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Silvermines

A locality in the Bathgate Hills of West Lothian, Silvermines lies 2 miles (3 km) north of Bathgate. As the name suggests, silver was once extracted here, along with lead and arsenic. The valuable metal was discovered in 1606 and the following year a mining lease was acquired from King James VI (1566 - 1625) by landowner Sir Thomas Hamilton (1563 - 1637). Having heard that it might prove highly productive, James VI repossessed the mine in 1608, compensating Hamilton with the sum of £5000, and it became known as King Jamie's Silver Mine. However it proved unprofitable and the Crown gave up the venture in 1613, with the suspicion that Hamilton had feathered his own nest. Mining restarted for a few years in the later 18th C. and evidence can still be seen in the form of disturbed ground. In the mid-19th C. extensive limestone works were developed here; namely the North Mine Lime Works and the South Mine Lime Works.


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