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Papers of John Lindsay, Lord Menmuir, concerning lead and copper mining in Scotland.

Identifier: Adv.MS.19.1.24

Scope and Contents

Lord Menmuir was appointed Master of the Metals and Minerals for life in 1592.

The papers are part of the Balcarres collection. They were bound in 1896, when it was not realised that they belonged to the collection.

The contents are as follows:

(i) Observations of Sir Archibald Napier of Merchiston on the Act of Parliament concerning metals, 1592. ‘Early records relating to mining in Scotland’, 73. Cf. Adv.MS.29.2.9, folio 17. (Folio 1.)

(ii) Extract from the Acts of the Privy Council of a contract between the King and Cornelius de Vois, 1567. ‘Early records relating to mining in Scotland’, 12; ‘The Register of the Privy Council of Scotland’, 1st series, i, 612. (Folio 3.)

(iii) Two copies of the account of lead ore weighed to Robert Johnston and his partners from October 1571 to February 1574/1575. (Folios 4-6.)

(iv) Account of lead ore by David Forrest, General of the Cunyie, to the Earl of Atholl and his factors, from January 1566/1567 to December 1570. (Folio 7.)

(v) Copy of a contract between James Hodgkinson, an English leadsmelter, and John Acheson, Master of the Mint, to smelt lead in Scotland. Canongate, 6 August, 1574. (Folio 8.)

(vi) Extract of tack in favour of George Douglas of Parkhead, of the leadmines of Glengonar and Wanlock. Aberdour, 27 August, 1576. (Folio 9 recto.)

(vii) Extract of letters appointing Walter Adamson aide to the Treasurer and comptroller of mines and minerals. Edinburgh, 20 April, 1590. (Folio 9 verso.)

(viii) Extract of Act of Parliament ratifying the contract between the King and Eustache Roche, 1584. ‘The Acts of the Parliaments of Scotland’, iii, 368. (Folio 10.)

(ix) Tack, signed by James VI, to George Douglas of Parkhead, of the leadmines at Glengonar. Holyrood, 1585. (Folio 14.)

(x) Copy of contract of Eustache Roche making Edward Barnecastell and Henry Lawson his partners in the mines. Edinburgh, 6 November, 1584. (Folios 16-19; the correct order should be folios 17-18, 16, 19.)

(xi) Copy of a decreet obtained at the instance of George Douglas of Parkhead, for registration of a contract dated 1585 between himself and Eustache Roche. Edinburgh, 17 February, 1587/1588. (Folio 20.)

(xii) Letter of Philip Vontmir (?), a metallurgist, possibly to Andrew Kneland, ‘inventor of Dalmahoy’. He has tested the samples and found lead but no silver, Klausthal, 7 February, 1587/1588. In German. (Folio 21.)

(xiii) Extract of an Act of Parliament creating the office of Master of the Metals and Minerals, and appointing Lord Menmuir. 1592. ‘The Acts of the Parliaments of Scotland’, iii, 538; ‘Early records relating to mining in Scotland’, 40. Cf. folios 35-37, 39. (Folio 22.)

(xiv) Letter of Richard Hog to Lord Menmuir. He has been to St Annaberg [?St Andreasberg] and delivered the ores to Charles Lon, who tested them. He and Lon tried to get metallurgists to come to Scotland, but they demand that their families are supported, and that they have free passage and keep. He recommends Lon. He is uncertain whether he himself will come to Scotland that year. Stralsund, 3 March, 1589/1590. (Folio 23.)

(xv) Memorandum concerning gold at Wanlock and lead at Easter Muir, and the comparative prices of lead in Scotland and Belgium, 1590. In French. (Folio 25.)

(xvi) Notes of Archibald Douglas for Lord Menmuir, concerning a memoir sent to England on the conditions relating to mining at Edzell. 21 August, 1592. (Folio 26.)

(xvii) Queries by Lord Menmuir about the working of the mines by Thomas Foulis. 13 [endorsed 20] September, 1592. (Folio 28.)

(xviii) Procuratory of Lord Menmuir to James Wemyss of Lathockar to authorise George Douglas of Parkhead to work the mines. Edinburgh, 3 December, 1593. (Folio 29.)

