Speculation on Armstrong History
From the Clan Armstrong Trust “Have You Heard” Feb 2015 with edits for space limitations
Working for the Clan Armstrong Trust resulted in the late Joe Armstrong of Gateshead
becoming somewhat of a historian, encouraged by Trust colleagues who honed his interest into
an ‘inquiring’ mind as well as an ‘enquiring’ mind.
Joe found that one of the recurring problems faced was from folk who insist on telling ‘tall
tales’ of Armstrong Lords in Liddesdale many of them claiming descent from those ‘Lords’.
Many of the myths originate in one particular book, ‘The Chronicles of the Armstrongs’. It is
in this 1902 publication that James Lewis Armstrong mentions “The Ten Lords of Mangerton”
which somehow became a sort of catechism. In fact, the ONLY Lord Armstrong of Liddesdale
identified by Joe of Gateshead is Lord Robert Armstrong of Ilminster, the Trust Patron.
Joe found, when publishing his findings, that he became embroiled in discussions on social
media, and in other communications, with folks who took him to task for shooting down their
cherished beliefs, quoting all kinds of ‘strange facts’ to justify their beliefs. One of those
beliefs, also originating from the ‘Chronicles’, was that the name Mangerton (pronounced
MAIN-GER-TUN and NOT MAN-GER-TUN) the seat of the Armstrong Chiefs, carries the
meaning “Hand Weapon Town”. Think again !!!!
The City of Antwerp, Holland is correctly called “ANTWERPEN” and it was originally
called “HANDWERPEN” which, in the English language translates as “Hand throwing”.
Legend has it that a former Roman Emperor saved the town in a crisis by defeating a giant
and a statue in the town depicts the Roman Emperor throwing away the giants hand. It is
obvious that it is an allegorical account of a real event and through time the “Hand” of the name
has derived into “Ant”.
I hear you say “What has this got to do with the Armstrongs, and Mangerton?” Historians
have found that in years gone by that Dutch and Scottish – North East England names, dialects,
languages were very much alike. Many Dutch words still have parallels in the north country
speak even to this day and likewise the Dutch language is full of words used in Tyneside and
along the border between Scotland and England.
Joe found that the simplest answer to most problems is normally the best, and the most
accurate. “MANGERTON”, if you look in a dictionary you will see ‘manger’ described as ‘ a
trough used for the feeding of cattle’ from the French verb ‘manger – to eat’.
‘Ton’ in this context is a derivation of ‘town’. In days gone by it was standard practice for a
Lord of the Manor, Chief, or head of family to feed his men, their families and their animals.
The custom of ‘feasting retainers’ in times of plenty, and helping in times of hardship, goes
back to ancient Scandinavian and North European traditions where a head of family fed his
followers and in times of trouble they in turn would rally to his standard to support him against
his enemies. Is it therefore difficult to accept that the “manger-town” was exactly that? A place
where those who hired the Armstrongs, allowed them to graze their beasts on the land of their
feudal lord, and allowed them to eat at his table when invited.
It would be difficult to “prove” the origin of the meaning of ‘Mangerton’, as discussed above,
it is a high probability that the above conclusion is valid.
My name is Mark Stephen Elliott, and after two generations of research have been able to research my family to Gorrenberry, Scotland ancestral land of my forefathers, where a proposed Infinis Windy Edge wind farm is to be placed near the greatest historical antiquity of border reiver around the world that of The Hermitage Castle.
It is the land of William Elwald of Gorrenberry, which assisted the receiving of land of Robert Elwald of Redheugh and Lariston, in the later part of the sixteenth century. Though many were there, but the Armstrong were missing, because the Edschaw/Branxholm/Buccleuch, family of Scot at the request of Archibald “Bell the Cat” Douglas, obtained stewarded ship of the Mangerton lands from the Laird, though lairdship is known by land ownership, the Mangerton Armstrong was always known by the Elwald/Ellot as The Laird.
Trying to bring my family which was split at the time of The Union of The Crowns back together again, an I know what the Armstrong support the most is family.
Have to deal with a couple of brother-in-laws, and sometimes they can be somewhat difficult.
The first is Keith Elliot Hunter, which has family of Elliot and Crosar, and his family is also of Gorrenberry. He does not seem to believe me when I say my family is from Gorrenberry also, and it seems we own the land before we were banished from both kingdoms in 1607, and moved on to the Ulster Plantation, then the land was acquired by the Buccleuch family. The land was inclusive of Gorrenberry of William Elwald, and Braidley once of the William Douglas the Barony of Cavers, of which a Martin Ellot abide on and the Gorrenberry gang became branch of his group. He lead the Ellot Clan as a minor son to a Robert of Redheugh. Do not think today’s chief things much of us. We were banished and the family was disgrace, much like should I say the Armstrong.
In 1541 we it is felt the Armstrong, the Redheugh and Gorrenberry Elwald, and Clement Crosar, help resettled nine by the surname Hunter into an area near Fernihirst Castle. It was a good time bringing these Hunter into Scotland, because the families were then working together, and it is hope they will do it again someday.
