Wanlockhead

   WANLOCKHEAD, a mining-village, in the parish of Sanquhar, county of Dumfries, 6 miles (E. N. E.) from Sanquhar; containing 773 inhabitants. This place is situated at the eastern extremity of the county, bordering on Lanarkshire, and upon the small river Wanlock, from which it takes its name. It appears to have had its origin in the discovery of some valuable veins of lead-ore by Cornelius Hardskins, a native of Germany, who, with 300 of his countrymen, was, during the minority of James VI., employed by the master of the English mint, under Queen Elizabeth, in searching for gold among the hills in the immediate vicinity. After gold had been found to the value of £100,000, the works were discontinued as not remunerating the expenses; but even within the last few years, small quantities of gold have been discovered in the bottoms of the glens, occurring in a granular form among the rocks, mixed with sand and gravel. The lead-mines, which are the property of the Duke of Buccleuch, were opened in the year 1680 by Sir James Stampfield, and subsequently continued by Mr. Matthew Wilson, who extended the workings from Whitcleuch to the Wanlock river. In 1755, Messrs. Ronald Crawford, Meason, and Company, entered upon the concern, which has since been conducted with great spirit. This company erected no less than five steam-engines for carrying off the water, of the aggregate power of 268 horses; but the expense of supplying the engines with coal, brought from a distance of nearly twelve miles, so diminished the profits, that they were subsequently replaced by a water-pressure engine, which answers the purpose at a reduced cost. From the fall in the price of lead in 1829 and 1830, scarcely more than 1000 tons were raised during those two years, though previously the quantity had been large; the number of persons at present employed in the works is about 200, and they earn on an average about £20 per annum each. The village, which is within a mile of the works at Leadhills, in the county of Lanark, has an elevation of nearly 1500 feet above the level of the sea, and is inhabited chiefly by miners and others connected with the lead-works. A subscription library has been established, which has now a collection of 2000 volumes. A church, or preaching-station, in connexion with the Established Church, is also maintained for the accommodation of the inhabitants by the Duke of Buccleuch, who pays the minister's stipend, and likewise the salary of the master of a school for the instruction of the children of the village. The members of the Free Church have a place of worship; and there is also a female school, established and endowed by the noble proprietor at the close of the year 1845.

A Topographical dictionary of Scotland. . 1856.

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