(xix) Copy of decreet of reduction of the contract of Eustache Roche. Edinburgh, 3 August, 1592. (Folio 30.)

(xx) Notarial instrument recording the execution by James Wemyss of Lathockar of the procuratory authorising George Douglas of Parkhead to work the mines. Edinburgh, 4 December, 1593. (Folio 31.)

(xxi) Royal letters of publication of the gift of iron-making granted to Lord Menmuir. Edinburgh, 9 August, 1594. (Folio 32.)

(xxii) Copy of commission by Lord Menmuir to Timothy Pont to visit mines and search for minerals in Orkney and Shetland, undated. ‘Scottish Studies’, xii (part 2), page 188. (Folio 33.)

(xxiii) Objections by Thomas Foulis to the Earl of Orkney’s infeftment of the right to metals in Orkney. 14 October, 1596. (Folio 34.)

(xxiv) Draft, with a few additions by Lord Menmuir, of the Act of Parliament creating the office of Master of the Metals and Minerals, [1592]. Cf. folio 22; ‘Acts of the Parliaments of Scotland’, iii, 356; ‘Early records relating to mining in Scotland’, 40. (Folios 35-37, 39; the correct order should be folios 39, 37, 36, 35.)

(xxv) Notes by Lord Menmuir on terms of weight, undated. In Latin and Scots. (Folio 38.)

(xxvi) Note of the result of assaying a metal in Denmark, undated. In Latin. (Folio 40.)

(xxvii) Regulations concerning the work of miners, endorsed `brocht out of France`, undated. (Folio 41.)

(xxviii) Charges against Master James, the moneyer, of which he was found guilty, undated. In Latin. (Folio 42.)

(xxix) List of lairds who should be charged with the working of their own mines, undated. (Folio 44.)

(xxx) Extract of letter of Archibald Douglas. He has had two pieces of mineral tested; one contained copper and the other was stone used for ornamental purposes. If the first sample was typical, it would be profitable to mine, depending on its distance from the sea and cost of transport. He asks for two barrels of ore to be sent for assaying, and enquires about the site and size of the mine, undated. (Folio 45.)

(xxxi) Copy of a letter of Thomas Foulis to his servant in Germany. He has received the letter from Brunswick, and learnt that his own letter sending diamonds and rubies from London has not arrived. Accuses him of failing to notice the chief points in connection with the copperworks - i.e. the characteristics of the veins and how to find them. Asks for details of methods of work, wages, type of ore, equipment, etc. He thinks his own furnace would be sufficient for any ore they might find [in Scotland]. Encourages him to stay in Germany until he is thoroughly expert on the subject. Further questions about the furnaces. He may ask the Queen to write to the Duke of Brunswick for an overseer of mining and a smelter, undated. (Folio 46.)


  • Creation: 1567-1596, and undated.

Language of Materials

German; French, Middle (circa 1300-1600) ; Latin; Scots


0.00 Linear metres (46 folios.)

Other Finding Aids

A copy of the original inventory to the Balcarres papers, signed by Thomas Ruddiman, then Underkeeper of the Library, is in MS.3581, folios 6-7.

Custodial History

The papers were presented to the Advocates Library in 1712, along with the rest of the Balcarres papers, by Colin, 3rd Earl of Balcarres.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Presented, 1925, by the Faculty of Advocates to the nation on the foundation of the National Library of Scotland.

Related Materials

Other parts of the Balcarres papers are:




The documents here are closely related to those forming the first part of Adv.MS.29.2.9.


‘Early records relating to mining in Scotland’, collected by Robert W Cochran-Patrick (Edinburgh, 1878).

‘Register of the Privy Council of Scotland’, 1st series (Edinburgh, 1877).

‘Acts of the Parliaments of Scotland’, edited by Thomas Thomson and Cosmo Innes (Edinburgh, 1814-1875).

‘Scottish Studies’, xii (part 2) (1968).
National Library of Scotland Catalogue of Manuscripts
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Repository Details

Part of the National Library of Scotland Archives and Manuscripts Division Repository

Archives and Manuscript Division
National Library of Scotland
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Edinburgh EH1 1EJ
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