This is the history Keith has written for Clan Elliot in the UK.
Because this did not represent my history, a Clement Crosar listed above adopted my many great Hob (Robert) Elwald/Ellot, and he became known as Clement’s Robert or Clementis Hob of Gorrenberry, had a second son Andrew alias Dan, and became Daniel in the Ulster Plantation after he was banish for both kingdoms in 1607. He rode for Buccleuch, and likely being of Danish blood had fair skin. It seem like the Buccleuch Scot which had a young person riding with them from my family line always wanted to call them because they were fair like a Fairbairn, were called Sweet Milk. Would say today’s clan chief is fair.
The next brother-in-law having some difficulties with is the husband of today’s Elliot Clan chief. He is and executive in and wind farm company, also lined to the Kerr Clan chief and Cessford (-Ker)/Duke of Roxboughe. He has previous experience with the army, and with MI6, so he is into covert activities.
Being experience in covert activities, and in a corporate position, he was able to to pressure on a university in northern Scotland, for an Armstrong which concurs with me on the transfer of Mangerton lands to Buccleuch and linked the Elwald and Armstrong together.
In other words he nicked an Armstrong and I as an Elliott am bleeding.
The father of Clementis Hob, was an Andrew Elwald/Ellot, who was hidden away, because of accusations of being in on the slaughter of a Hugh Douglas by the Buccleuch family land of Baillillie, in the region of the Scott.
But, he would move down to Gorrenberry to live with son Clamentis Hob, and Archie Keen (Ellot the wise), his half brother, but come out at night to help the family out but doing chores, but this would bring on some sounds in the night. To protect Andrew from being captured by nearby Douglas they made up a story and referred to him as Cowie. His oldest son Andrew (alias Dan the Kow/Cow), was Burgess of Shelkirk.
Today’s clan chief’s family is born of Redheugh, but claiming lineage of Horseleyhill by Gilbert, claiming his father to be Gavin older brother to Archie Keen, and half brother to Andrew who is a young brother to William and Robert.
Gilbert is the line which acquired Stobs from the Horseleyhill line. William the oldest rode under the shield of Gorrenberry, the same shield as described in The Chronicles as the Elwald to become the Elwood shield out of York; the old shield of the line. Redheugh adopted a new shield with an elwand on it. Sometimes the Redheugh family as The Chronicles describe were called Elwand or Elwandis which means of the elwand. An elwand is an Scottish Edinburgh standard of measurement for length, later it became the English London Imperial yard, and now it is the French metre. One who was referred to as an elwandis is one which belonged to measurement, such as myself, who once surveyed, and utilize maps. With a contour map would read the shape of the contours, where a lot of names of localities are taken, and for where Mangerton Tower is located, it is located in a region shaped like a manger, given and area near the Liddel were the livestock could feed, this region may have been called manger town which evolved into Mangerton.
Since today’s Clan Elliot of the United Kingdom unlike The Chronicles does not recognize the Elwald/Ellot line, for myself unlike military intelligence, my cover has been created by what people want to believe. As with my many great grandfather today utilizing the internet to border reive, I get to be also The Cowie of Gorrenberry.
In the symbolisms of the early Scot, Liddel/Little, and Armstrong, one finds the star and crescent moon, on the Elwood/Elwald one finds stars and a stag like the Scot have.
Buccleuch at the time of the Union is of the Armstrong, and did not want to have anything to do with displacing them. The first Buccleuch left for the Netherlands. Likely the only reason his family ended up with land stewardship, was because the people referred to as Scot were the largest grouping in a land called Scotland, and they needed someone to take stewardship of the land, and the land holding kept on growing. In the United States we have an antiquities act to protect our historical antiquities, and I have to depend on Buck to protect my ancestral homeland, but he is loosing his property base, so the best for right now is the Clan Armstrong Trust.
The Buccleuch family of Northumberland has lost a court case to the chiefs of the Elliot and Kerr Clans and Cessford (Roxburghe), which are linked to the same wind power corporation. This Kerr-Scott feud is taking place in a covert fashion, but I am siding with family, not corporate power, that of the Armstrong, and Buccleuch, and maybe one of these days my family of Stobs will understand for the protection of historical antiquities in the ancestral lands of the borders I am standing with them also.
Do not have to express numbers by the indirect communications the Clan Armstrong Trust knows the strongest border army once along the strand of the Liddel Water the Armystrand, and noted being four times numbers of the Elwald/Ellot, the strongest army in the region known as the Armistrang or strong army, then as on their newly adopted shield which they began to be called by in accordance to The Chronicles, the Armstrong.
Today each Armstrong is a force upon oneself making independent decisions in support of one’s family and the family of Armstrong the United Kingdom Armstrong are proceeding, with knowing they act in similar fashion with other Armstrong, but having to act independent because a single group can be stamped out, but singular actions though small result in a powerful and positive affect of the Armstrong collective.
Mark Elliott 3/2/2015