The history and antiquities of Roxburghshire and adjacent districts(1855) Author: Jeffrey, Alexander, 1806-1874
* Helen Kid’s Curse. — Since the publication of the Border Minstrelsy, a good many traditional anecdotes connected with old border times have found their way into print, but most of them of very inferior interest, and, what is worse, of very doubtful authenticity. So much, indeed, has been published, that the subject may be said to be nearly exhausted. A great number of traditions have perished with the old people who related them ; a very few vet linger, having perhaps not more than one frail life between them and oblivion. Of this latter class the following brief relation may be given as a specimen.
One of the Elliots of Larriston, a young man, chanced to fall in love with a young woman named Helen Kid, the daughter of one of his retainers. It would appear that his love was returned, for the two were hand-fasted, and within the prescribed period of a year and a day Helen presented her lover with a son. This circumstance so strengthened his attachment, that his resolution became fixed to have their union solemnized by holy church. It need scarcely be said that such a proceeding on the part of young Elliot was very unpopular. His bride-elect was not only the daughter of one of the lowest and poorest of his vassals, but, worse than that, she did not bear the name of either Elliot or Armstrong. Accordingly she was looked upon as nobody, a mere beggar’s brat, upon whom the young chief, the glory of his house, was actually throwing himself away. The parties most violent in their opposition to the match were the sisters and daughters of his chief retainers, all ladies of his own name, and all, in one degree or another, his kinswomen. All and each of them looked upon the rank to be attained by being Larriston’s “wife as the summit of earthly ambition ; and as not a few of them had in their separate endeavors been most diligent to attain this giddy height for themselves, it followed as a consequence that the success of their humbler rival was felt as something extremely mortifying.
To look upon her as his favorite woman was bad enough, but to contemplate her becoming his wedded wife, to whom they would be bound to give honor, was more than they could endure, and they were by no means disposed to submit to such endurance either meekly or passively. To turn the laird from his purpose they were not slow to put in practice every method they could devise they invented and circulated slanders affecting Helen’s maidenly fame ; they represented her as an artful abandoned creature ; they even accused her of being a witch, a horrid accusation in those days — they did all, in short, that an enraged woman could do ; but all was in vain. The lover had such perfect confidence in the truth and purity of her he loved, that what he heard made him love her the more. The day on which the marriage was to be solemnized was fixed, and preparations were being made for the approaching ceremony, when all at once, as if by magic, the ladies underwent a transformation, and professed to see the matter in quite a new light. They professed to make the discovery that the reports lately current were unfounded and gross calumnies, that Helen Kid was in reality a young person of rare moral worth ; they asserted that the laird’s choice was most creditable his good taste and good sense, and that they were all most anxious to cultivate the bride’s friendship, less for the position she was about to occupy than for her own merits. In seeming accordance with these professions they appointed an entertainment to which she was invited, to which she came, and at which she was poisoned.
How the deed was done there is no circumstantial account ; tradition merely says she was poisoned. Aware of the foul practice when too late, and feeling the approach of death, she, in her last agonies, gave utterance to a prayer to the following effect : —” That as her entertainers, the ladies of Liddisdale, had persecuted her to the death for being beloved, so might neither they nor their successors, down to the most distant generations, ever be beloved ; might they be doomed to live and die single and solitary, desolate and despised ; otherwise, in the event of marriage, might they be doomed to be still more miserable.” Such in substance was the poor murdered girl’s dying prayer, as it has been transmitted down under Copshaw tower stood on the right bank of the river, exactly opposite to Whithaugh, at the corner of the plantation where the Langholm road turns to the north. It was the residence of the famous freebooter Johnnie Elliot, who wounded the name of “Kid’s Curse.” The belief in its virtual potency was long formerly held as part of the popular creed, and is perhaps not even yet altogether extinct.
An old gentleman, himself an Elliot, (old Willie Elliot the lawyer, brother to the laird of Whithaugh), who died at Castleton, not more than twenty-five years ago, seldom heard of a lady of the name belonging to the place being about to be married without expressing himself thus : ” Aye, poor thing, nae doubt she expects to be happy, but she forgets that Helen Kid’s curse is clinging to her and her kind yet even to this day.” Tradition reports nothing more about Helen, except that her son lived to be a man, and was the progenitor of the Elliots of Stobs. On the south side of the Liddel, almost directly opposite to Saughtree School-House, there is a spot on the green brae side, which still bears traces of a human habitation. It is known by the name of Kid’s Wa’s, and is said to have been the ill-fated Helen’s residence.
