Granville Elliott

Granville Elliott

with permission from
The Eliot Sisters Collection
Born (1713-10-07)7 October 1713
Byfeld House, Barnes, Surrey, England
Died 10 October 1759(1759-10-10) (aged 46)
Rodheim an der Bieber, Gießen, Hesse, Germany
Service/branch Army
Rank Major General
  • Graf Eliot von Port-Eliot
  • Comte de Merhange
Granville Elliott
with permission from
The Eliot Archives
Granville Elliott
with permission from
The Eliot Archives

Major-General Granville Elliott (7 October 1713 10 October 1759), (General, Graf Eliot von Port-Eliot, Comte de Morhange) was a British military officer. He served with distinction in several other European armies and subsequently in the British Army. He fought at the Battle of Minden where he was wounded, dying of his injuries several weeks later.

Early life

Elliott was born at Byfeld House, Church Road, Barnes, Surrey to Major-General Roger Elliott (c. 1665 15 May 1714) and his wife Charlotte (née Elliot, c. 1692 - c. 1753). He was baptised on 27 October 1713 at St Mary the Virgin's Church, Barnes. His godparents were George Granville, 1st Baron Lansdowne and Mrs Killigrew.

When Elliott was less than one year old, his father died and he was brought up by his mother and her new husband, Captain Thomas Burroughs. Later that decade, he was made a ward of his mother's younger brother Colonel William Elliot (c. 1704 1764). In 1725, Elliott was admitted to Dr Dunster's Academy in Little Marlborough Street, London, and in 1730 he matriculated as a Law Student at the University of Groningen in the Netherlands.

Continental European military career

By 1732, Elliott was in the service of the HM Karl Philipp von Pfalz-Neuburg, Elector Palatine of the Rhine. On 7 March 1735, ahead of his marriage on 15 March 1735 at Mannheim to Jeanne Thérèse du Han, Comtesse de Martigny (30 October 1707 – 7 May 1748), he was created a Chambellan in the Elector's army and raised to the title of Comte de Morhange in the Moselle region. To facilitate the marriage, Elliott converted to Catholicism, and took the forename Joseph, which caused him problems with his mother's Calvinist relatives. In August 1736, he and his mother swore oaths at the College of Arms in London that the Elliott family descended from a legal marriage of Richard Eliot (b. 1614 - unknown), the wayward second son of Sir John Eliot (1592–1632) to Catherine Killigrew (1617–1689), daughter of Sir Robert Killigrew (1580–1633) and Mary Woodhouse (CIR 1584 - 1655). However, the two oaths differed in some details, and no independent evidence for any marriage of Richard has ever come to light. Moreover, Catherine Killigrew was still described as spinster in 1655 when she executed her mother's will. As a result, Elliott was not recognised by the College of Arms as a legitimate relative of the then Lord Eliot of Port Eliot in Cornwall, ancestors of the present Earls of St Germans. Nevertheless, Granville Elliott had a pedigree drawn up (which survives today) and formally presented to him in Paris by the British Ambassador / Plenipotentiary. As a result of this device, Elliott became known at the Elector's Court as Comte Eliot de Port-Eliot, and Graf Eliot von Port-Eliot.

On 29 October 1736, Elliott was promoted to the rank of Colonel, taking over the colonelcy of the Carabinier Regiment on 1 February 1737, and the Dragoons Regiment on 10 July 1738. In 1737, Elliott was appointed Cavalry General of the States General of the Netherlands, the legislature of the Dutch Republic. A few years later, he was working at Lunéville, at the court of the exiled King Stanislaus I of Poland who had become Duke of Lorraine and Bar. On 22 April 1745, he was promoted to Major-General of Cavalry for the Elector Palatine; on 24 June 1746, to Lieutenant-General of Cavalry, and, on 2 November 1748, to Lieutenant-General of Cavalry for the States General of the Netherlands.

Elliott and his wife appeared regularly in the Madame de Graffigny correspondence, usually under his baptised name Joseph or his familiar name Cotoco. His wife died on 7 May 1748, and this caused a substantial change of direction for Elliott. He left his grown-up family with their French relatives, returned to the UK, forsook his Catholicism and repaired the bridges with his mother's relatives. It appears that Elliott did not subsequently contact his French family, although there was no known ill-will between them.

British military career

Back in the UK, he remarried, on 3 September 1750, to Elizabeth Duckett (25 June 1724 - October 1804) at St. Mary Magdalen Old Fish Street, London. However, he soon returned to the service of the States General of the Netherlands, and was appointed Major-General of the Scotch Brigade. The first child of his second marriage was born in the Netherlands although later children would be born at their home in Kew.

To commemorate Granville Elliott in the Church of Rodheim (Germany)

On 21 April 1758, Elliott was made Major-General in the British Army,[1] and appointed Colonel of the 61st Regiment of Foot - The Glorious Glosters. That summer, he was a Staff Officer on the army expedition to St Malo, and, from 5 July 1758 to 31 August 1758, he received a short-term commission as Colonel and Lieutenant-General in the Dutch Army. The Seven Years' War had arrived, and Elliott's knowledge of continental warfare was significant. In early 1759, he returned to continental Europe, as part of a massive British army deployment. At the Battle of Minden, on 1 August 1759, he commanded the Cavalry Regiment under John Manners, Marquess of Granby. Manners was himself second in command to Sir George Sackville, who was later cashiered for his inaction at the battle. Despite this chain of command, Elliott saw significant action in battle, and was seriously wounded. He retired to convalesce at army headquarters in Rodheim an der Bieber, Gießen, Hesse, Germany, but died there 9 weeks later on 10 October 1759 from the wounds incurred. He was buried with military honours in the local 13th century church at Krofdorf on 12 October; Prince Ferdinand of Brunswick attended the funeral.[2] A brass commemorative plaque was erected during the 20th century by his British descendants in the church.

Light Cavalry was introduced into the British Army as a direct result of advice from General Granville Elliott.


Granville Elliott married twice.

Firstly, on 15 March 1735 at Mannheim, to Jeanne Thérèse du Han, Comtesse de Martigny (30 October 1707 – 7 May 1748), by whom he had at least six sons and a daughter.

Secondly, on 3 September 1750 at St. Mary Magdalen Old Fish Street, to Elizabeth Duckett (25 June 1724 - October 1804), by whom he had at least three sons and three daughters. Elizabeth was a niece of Sir George Duckett. Of the children of his second marriage, Francis Perceval Eliot and his descendants continued the family's close connection with British armed forces. Francis also re-established contact with his French half-siblings.


  1. Robert Beatson, A political index to the histories of Great Britain and Ireland (1788) vol. 1, p. 382.
  2. The Scots Magazine, vol. 21, October 1759, p. 558.
Military offices
Preceded by
New regiment
Colonel of the 61st Regiment of Foot
Succeeded by
Sir George Gray, 3rd Baronet
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