with permission from
The Picture Collection
Library of Virginia
English Tangier, North Africa, or
City of London, England
|Died||16 May 1714
Byfeld House, Barnes, Surrey, England
|Allegiance||England, Great Britain|
|Battles/wars||1692: Battle of Steinkeerke
1702: defence of Tongeren
1704: Battle of Schellenberg
Major General Roger Elliott (c. 1665 – 16 May 1714 ) was one of the earliest British Governors of Gibraltar. His nephew George Augustus Eliott also became a noted Governor and defender of Gibraltar.
Roger Elliott was born, possibly in London but more probably in the English Colony of Tangier in Morocco, to George Elliott (c. 1636 - 1668, the Chirurgeon to the Tangier Garrison) and his wife Catherine (née Maxwell, c. 1638 - 1709). George Elliott was the illegitimate son of Richard Eliot, the wayward second son of Sir John Eliot (1592–1632).
Roger Elliott's father, George Elliott, died at Tangier in 1668, and his widowed mother remarried there on 22 February 1670 Robert Spotswood (17 September 1637 - 1680, the assistant and replacement Chirurgeon at the Garrison), and thirdly the Rev. Dr George Mercer, the Garrison schoolmaster. Elliott was therefore an older half-brother of Alexander Spotswood (c. 1676 - 6 June 1740), who would become a noted Lieutenant-Governor of Virginia.
By 1680, Roger was an Ensign in the Tangier Regiment of Foot, and was wounded on 27 October fighting the local Moors. In 1681, he was suspended by Colonel Percy Kirke for duelling with Ensign Bartholomew Pitts, later being cashiered for this offence. He was sent back to England in 1682 with a letter begging for his readmission into His Majesty's Service, and he was reinstated as an Ensign in his old Company on 8 March 1683. In 1684 he returned to England and probably fought against the Monmouth Rebellion.
By 1685, he had transferred to the Queen Dowager's Regiment of Foot, and, in 1687, he became a First Lieutenant in Earl of Bath's Regiment - created by Sir John Granville, 1st Earl of Bath (1628–1701). He was promoted to Captain on 1 May 1690. He fought and was wounded at the Battle of Steinkeerke on 3 August 1692. On 21 December of that year, he was promoted to Major in the same Regiment, and, on 1 January 1696, promoted to Lieutenant-Colonel of Sir Bevil Granville's Regiment of Foot. In 1702, on campaign with the Duke of Marlborough, he was shot through the body at the defence of Tongeren in Belgium. He reputedly took on the entire French Army with only two regiments, before surrendering.
On 5 March 1704, he raised his own regiment - Colonel Elliott's Regiment of Foot. Officers were commissioned on 10 April that year at St James'. On 2 July 1704, again on campaign with the Duke of Marlborough, he fought and was wounded at the Battle of Schellenberg. It is possible that he fought at the Battle of Blenheim on 13 August 1704. However, he certainly did not lead the cavalry at this Battle, as has been maintained by other biographies - this was led by General Sir John 'Salamander' Cutts.
In March 1705, Colonel Elliott's Regiment of Foot embarked for Spain and served at Gibraltar, which was declared a free port in 1706. On 1 January 1707, he was promoted to Brigadier-General, and later that year to Lieutenant-Governor of Gibraltar. On 24 December, he was appointed Governor of Gibraltar. His time in office is remembered in the Gibraltar records as one of mercenary opportunity; whereas, in the London records, it appears that he proceeded with expensive but vital defensive fortification with only minimal prior financial approval. The arguments over the accounts for these defences would cause problems for the probate of his personal estate. On 1 January 1710, he was promoted to Major-General, and on 24 January 1711, he handed over the Governorship to Brigadier-General Thomas Stanwix. He finally departed Gibraltar on 18 June 1711.
Return to England
Having returned to England, he was married on 4 March 1712 to Charlotte Elliot, the daughter of a rich London merchant, William 'the laceman' Elliot of Brugh and Wells. Roger leased Byfeld House in Church Road, Barnes, Surrey on 24 June 1712 where the couple settled and raised a small family.
Roger Elliott never fully recovered from his various wounds and died at Byfeld House on 16 May 1714. He was buried 21 May in the cemetery of St Mary the Virgin, Barnes.
His will was probated on 16 November 1714 but his estate took years to resolve because of the difficulties mentioned. The eventual resolution was mostly thanks to the involvement of his father-in-law, William 'the Laceman' Elliot, who sought to expedite his daughter's remarriage to Captain Thomas Burroughs.
Mary Elliott, who married Garrett Fitzmaurice (died May 1738) in Ireland, claimed to be a natural daughter of Roger Elliott.
On 4 March 1712 at St Peter's Church, Cornhill, Roger married Charlotte Elliot (c.1692 - c.1753), the daughter of William 'the Laceman' Elliot, and they had two children:
- Granville Elliott (7 October 1713 – 10 October 1759, General, Graf von Eliot, Comte de Morhange)
- Catherine (Kitty) Elliott (18 September 1714 – 15 January 1757), who married firstly c. 1735 to Charles Boyle (of Araglin Bridge, co Cork, related to the Earls of Cork and Orrery), and secondly, in 1742, to the Very Rev Robert Bligh, the Dean of Elphin and a younger brother of the 1st Earl of Darnley.