Another view of Helen Kid;
Is It the Curse, Why My Family Had To Leave Scotland?
It should be noted; that the curse is put on the Larriston line.
Lets take a look at some information;
Information from; Robert Bruce Armstrong that the seat of the early Elwald chief is Thorliehope (The Valley of Thor).
In 1508 Robert Elwold (sometimes referred to as Elwandis (certified measurer (archaic) of length) had sons William of Larriston and Archibald (a name from the Douglas family which both the Ulster Armstrong, and Ellot used).
Robert Elliot (misspelled would be likely be Ellot from Elwald in 1563), married to M. Hamilton, and brother Martin of Braidlie.
To the Larriston line above shows the importance of the name William.
Shows a Margaret heiress of Redheugh m. James, 6th son of Gilbert of Stobs.
Gilbert of Stobs is brother to Robert XVI (wife M. Hamilton), and son of Robert XV (wife Jean Scott, daughter of Buccleuch, who marries secondly Gavin of Ballillie and Stobs).
So this Margaret heiress of Redheugh line is likely protected from Helen Kid’s Curse.
Lets take a look at my line;
Jean Scott, daughter of Buccleuch, who marries secondly Gavin of Ballillie and Stobs.
Andrew (Dandie) of Baillillee (baillee, a from of bailiff, but more like a lawyer), is the brother german (half brother) to Robert and William (Gawainis Hob and Will) sons of Gavin. The Son Gavin of Gavin is also a half brother, which acquires Baillillee of Andrew (Dandie), then Gavin acquires Stobs, previously own by the uncle of Clementis Hob; Clement Crosar, passed to Glanstanis then onto Gavin, then on to his step son Gilbert, which line Margaret of Redheugh is said to be from. It should be noted that both Gavin Ellot of Horsliehill, Baillillee, and Stobs, along with Clement Crosar are the the uncles of Clementis Hob.
The Gilbert or stepson of Gavin of Stobs, may in the descend ency have a Helen Kid, and therefore are protected from the curse.
It looks like the line of the brother of Gavin of Stobs, Andrew (Dandie), is in the direct line of Larriston, and this is the line it is felt the curse applies to the Larriston family, and that it the reason the family needed to leave the area.
It is felt that Gavin of Horsliehill, Baillillie, and Stobs, passed this on to his stepson,Gilbert that of Horsliehill seal of the family line. It should be noted Gilbert is of the Redheugh line stepson by the mother Jean Scott which marries into Gavin of the Horsliehill line.
My line is of the Horsliehill line the one with the stag’s head;
Though Gilbert a stepson, the Horsliehill family seal for his family is like the Redheugh/Stobs shield.
What is in the center/centre of the shield symbolizes who I am, since I am ruled by numbers and measurement. Today as with a surveyor, on who can certify measurement of length, in the US in decimal feet, elsewhere in meters/metres, but back then in sixteenth century Scotland, land measurement was done in ells. What is at the center/centre of the shield is what would symbolize a person of measurement for it’s day is an elwand, (ell wand) which represented a length standardized in Edinburgh, Scotland of an ell.
On occasion the Elwald were recorded as Elwand.
A round yardstick or a yard wand.
A standard bar at one time was used to define the meter/metre.
Standardizing the metrics IS/SI system, including the meter/metre.
Now the meter/metre is defined by how far light travels through a vacuum, during a given number of vibrations of an isotope of cesium.
My family is of the stag’s head.
The Andrew (Dan) of Baillie was the brother german (half), sharing the same father of William, but the brother of Gavin of Horsliehill, Baillillie and Stobs, who is the stepfather of Gilbert which land of Stobs when to, as represented by his stepfather Gavin formally of Horseliehill. Though Gilbert is of Horseliehill, he is also of Redheugh, and that is where the family lives today.
