The mines of argentiferous lead, belonging to Greenwich Hospital, London, were formerly of great value, and it was in order that royalties on the Alston lead mines and on those elsewhere in the county might be jointly collected that the parish was first included within the borders of Cumberland, in the 18th century.
On the death of Charles Alston in 1760, Cullen at the request of the students undertook to finish his course of lectures on materia medica; he delivered an entirely new course, which were published in an unauthorized edition in 1771, but which he re-wrote and issued as A Treatise on Materia Medica in 1789.
Mention may be made of the brilliant black crystals from Alston Moor in Cumberland, St Agnes in Cornwall and Derbyshire.
The principal English lead mines are in Derbyshire; but there are also mines at Allandale and other parts of western Northumberland, at Alston Moor and other parts of Cumberland, in the western parts of Durham, in Swaledale and Arkendale and other parts of Yorkshire, in Salop, in Cornwall, in the Mendip Hills in Somersetshire, and in the Isle of Man.
They had one child, a daughter, Theodosia, born in 1783, who became widely known for her beauty and accomplishments, married Joseph Alston of South Carolina in 1801, and was lost at sea in 1813.
His views were not, however, adopted at once by all, for we find Charles Alston stating arguments against them in his Dissertation on the Sexes of Plants.
Galena is met with at all places where lead is mined; of localities which have yielded finely crystallized specimens the following may be selected for mention: Derbyshire, Alston in Cumberland, Laxey in the Isle of Man (where crystals measuring almost a foot across have been found), Neudorf in the Harz, Rossie in New York and Joplin in Missouri.