|Born||Baptised 1 January 1740
|Resting place||All Saints churchyard, Madeley, Staffordshire, England|
|Monuments||In All Saints churchyard, Stretton-on-Dunsmore|
|Known for||Improvements to land drainage|
|Relatives||George Elkington (grandson)|
|Awards||£1,000 and gold ring|
While farming at Princethorpe, Warwickshire he devised a way of using boreholes to drain boggy land. For this innovation, and concerned that his frail health would result in the loss of his knowledge before it was shared, parliament awarded him, in 1795, £1,000 and a gold ring, Edinburgh land surveyor James Johnstone (d. 1838) was employed by the Board of Agriculture to study Elkington's methods.
Elkington subsequently worked in partnership with Lancelot "Capability" Brown to develop drainage plans for the latter's landscaping schemes, starting with one at at Fisherwick Park near Lichfield.
Elkington was the eldest son of Joseph Elkington (1697–1758), a yeoman farmer, and Mary, née Gallimore (died 1750). He had epilepsy. He married Sarah Webb (baptised 1738, died 1821), daughter of Richard and Mary, on 26 December 1760. Nine of their children survived Elkington. His grandson was the industrialist George Elkington. He died at Hay House on 17 October 1806 and was buried in the churchyard at All Saints, Madeley on 20 October. A monument to him in All Saints churchyard, Stretton-on-Dunsmore, calls him a "pioneer of land drainage".
- Johnstone, James (1841). Account of the Mode of Draining Land According to the System Practised by Mr Joseph Elkington (5 ed.).
- Holland, Christopher John; Langley, Anne D.; Moore, Adam (2006). Joseph Elkington: Warwickshires Land Drainage Pioneer. Stretton Millennium History Group. ISBN 9780953746248.
- H. S. Torrens, ‘Elkington, Joseph (bap. 1740, d. 1806)’, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, 2004; online edn, May 2009 accessed 16 Feb 2013
- Upton, Chris (2013-02-15). "Farm engineer Joseph Elkington was an expert in his field". Birmingham Post. Retrieved 2013-02-16.