did the transportation overseas for the King declared, ''the most notorious and lewd persons on the Middle March are to be sent to Virginia''.

The Elliots had fought in more than their fair share of all the Border battles. They were to suffer most in the forcible pacification that followed. Thirty of their towers in Liddesdale were destroyed. One third of all Borderers banished from Scotland were Elliots and over 3,500 of the name were living in Ulster in 1900.

Many were transported to the Virginian plantations. The last major hanging of Border reivers took place in 1609,and when the Elliots made a final raid against the Robsons in Tynedale in 1611 this really marked the end of a traditional way of life.