Manuscript account book of the Hope family, 1662-1671 - lead-ores, Leadhills

Scope and Content

This key research resource is an important survival, being a manuscript account book detailing transactions - debits and credits - relating to the lead-ore company at Leadhills, operated by Sir John Hope of Craighall. Many important people are mentioned in this book, including Alexander Hope of London, Archibald Hope of Craighall, the Earl of Wigtown, the Duke of Hamilton, the Lord of Inglestone, Charles Erskine of Alba, Alexander Tait, Lady Marie Keith, the Earl of Crawford, Lord Mordington, Lord Cardcross, and Alexander Ross. The amounts involved are huge, with the account of revenues in hand running to over £70,000 towards the end of the period.

The manuscript volume itself is composed of a short alphabetic table of names, then from folio 1, accounts dating from 1 August 1662, Edinburgh, to 7 September 1671, Edinburgh, at folio 221. Towards the rear of the volume are another set of accounts and revenues and interests on 87 folios.

Administrative / Biographical History

The Scottish judge, Sir John Hope, Lord Craighall, was born around 1605 and was the eldest son of Sir Thomas Hope of Craighall, first baronet. He studied for the legal profession, became an advocate, and was knighted in 1632. In 1640 he was placed on the Committee of Estates appointed to provide for the defence of the country against King Charles I (the Committee of Estates had been appointed to govern Scotland when Parliament was not in session). In 1651, his brother Sir Alexander Hope was examined by the Committee of Estates for advising the King to surrender Scotland and Ireland to Cromwell, during which he quoted Sir John, Lord Craighall, as having stated that the King should 'treat with Cromwell for one-half of his coat before he lost the whole'. In 1652, Sir John was appointed as one of three Scottish judges who, together with five English judges, comprised Cromwell's committee responsible for the administration of justice.

Another brother, Sir James Hope (1614-1661), was a representative for Scotland in the English Parliament in 1653.

Sir John Hope, Lord Craighall, died in Edinburgh on 28 April 1654.

It had been Sir John Hope and Sir James Hope who in the 1660s had owned the lead-ore company at Leadhills in the Lowther Hills - an area along with Wanlockhead which yielded other ores too. Indeed gold was discovered in the area during the reign of James IV, when gold-mining had provided employment for 300 persons. Although gold-mining declined, the export of lead-ore from Leadhills was very important in the early modern Scottish economy, and the Hope family had built on their control of this industry to acquire property and land. The lead mines were profitable enough to justify building or improving roads the full 50 miles to Leith from which the ore could be exported to the Low Countries for smelting.

Access Information

Open to bona fide researchers but please contact the repository in advance of any visit.

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Acquisition Information

Manuscript volume purchased in 2008. Accession no: E2008.35.


The biographical/administrative history was compiled using the following material: (1) Stephen, Leslie. and Lee, Sidney (eds.). The dictionary of national biography. Vol. IX. Harris-Hovenden. London: Smith, Elder and Co., 1908.

Other Finding Aids

None created for this item.

Archivist's Note

Copiled by Graeme D. Eddie, Edinburgh University Library, Special Collections.

Related Material

Many of the other Hope records are now in the National Archives of Scotland (GD377).

Family Names

Geographical Names