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Silver Mine (17th Century)

Site Name Silvermine

Classification Silver Mine (17th Century)

Alternative Name(s) Hilderston

Canmore ID 47939

Site Number NS97SE 34

NGR NS 989 716

Datum OSGB36 - NGR


Ordnance Survey licence number 100057073. All rights reserved.
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Administrative Areas

  • Council West Lothian
  • Parish Linlithgow
  • Former Region Lothian
  • Former District West Lothian
  • Former County West Lothian

Archaeology Notes

NS97SE 34 989 716.

(NS 9918 7167) Silver Mine (NAT) (filled up)

OS 25" map (1856)

Silver was first discovered at Hilderston in 1606. The proprietor of the ground was Sir Thomas Hamilton of Binny and Monkland, the King's Advocate. In January 1607, he took a lease from James VI to work the mine, but it was taken over by the King in 1608, the mine being described then as "apparently inexhaustible". In May 1608, 59 men were employed at the mine producing ore from the single shaft, called "the Blessing". In October 1608, the King imported 7 miners from Germany, and later in 1608, a further 35 Englishmen were employed. There were at least 7 shafts; the mouths of some can still be seen; they were the "Blissing Shaft", also called "Grace" and "Benison", the "Germans West and East Shafts", "Harlies Shaft", "A new shaft set down by David the German callit - Serve them all." Mention is also made in records of a "Long Shaft" and the Blak Shaft."

By 1610 the mine was proving less profitable than expected, and in 1613 it was let to a private firm. The precise date the mine was abandoned is not known, but it must have closed soon after 1614. The lease was renewed in 1870 by Mr Henry Aitken of Falkirk, some nickel ore having been recovered from the waste heaps, and in 1873 a deep shaft was sunk, but nothing was found. He tried again in 1896, clearing out the old Blessings Shaft, and the project proving unsuccessful, was abandoned in 1898.

H M Cadell 1925

NS 989 716. The silver mine was pointed out by Miss Shanks (custodian, Cairnpapple), a descendant of Henry Aitken. Three small depressions

are visible on the ground.

Visited by OS (JP) 13 August 1974.


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