Jean Elliot (April 1727 – 29 March 1805), also known as Jane Elliot, was a Scottish poet. She wrote one of the most famous versions of The Flowers of the Forest, a song lamenting the Scottish army's defeat in the Battle of Flodden. Published in 1776, it is her only surviving work. The lyrics are set to a tune later collected into a melody by John Skene.

Jean Elliot
BornApril 1727 (1727-04)
Died29 March 1805 (1805-03-30) (aged 77)
Notable work
The Flowers of the Forest
Parent(s)Sir Gilbert Elliot, 2nd Bt of Minto


Daughter of Sir Gilbert Elliot, Jean was born in 1727 at Minto House in Teviotdale.

During the Jacobite rising of 1745, when a party of Jacobites came to arrest her influential father, Jean received and entertained the unwelcomed officers at Minto House with such calmness, courtesy and composure that she was able to convince them that her father was not within reach when he was actually hiding himself among Minto crags, not far from the Minto House.[1]:201–2

While Miss Elliot had many admirers, she never married.[2] From 1782 to 1804 she resided in Brown's Square, Edinburgh. She is said to have been the last lady in the city who kept standing in her hall a private sedan chair.[2][1]:220-1

Towards the end of her life, Jean went back to Teviotdale. She died either at Minto House, or Mount Teviot, the residence of her younger brother Admiral John Elliot, on 29 March 1805.[1]:221[3]

Her brothers included Gilbert, John, and Andrew Elliot.[4]


  1. ^ a b c Sarah, Tytler; Watson, Jean L. (1871). "Miss Jean Elliot.". The Songstresses of Scotland. 1. 56 Ludgate Hill, London: Strahan & Co., Publishers.CS1 maint: location (link)
  2. ^ a b Wilson, James Grant (1876). "Jane Elliot". The Poets and Poetry of Scotland. 1. Franklin Square, New York: Harper & Brothers, Publishers. p. 233.
  3. ^ Pitcock, Murray G. H. Lawrence Goldman (ed.). Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (2004 ed.). Oxford University Press. Retrieved 7 June 2009.
  4. ^ "Jean Elliot". The Gazetteer for Scotland. Retrieved 6 August 2007.

  This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domainCousin, John William (1910). A Short Biographical Dictionary of English Literature. London: J. M. Dent & Sons – via Wikisource.

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