LEADHILLS

" a mining village, in Crawford parish, S Lanarkshire, on Glengonner Water, ......... .

The highest village in Scotland - 1250 to 1412 feet above sea-level - ...... .

Since 1861 nearly every cottage has been either rebuilt or repaired, and their roofs of Welsh slate, their whitewashed walls, and their pretty flower-borders have greatly improved the aspect of the village.

Leadhills has a post office under Abington, with money order, savings bank and telegraph department, an hotel, a good water supply, a public school, an excellent public library (1741), a Good Templar lodge, a brass band, a volunteer corps, a curling club, and fairs on the second Friday of June and the last friday of October. The Ha', a shooting-lodge of the Earl of Hopetoun, is a large old mansion, one of its two wings has served since 1736 as an Established place of worship, and contains 500 sittings. "

Ordnance Gazetteer of Scotland 1883


Archives and Libraries

For family history research the  Museum of Leadmining in Wanlockhead has available:- Census Returns for Wanlockhead and Leadhills, Church records, Curling Club records, Bowling Club records, Library Society records and some information on births, marriages and deaths. Take the Virtual Tour.

It is understood that the Library in Leadhills holds various papers relating to days of the mining industry and which may be of use to family historians.

The Leadhills Miners Library holds a collection of original books together with a unique collection of the journals and bargain books back to the 1700's listing mining work that took place and the names of which miners took the bargains. Also holds lists of miners and graveyard details of the older graves, along with the census returns.

Other research facilities exist in the City of Glasgow (but note that these facilites only cover the Leadhills/Lanarkshire up to the border with Dumfriesshire - research of ancestors in Wanlockhead/Dumfriesshire will require visits to Dumfries or, for birth/marriage/death records, to Edinburgh).

Bibliography

Business and Commerce Records

In the (Leadhills) neighbourhood gold is to be found over a district measuring about 25 by 12 miles. The gold mines of Crawford Muir are said to have been discovered in the reign of James IV ..... . The celebrated 'bonnet pieces' of James V were made from this gold;.... . In 1542, 35 ounces of it were used in the manufacture of a crown for the Queen, and 46 ounces in the manufacture of that for the King, ..... . After that it (gold production) fell off very rapidly and now the quantity found is ..... small ..... .

Ordnance Gazetteer of Scotland 1883

Cemeteries

Census

Church History

Dates of Old Parish Registers
b.1698-1854
m. nil
d. nil

Church Records

Description and Travel

You may care to visit Wanlockhead on the GENUKI site for Dumfriesshire

You can see pictures of Leadhills which are provided by:

Gazetteers

Ask the GENUKI Gazetteer for a calculation of the distance from Leadhills to another place.

Historical Geography

History

Just up the road from the village of Leadhills, and just over the border into Dumfriesshire, is Wanlockhead - the highest village in Scotland. Here can be found the Museum of Leadmining where the exhibits, guided tours and multi-media presentations will give you a taste of how mining families lived and worked in the period between 1740 and 1890. The village Heritage Trail includes the Miner's Graveyard and the Miner's Church

Wanlockhead is on the B797 road between the villages of Abington (A/M74) and Sanquhar (A76). The museum is open daily from April to October 11am to 4.30pm with the last tour of the Lochnell Mine commencing at 4pm. As a very good second best to actually visiting the museum, click here to take a look at the museum's very informative web site.

Maps

You can see maps centred on OS grid reference NS885147 (Lat/Lon: 55.413532, -3.762833), Leadhills which are provided by:

Occupations

Lead Mining Museum, just a couple of miles up the road, is the place to go for more background to the gold industry. 

LEAD MINING

Lead mining in the vale of Glengonner Water is heard of as long ago as 1239, and possibly was carried on in the times of the Roman domination ..... . The ores, however, were little known till 1517, nor were they begun to be vigourously and systematically worked till the beginning of the 17th century; but from then on until now they have continued to be worked with little interruption. In 1820 the Leadhills mines produced about 1400 tons of lead ..... but they afterwards so declined that the annual output was only from 700 to 800 tons. Since 1861, however, they have much revived under the Leadhills Mining Company, the outputs of dressed lead in 1878 and 1881 being 1350 and 1805 tons ..... .

Ordnance Gazetteer of Scotland 1883

If you can get to the area, the Wanlockhead Museum gives a flavour of this industry and the lives of those who worked in it. As a very good second best click here to take a look at the museum's web site.

THE RAILWAYS

The railways came to Leadhills in 1902, when the Caledonian Railway built a line to carry the produce of the lead mines of the Wanlockhead and Leadhills areas to be processed in the Central Belt of Scotland. With the demise of the mines, the railways lost their main purpose for existing although passenger traffic on the line continued until 1939..

Today, railway enthusiasts have formed the Leadhills and Wanlockhead Railway with the intension of building an operating line between the two villages. At present a station exists in Leadhills and the line runs out as far as the Dumfriesshire border.

The chairman of the group spent some of his youth living in Leadhills and has memories of the original light railway which he has used to research and write a book which is available from the group - see their web-site for contact information.

Population

Year Population
1831 ----
1841 ----
1851 ----
1861 ----
1871 ----
1881 ----
1891 ----

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