Single Member Scottish County

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1754-1790, ed. L. Namier, J. Brooke., 1964
Available from Boydell and Brewer

Background Information

Number of voters:

about 65 in 1768, 105 in 1788


9 May 1754Walter Scott 
16 Apr. 1761Walter Scott 
20 June 1765Gilbert Elliot vice Scott, appointed to office 
5 Feb. 1767Sir Gilbert Elliot re-elected after appointment to office 
11 Apr. 1768Sir Gilbert Elliot 
22 Mar. 1770Elliot re-elected after appointment to office 
20 Oct. 1774Sir Gilbert Elliot 
27 Feb. 1777Sir Gilbert Elliot, 4th Bt., vice Sir Gilbert Elliot, 3rd Bt., deceased 
4 Oct. 1780Sir Gilbert Elliot43
 Lord Robert Ker34
15 Apr. 1784George Douglas 

Main Article

The principal interests in Roxburghshire belonged to John Ker, 3rd Duke of Roxburghe, and Henry Scott, 3rd Duke of Buccleuch, both under age in 1755. During their minorities, Walter Scott of Harden, chief by male descent of ‘all the Scotts in the south of Scotland’, was virtually in control of the county. On leaving Parliament in 1765, Scott arranged the return of Gilbert Elliot of Minto, who held the seat unopposed until his death in 1777.

At the by-election Sir Gilbert Elliot, 4th Bt., declared himself a candidate, relying on the support of Buccleuch and Scott and the great prestige of his father with the independent lairds. Lord Robert Ker, the Duke of Roxburghe’s brother, also proposed to stand, but was persuaded by Buccleuch to withdraw.1 But Ker’s challenge was merely postponed, and Elliot began to create votes in preparation for the general election. In 1780 he defeated Ker with a majority of seven.2

In 1784 Elliot, by his opposition to Pitt, lost Buccleuch’s support; and when Buccleuch joined Roxburghe in support of George Douglas of Springwood Park, Elliot had no hope of success and withdrew before the poll.

Author: John Brooke


  • 1. Lady Minto, Mem. Hugh Elliot, 102-3.
  • 2. Edinburgh Advertiser, 3 Oct. 1780.