Elizabeth "Bessie" Surtees (1754-1831)
Elizabeth "Bessie" Surtees, daughter of a wealthy banker, and John Scott, later 1st Earl of Eldon, famously eloped against their families wishes in 1772. Leaving Bessie's House on Sandhill in Newcastle, the couple made their escape on horseback up Dog Leap Stairs, to marry in Scotland. The marriage was officially blessed two months later at St. Nicholas's Church.
Elizabeth "Bessie" Scott, Countess of Eldon (c.1750 – 28 June 1831), formerly Elizabeth "Bessie" Surtees, was the wife of John Scott, 1st Earl of Eldon.
She was the daughter of Aubone Surtees, a banker of Newcastle-upon-Tyne, and his wife, the former Elizabeth Stephenson, and married Scott in Blackshiels, Scotland, on 19 November 1772. The marriage was officially blessed two months later at St. Nicholas's Church, Newcastle-upon-Tyne. The couple had eloped when the earl, who was from a relatively poor Newcastle family, was training to be a clergyman. His occupation as a curate was inadequate to keep a wife and trained instead as a lawyer. His success both in law and business was such that by the 1790s he was wealthy enough to buy the Eldon estate near Sedgefield, but the couple did not live there.
The couple had three, or possibly four, children:
- Lady Elizabeth Scott (c.1790-1862), who married George Stanley Repton, son of the landscape gardener Humphry Repton, and had children
- Lady Frances Jane Scott (died 1838), who married the Reverend Edward Bankes and had children
- Hon. John Scott, MP (1774-1805), who married Henrietta Elizabeth Ridley and had one child, John, who succeeded his grandfather as Earl of Eldon
- Hon. William Henry John Scott, MP (c.1794-1832)