The Lady Manners’ Scar and the Susanna Mine

The workings of the Susanna Vein, one of the great metal mines of Britain, is indicated by the great scar on the hillside known as Lady Manners’ Scar.

General views of Lady Manners’ Scar

The mine was originally worked by Thomas Foulis during the 16th Century and the scar probably represents opencast workings on the vein. By 1637, Anna Foulis (probably a granddaughter or grand neice of Thomas Foulis) had become the sole heiress of the Leadhills mines.  In 1638, Anna married James Hope and it was through this marriage that the mines at Leadhills passed to the Hope family – later of Hopetoun.  James Hope started mining in April 1641.  He acquired great mining expertise and personally managed the mines.  He continued the working of the Susanna Vein which was then known as the Poutshiell.  James Hope in his mining journal records on 14 May 1641:

‘This day also I fell upon a great stone of pure metall

above 3 stones weght (qch I have as yet to the fore) in the

Litle maners qch is a gutter or scarr in the hillsyde

upon the north side off the burne above Weirs Schacht

in the poutsheill it is the upmost and lesser off the tuo that are

thair (qroff the most and midmost is Called the Lady maners)’ 

The opencast workings. Susanna Vein outcropped on the right hand side of the medial ridge and dipped at c.45 degrees down to the right. Each platform of dump material marks mine entrances at different levels of working the vein.

By the 1730s the Hopetoun family had leased the Susanna Mine to the Scots Mines Company who worked it throughout the 18th Century.  It became famous as one of the richest veins worked in Scotland.  It was worked to a depth of 750 feet (229 metres) below the scar and lead ore up to 14 feet (4 metres) width was encountered. It was one of the technological wonders of 18th Century industrial Scotland in terms of enterprise, machinery employed and investment.

Longitudinal section of the Susanna Mine, c.1790. The stopes where the lead ore occurred is shown in yellow. Each square is 50×50 feet. (Ref: HHP 133).

Transverse section showing underground waterwheels for pumping and winding. (Ref. HHP 133).

While it is not known why the scar was known as the Lady Manners’ Scar, the Susanna Vein appears to have acquired the name about the time that the mine was leased to the Scots Mines Company.  It is likely that the mine was named after the beautiful Susanna Kennedy, Countess of Eglinton (1690-1780) to whom Allan Ramsay, born in Leadhills, dedicated his ‘Gentle Shepherd‘.

The Susanna Mine is famous worldwide for the discovery there in the late 18th to early 19th of lead mineral species new to science.  These minerals were analysed in 1819 by Henry Brooke and named sulphato-carbonate of lead, sulphato-tri-carbonate of lead and cupreous sulphato-carbonate of lead. These were renamed in 1832, as lanarkite, leadhillite, caledonite respectively by the French mineralogist, Francois Beudant.  A similar fourth mineral, Susannite, was described in 1845.

Lanarkite from the Susanna Mine. (NMS specimen, 1991.3.35).

Specimens from the Susanna Mine can be seen in museums all over the world and are much sought after especially since good specimens have not been obtainable since the mine was briefly reopened in 1869.

Today the original opencast, mine shafts, level mouths, lines of watercourses for machinery, the water wheel pit and much more are still there to view. The surface remains of the Susanna Mine are thus well worth preserving.