Given my Y-DNA;
Y-DNA being referred to as the Daniel Cluster, which I am apart of, above is as close to the Kerr, as the Eliot, and Crest is close to the Phernihirst (Ferniehurst) Crest of 1562 than the Redheugh crest of the same period. It is felt that this family of Kerr, and my family of Elwald previously to surnames were of the same family which rode under the sign of the stag’s head, and migrated to northern Northumbria, previous to the creation of Scotland.
It is felt that the family of Gilbert is of the Redheugh line, and safe from Helen Kid’s curse. The family of Andrew (Dan) is of the Larriston line, needed to move on away from the curse, to protect their ladies.
Mark Elliott 9/18/2013
It is known that Andrew father of Clementis Hob, brother to Gawane, was dead before 1564. It is felt he could have been deceased many years before, because it is felt that Clement Crosar uncle took in Clementis Hob (Clement Crosar’s Robert Elwald/Ellot) when he lived in Stobs many years before.
Note; It looks like the judge Buccleach may not be as impartial as possible.
Mark Elliott 9/27/2013
It should be noted that Helen Kidd, is also known as Meg Kidd.
Gilbert is the son of
Arthur Eliott, did not differentiate and ell from a yard, when he states 6 ells (18 feet).
Elwandes as the Elwald were referred to commonly at the time the Scots utilized the ell as their standard (standardize in Edinburgh), basically means one like today’s surveyor, can certify for documents ones measurements.
The only way, I have been able to link the Gavin of Stobs, to Gilbert, with analytic reasoning it as a son of the Redheugh Robert line then as a stepson of Gavin, an uncle to my grandfather Clementis Hob which is of the same family, but of the Horseleyhill line.
It should be noted; That it is not to clear, though because my first impression, which concurs with Arthur Eliott that the Horseleyhill line is of Larriston, I am finding that they are from Goranberry (near Braidley/Broadlee), and when Robert received land of Redheugh, there was a William of Goranberry.
The line does branch into the Robert Elwald line, but this branch, may given the Coat of Arms, have a strong likelihood, of branching off the Robert Elwald line, when the before there was a Robert Elwald of Redheugh, but of Thorsliehope.
To the Elliot Clan Society, my line does not exist, therefore, like Cowie of Goranberry, which I will be stuck with if the build a wind farm on The Hill (The Hermitage Hill), I guess I do not exist.
Mark Elliott 10/3/2013
It should be noted that the family living at Redheugh today are of Redheugh.
The family which I am from, which you do not need to believe me because the family is considered extinct, is the Lariston family.
Both families are of Horseleyhill but;
One uses the Redheugh family uses the name Gilbert (Gib), and the Lariston family uses the name Andrew (Dan became Daniel). The two families share the names William, Robert, Archibald and Gavin.
Gilbert of Redheugh is a stepson to Gavin of Lariston, Horseleyhill, Baillillie and Stobs. Therefore the children of Gilbert are not of Lariston and are protected from Helen Kid’s Curse, which is not the case for the children of Andrew (Dan), who went on to Ulster then America, and are of the so called extinct Lariston Clan.
Goranberry, though at the time is known to be extinct.
A Elliots of Larison tree;
Should be noted, that in Lariston family tree pedigree, and above map, Robert is living on Redheugh own land of Lariston, and Redheugh is not marked on map.
William son of Robert XV, is at first in Lariston, then of Hartgarth then
Mark Elliott 11/9/2013 additions 11/24/2013
Gilbert is of and Ellot of Lariston, with mother a Scot of Buccleuch.
On the 1590 the Ro; Ellotts (Robert Elliot) family was of Lariston.
Gilbert is the son of Robert Ellot of Redheugh/Lariston, and Jean Scott sister to Buccleuch.
William Ellot of Lariston is the first son of mistress Meg Kidd, and Robert of Redheugh/Lariston, noted Gilbert is the second son.
Robert of Redhuegh/Lariston did not live far from Meg Kidd.
Gavin bailee to Bothwell of Horsleyhill, purchased land named after his position, near the Scott up north Teviotdale, called Baillillie, and for the first son of Gilbert named after his brother executed in 1607, Gavin purchased Stobs. William which is also an important Gorrenberry/Horsleyhill name.
Mark Elliott 6/13/2015