Edinburgh Bookshelf

Old and New Edinburgh Vol. VI


Newhaven. ] HISTORICAL ASSOCIATIONS. 299 Newhaven was deemed a place of much more importance in those days,than it has been in subsequent times. Thus, in 1554, the works then occupied the attention of the Provost and Council repeatedly. In February that year A500 was given for timber to repair the harbour, to be taken with a portion of the tax laid on the town for building forts upon the Borders ; and in 1555 we read of timber again for Newhaven, brought there by Robert Quintin, but which was sold by the advice of Sir William Macdowall, master of the works. (?Burgh Records??) In the Burgh Account, under date 1554-5, we find some references to the locality, thus t ?Item, the vj day of July, 1555, for cords to bind and hang the four Inglismen at Leyth and Newhaven, iijs. ? Item, geven to Gorge Tod, Adam Purves, and ane servand, to mak ane gibbet at Newhaven, in haist and evil wedder (weather), 4s. ? Item, for garroun and plansheour naillis, xxd. ? Item, for drink to them at Newhaven, vj4 ?Item, to twa workmen to beir the wrychtis lomis to the Newhevin and up again, and to beir the work and set up the gibbet, xxd.? In the same year extensive works seem to have been in operation, as, by the Burgh Accounts, they appear to have extended from August to November, under Robert Quintin, master of the works. The entries for masons? wages, timber work, wrights? wages, ? on Saiterday at evin to thair supperis,? are given in regular order. John Arduthy in Leith seems to have contracted for the ? standarts to the foir face of the Newhevin;? and for the crane there, eighteen fathoms of ?Danskin tow? (rope), were purchased fram Peter Turnett?s wife, at tenpence the fathom. John Ahannay and Geoge Bennet did the smithwork at the crane, bulwarks, and worklooms. The works at Newhaven, commenced in August, 1555, under John Preston, as City Treasurer, were continued till the middle of December eventually, under Sir John Wilson, ?master of work at the Newhevin,? when they were suspended during winter and resumed in the spring of 1556 ; and ? drink silver,? to all the various trades engaged, figures amply among the items. (? Burgh Accounts.?) In 1573 the Links of Newhaven were let by the city, at an annual rent of thirty merks per annum as grazing ground, thus showing that they must then have been about the extent of those at Leith. In 1595 they only produced six merks, and from this rapid fall Maitland supposes that the sea had made extensive encroachments on the ground ; and as they are now nearly swept away, save a space 500 yards by 250, at the foot of the Whale Brae, we may presume that his conjecture was a correct one. Kincaid states that at one period Newhaven had Links both to the east and west of it. Even the road that must have bordered the east Links was swept away, and for years a perilous hole, known as the ?? Man-trap,? remained in the placea hole in which, till recently, many a limb was fractured and many a life lost. In one of the oldest houses in Newhaven, nearly opposite the burial-ground, there is a large sculp tured pediment of remarkable appearance. It is surmounted by a thistle, with the motto Nemo me impune Zacessit, on ,a scroll, and the date 1588, a three-masted ship, with the Scottish ensign at each truck, pierced for sixteen guns, and below the motto, in Roman letters, IN THE NUM OF GOD. Below this again is a deeply-cut square panel, decorated with a pair of globes, a quadrant, cross, staff, and anchor; and beneath these part of the motto ? Yirtzte sydera ? may, upon very close examination, still be deciphered; but the history of the stone, or of the house to which it belonged, is unknown. Some hollows near the p?ace were known as the Fairy Holes, and they are mentioned in the indictment of Eufame McCulzane for witchcraft, who is stated to have attended a convention of witches there in 1591, and also at others called the ?Brume Hoillis,? where she and many other witches, with the devil in company, put to sea in riddles. In 1630 and 1631 we find from ?Dune?s Decisions,? James Drummond, tacksman to the Lord Holyroodhouse, of the Tiend Fishes of Newhaven, (? pursuing spulzie ,? against the fishers there. The year 1630 was the first year of the tack, and the fishermen alleged that they had been in use to pay a particular duty, that was condescended an, ? of all years preceding this year now acclaimed.? The Lords found there was no necessity to grant an inhibition, and reserved to themselves the modification of the duty or quantity to be paid. Newhaven gave the title of Viscount to an English family who never had any connection with the place, when in 1681 Charles 11. raised to the peerage of Scotland Charles Cheyne, of Cogenho, in Middlesex (dcscended from an ancient family in Buckinghamshire), with the titles of ?? Lord Cheyne and Viscount Newhaven, near Leith, in the county of Midlothian,? by patent dated at Windsor. His son, the second Viscount Newhaven, who was appointed Lord Lieutenant of Bucks by Queen
Volume 6 Page 299
  Enlarge Enlarge  
300 OLD A,ND NEW EDINBURGH. [Newhaven. Anne in 1712, lost the office on the accession of the House of Hanover, and, dying without heirs, in 1728, the title became extinct. We read of a ropework having been established here about the period of the Revolution (very likely on the site of the old one, formed by Tames IV. for his dockyard), by James Deans, Bailie of the Canongate, and one of his sons, who, however, were compelled to discontinue it for want of encouragement. In November, 1694, another ~ Prestonpans about the right to certain oyster beds, which the former claimed as tacksmen of the metropolis, and many conflicts in the Forth ensued between them.? One of them is recorded in the Gentleman?s Magazine, under date March 2 znd, I 788, thus :- ? On Wednesday a sharp contest took place at the back of the Black Rocks, near Leith Harbour, between a boat?s crew belonging to Newhaven and another belonging to Prestonpans, occasioned by MAIN STREET, NEWHAVEN. of his sons, Thomas Deans, ? expressed himself as disposed to venture another stock in the same work, at the same place or some other equally convenient, provided he should have it endowed with the privileges of a manufactory, though not to the exclusion of others disposed to try the same business. His wishes were complied with by the Privy In the year 1710, ? Evan Macgregor, of Newhaven,? entailed all his lands there, as appears from Shaw, the date of tailzie being given as August, 1705. In the latter years of the eighteenth century a regular feud-and a very bitter one-existed between the fishermen of Newhaven and those of . Council.?? the latter?s dragging oysters on the ground laid claim to by the former. After a severe conflict for about half an hour with their oars, boat-hooks, etc., the Newhaven men brought in the Prestonpans boat to Newhaven, after many being hurt on both sides. This is the second boat taken from them this season.? In 1790 the quarrel took a judicial form, after five fishermen of Prestonpans had been imprisoned for dredging oysters near Newhaven, in defiance of an interdict issued by the Judge- Admiral. ?? For more than a year past,? it was stated, ?? a case has been pending in the Court of Admiralty between sundry fishermen in Newhaven, as tacks
Volume 6 Page 300
  Enlarge Enlarge     Pictures Pictures