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This cache is part of the Village Signs series of geocaches.
Village Signs - No.58 Leadhills
HISTORY OF THE VILLAGE
Lead has been mined in these hills since the 13th century, and the last shaft in the area was closed as recently as 1959. The hills also yield gold and in the 16th and 17th centuries a number of adventurers obtained patents to search for precious metals. Gold for the 'bonnet pieces' and for the crowns of James VI and his Queen came from the 'Leade Hilles' and more recently, a ring of Leadhills gold was presented to the late Queen Mary. The mace for the new Scottish Parliament has a thick band of gold around it that was panned in this area, and donated to Parliament by the gold panners who pan in the Leadhills and Wanlockhead area.
One of the earliest references to Leadhills can be found in 'Register of the Great Seal of Scotland.' Vol IX 1660-1668 entry for 2nd October 1661.
A Charter confirming contract of marriage between William, now Duke of Hamilton therein designed William of Selkirk and Anna, Duchess of Hamilton
Granting said Duke and Heirs all mines of gold, silver, copper, lead and tin incorporating the said lands, barony, mines etc. into one free barony to be called Barony of Hopetoun and erecting the town of Leadhills otherwise Hopetoun into a free burgh of barony with right of free markets on Saturday or on any other weekday or place within the said barony as may seem expedient to the said Duke and his foresaids with power also of holding two fairs annually within the said burgh or barony, the one on the last day of May and the other on 20th October.
The Lowther Hills were a stronghold of the Covananters, and many secret Coventicles were held in these remote hills.
On one occasion, the minister and others were arrested, but before the dragoons could take them through the Enterkin Pass, the men from nearby Wanlockhead joined there fellows from Leadhills to effect a rescue.
In 1734 James Stirling was engaged as mine manager by the Scots Mining Company who held a lease from the landowner, the Earl of Hopetoun.
Stirling, who combined mathematical genius with a shrewd business sense had fled from Italy with a price on his head after trying to discover the secrets of the Venetian glass-makers. At that time the Scots Mining Company was on the verge of bankruptcy but, by proper management and by attending to the welfare of the miners Stirling managed to restore prosperity. The miners hours underground were reduced to six daily, a health insurance plan was started and a surgeon engaged. The men were encouraged to build strong stone cottages and to keep gardens; the school was inproved and, so that leisure could be put to good use, the Leadhills Miners Reading Society was founded in 1741 and is the oldest subscription library in Britain
In the graveyard at Leadhills can be found the grave of John Taylor who died in 1770 and believed to be 137 years old.
The village now:
Leadhills is part of the Hopetoun Estate and is in a conservation area. Following the closure of the last mines in the 1930's the prosperity of the village declined leading to dereliction of some of the properties. However Leadhills presents a different picture now, the population is increasing, houses are being rebuilt and renovated resulting in many young families taking up residence here.
There is an active village life and amenities which include a village shop,toddlers group, the school, and the highest hotel in Scotland
Leadhills which is one of 'Scotlands High Places' is ideally placed for touring. Glasgow, Edinburgh, the coast and Loch Lomond are little more than an hours drive away and the Galloway Peninsula is well worth exploring with its mountains, lochs and abundant wild life. Burns described the river Nith as "the most beautiful river in Scotland"
The village sign depicts the Curfew Bell that stands in the middle of the village.
This cache is a clip-lock box with room for travellers and swaps It is near the village sign and due to the fact that this location is so open and over looked stealth will be required. Please be careful to place back exactly where you find it.
If anybody would like to expand this series please do. I would just ask that you let SmokeyPugs know first so they can keep track of the Village Sign numbers and names to avoid duplication.
(No hints available.)
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Coordinates are in the WGS84 datum