Elliot, Jane (Jean)

(1727-1805)
   The daughter of Sir Gilbert Elliot, second baronet of Minto, was born at Minto House, the family seat in Teviotdale. It is difficult to sort fact from myth, but it is reported that when she was about nineteen, she entertained a party of Jacobites, giving her father time to escape. Another story is that she composed "Flowers of Flodden" as response to her brother Gilbert's challenge that she couldn't write a ballad about Flodden. Although there is doubt about the authenticity of the work, Burns insisted that it was a modern composition, and when Sir Walter Scott wrote his Border Minstrelsy he inserted it (in 1803) as "by a lady of family in Roxburghshire" (DNB). She wrote "The Lament" to commemorate the 10,000 Scots who died in the Battle of Flodden in 1513, and by tradition, it is now sung only at funerals. After the death of her father in 1766 (her brother Gilbert inherited the title), she moved with her mother and sisters to Edinburgh, where she spent most of the second half of her life. After her mother and sisters had died, she lived alone in the house in Brown Square, Edinburgh. She died either at Minto House or at Mount Teviot, the residence of her younger brother, Admiral John Elliot.
   Sources: Dictionary of National Biography. Electronic Edition 1.1. Oxford University Press, 1997. The Columbia Granger's Index to Poetry. 11th ed. The Columbia Granger's World of Poetry, Columbia University Press, 2005 (http://www.columbiagrangers.org). The Oxford Companion to English Literature. 6th edition. Margaret Drabble, ed. Oxford University Press, 2000. The Scottish Collection of Verse to 1800. Eileen Dunlop and Kamm Antony, eds. Richard Drew, 1985.

British and Irish poets. A biographical dictionary. . 2015.

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