LEADHILLS, an ecclesiastical district, within the parish of Crawford, Upper ward of the county of Lanark; containing about 1200 inhabitants, of whom 950 are in the village, 18 miles (W. N. W.) from Moffat. The village derives its name from its situation in an interesting valley surrounded by hills that abound with mineral produce, of which the principal is lead-ore; the hills are generally covered with heath, and towards the south-east form a lofty ridge, rising to an elevation of very nearly 2500 feet above the level of the sea. From the summit of this ridge is an imposing and richly-diversified prospect, embracing the Solway Frith, the Isles of Arran and Man, and the mountains of Skiddaw, Ben-Lomond, and Helvellyn, with the whole range of the Pentland hills. The village is of peculiar appearance, the houses, which are chiefly inhabited by persons employed in the mines, being placed on eminences, or a kind of terraces. The principal mansion of importance is the Hall, a seat of the Earl of Hopetoun, whose family take their title from this place, formerly called Hopetoun; it is an ancient structure, and one of the wings has been converted into a chapel. The house, also, belonging to the representative of the Scottish Mining Company, is a handsome building in tastefully-disposed pleasure-grounds, surrounded by thriving plantations of beech, larch, mountain and common ash, elm, and other trees. A library established in 1741 is well supported, and has a collection of nearly 2000 volumes. The lands near the village are not by nature fertile; but a considerable part of them has been brought into profitable cultivation by spade labour, and good crops of potatoes, with hay and summer grass, are raised by the industry of the persons working in the mines, to whom the proprietor gives portions of land rent-free.
   The mineral district extends about three miles in length and two miles and a half in breadth, and consists of a substratum of greywacke and greywacke-slate combined with transition clay-slate, in which most of the mineral ores are deposited. The chief veins of lead run in a south and north direction, with a dip of one foot in three, and have produced large quantities of ore. Mines of lead are believed to have been wrought here by the Romans, an opinion partly confirmed by the fact of one of their principal roads having passed through the parish, and by the remains of Roman camps, of which several may be distinctly traced in this and the adjoining parish. The chief mines at present in operation are those of High-Work, Meadow-Head, and Brow: that of Susannah, after having been worked to the depth of 140 fathoms, has been discontinued, the low price of lead being insufficient to remunerate the expense of sinking to a greater depth. The average produce of the mines is 500 tons annually, valued at about £8000. The common galena ore is that chiefly raised; but there are several veins of green, yellow, and black ore, sulphate and sulpho-tricarbonates of lead, and phosphate and earthy lead ores; and copper and iron pyrites, malachites, azure copper-ore, grey manganese, blende, and calamine are also found. In the various veins are likewise discovered quartz, calcareous and brown spar, and sparry ironstone; silver is found in the lead-ore, though in very small proportions; and gold occurs in all the streams that intersect the district. In the 16th century several men were, by permission of the Scottish regent, employed in searching for gold, of which considerable quantities were collected, and sent to Edinburgh, to be coined, or manufactured into different ornaments. Specimens of native gold, weighing some ounces, were at times discovered; but of late few have been found weighing more than half an ounce, and these are now of very rare occurrence. There are also considerable lead-works at Wanlockhead, in Dumfriesshire, not more than a mile distant from this place. A post-office has for many years been established in the village; the post is daily, and facility of intercourse with the neighbouring towns is maintained by good roads. Fairs are held on the second Friday in June, and the last Friday in October; the principal articles are provisions and merchandise, for the supply of the inhabitants. The district of Leadhills was separated from the parish for ecclesiastical purposes by an act of the General Assembly in 1834, but has now ceased to exist as a quoad sacra parish: the minister has a regular stipend paid by the Earl of Hopetoun and the Mining Company, with a house. The church is adapted for a congregation of 850 persons. A school has been established for more than a century, and is attended by about 100 children; the master receives a salary from the earl and the company. Allan Ramsay was a native of Leadhills.

A Topographical dictionary of Scotland. . 1856.

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