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Saturday, 5 April 2014

E for Elliots, Earlston & Eyemouth Tart

Welcome to a look around 
"My Scottish Borders"

E is for

Elliot Clan BadgeELLIOTS  - The Elliots were one of the most active, powerful and  notorious of the Scottish Border Reiver families, prominent in Liddesdale and Teviotdale. 

Their motto  - Fortiter et Recte meaning with Strength and Right.

Two verses from a  border ballad reflects the fear that the Elliots could invoke in their enemies on both sides of the Border.  

Who daur [dare]  meddle wi' me?
Who daur meddle wi' me?
My name is little Jock Elliot
And  Who daur meddle wi' me?

I ride on my fleet footed grey
My sword  hangind doon by my knee
My name is little Jock Elliot
And  Who daur meddle wi' me?

There were many different branches of the Elliot family in the Borders  and many different ways of spelling their nameCenturies later, one Elliot who made his mark  was Gilbert Elliot-Murray-Kynynmound, 4th Earl of Minto (1845-1914), who became  Governor-General of Canada and in 1905 Viceroy of India.

Naval officer, Lieutenant Anthony Fasson  (1913-1942) grew up near Bedrule in Roxburghshire.   He was on board the destroyer HMS Petard in the Atlantic when it torpedoed a U-boat.  Lieutenant Fasson, with two colleagus, dived into the sea, boarded the stricken vessel and recovered top secret codebooks and a German Enigma coding machine from the captain’s cabin.  He was lost when the submarine sank, but the papers were saved, and once deciphered provided crucial intelligence for the Allies on U-boat movements. For his actions he was awarded the posthumous George Cross. 

 This plaque in his memory in the peaceful countryside around Bedrule Church is so far removed from the theatres of war.  

The view from Bedrule Church,  across to Ruberslaw Hill

I live in EARLSTON, in Berwickshire.  The village, (population 1978)  lies in the  valley of the Leader Water, known as Lauderdale.  A local poet wrote write:
On the Black Hills’ lofty summit I stand this morn and gaze
On a scene so full of splendour and brave deeds of bygone days
So rich in nature’s glory – woodland, hills and rivers grand,

With a veil of glamour o’er it, the dear old Borderland"

 The Black Hill in Autumn

Earlston is best known for medieval  poet and prophet Thomas Learmonth, called Thomas of Ercildoune, Thomas the Rhymer, or True Thomas, so do look out for him when I come to letter T in this A-Z journey. 

EYEMOUTH TART  originated in the  small fishing town on the Berwickshire coast and is a rich tart made with walnuts, currants  cherries and coconut, covered or drizzled with water icing - sometimes known as Border Tart.  Delicious!

EYEMOUTH  lies at the mouth of the Eye Water where it joins the North Sea - 8 miles north of the Border and the town of Berwick-upon-Tweed   A fishing port,   it celebrates each year the Herring Queen Festival, where the chosen "queen" sails into the harbour by boat to be crowned   and lead a week of community events. 

The town was struck by the Eyemouth Disaster when in October 1881 when,  in a devastating storm,  most of the fishing fleet, some 20 baots and 129 men  were lost, many within the sight of the shore.   With victims from other coastal villages, a total of 189 men died.  A monument in the town and a tapestry in the local museum commemorate this event. 

                     Eyemouth Harbour with Gunsgreen House in the background.
The house was built in 1763 by a notorious smuggler. 

Follow the next stage of this A-Z journey through the Scottish Borders

F is for:
Flodden, Fletcher and Flowers of the Forest 

The Scottish Borders 
The old counties of Berwickshire, Peeblesshire, Roxburghshire & Selkirkshire  
Scottish Borders in Scotland.svg

Do take a look at earlier  posts in "My Scottish Borders

A-Z Challenge Preview
A-Z Challenge A - Abbeys,Abbotsford and Armstrongs
A-Z Challenge B - Border Reivers, Border Ballads and Blackmail
A-Z Challenge C - Common Ridings and Carter Bar 
A-Z Challenge D - Dryburgh Abbey,  Duns Scotus and The Douglas Tragedy 


  1. The Elliott's sound fierce :). Nice to live in more peaceful times!

  2. "Family History Fun" has been included in the A Sunday Drive for this week. Be assured that I hope this helps to point even more new visitors in your direction.


  3. That Eyemouth Tart sounds yummy, although I have to say "eye" and "mouth" conjure up visions of a Halloween concoction.


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