Home > John Elliott - A Monument to him at Ripon Cathedral

The family of Captain James Cook


On my way to the CCS regional meeting in the UK in 2004 I called in at Ripon, Yorkshire. There I visited the cathedral to see the monument inside to John Elliott.


He had sailed as midshipman on Resolution on the Second Voyage, recording, "Leave England with Cook - 13th July, 1772. Not yet 14 years old, and the youngest person in the Ship, except Mr Vancouver."


His memoirs were "written by himself at the request of his wife for the use, and amusement of his Children only."


John Elliott was born in Helmsley on 11th January 1759, one of four children. His parents lived beyond their means so he went to live with his grandmother Martha Wilkinson at the age of 7/9 yrs at Marton le Moor, near Boroughbridge. He later went to school at Dishforth before uncle John Wilkinson placed him at a school of navigation.

From 1775 to 1779 Elliott was in the service of the East India Company; he then returned to the Navy and, after passing for Lieutenant, was appointed to HMS Ajax; he was super-annuated with the rank of Commander in 1814 and died in 1834. He lived for a time at Elliott House, now Holmefield House, in Harrogate Road in Ripon. He died in 1844.

Ripon Cathedral is the oldest in England. St Wilfrid built the first church on this site in 672. It has a literary link with "Alice's Adventures in Wonderland" and "Through the Looking-glass" by Lewis Caroll, the pen-name of Charles Dodgson. His father, also Charles, was a canon here, and the author was probably inspired by some of the fanciful medieval carvings, such as one in which a griffin chases a rabbit down a hole.

Elliott's memorial is near the Tudor font in the nave south aisle. When was erected? Was some of the inscription added later? The last line looks as though it might have been added after the rest.

Click any image for a larger version

The West Door of Ripon Cathedral

The Tudor font on the left, and the two Elliott memorials on the middle wall

The memorial to John Elliott, his wife and children

"To the Memory of the late John Elliott Esqr. of Elliott House, near Ripon, Commander, R.N.
having entered the naval service of his country early in life, he circumnavigated
the globe as a midshipman in the Resolution under the command of the command of the celebrated
Capt. Cook. He subsequently served as a Lieut. of the Ajax, of 74 guns: and was present in
Lord Rodney's glorious action, on the 12th April, 1782; in which he was severely wounded.
He resided at Elliott House many years, greatly respected for his strict integrity and
uprightness, in all the relations of life. He was born Jany. 11th 1759 and died Sept.17th 1834.
Also to the memory of Isabella Elliott, his beloved wife, who was born Novr. 22nd 1762;
and died July 9th 1841; generally respected for her amiability and domestic virtues.
Likewise to the memory of the following children of the above.
Charles Frederick Elliott, born May 17th 1790; and died January 4th 1791.
Gilbert Elliott, born February 13th 1795; and died May 17th 1795.
Maria Elliott, born November 14th 1797; and died September 3rd 1800.
Charles Bowes Elliott, born July 25th 1791; and died at Durham, November 2nd 1801.
Charlotte Eleanor Elliott, born October 4th 1803; and died April 17th 1812.
Frederick Edmund Elliott, born November 1st 1808; and died June 18th 1821.
Maria, the beloved wife of the Rev. William Hough, incumbent of Hambleton, in
the county of Lancaster, born Octr 18th 1802; and died deeply lamented, Novr 18th 1844.
Sibbella born June 28th 1789: died May 17th 1850"

Elliott House, now Holmefield House, in Harrogate Road, Ripon


Ian Boreham


  1. See Cook's Log, page 20, vol. 27, no. 2 (2004)
  2. See Cook's Log, page 1419, vol. 20, no. 3 (1997)
  3. See Cook's Log, page 13, vol. 26, no. 2 (2003)

Originally published in Cook's Log, page 32, volume 30, number 2 (2007).


The following photos were not published in the journal.


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