Newhaven


Newhaven
   NEWHAVEN, a sea-bathing village, and lately a quoad sacra parish, in the parish of North Leith, county of Edinburgh, 1 mile (W. by N.) from Leith, and 2 (N.) from Edinburgh; containing 2103 inhabitants. This place derives its name, in contradistinction to the old haven of Leith, from the construction of a port and dockyard here by James IV., in which, in 1511, was built a ship of very large burthen, called the Michael. In the early part of the 15th century the hamlet contained a chapel dedicated to the Virgin Mary, of which there are still some remains, consisting chiefly of part of the outer wall, now inclosing the burial-ground in the centre of the village. The chapel, together with the lands appertaining to it, was annexed to the parish of North Leith in 1630, by the provost and town-council of Edinburgh, who had previously purchased from the king the village, chapel, and harbour, with all the privileges belonging to them. For a long time the place was inhabited almost exclusively by fishermen and their families. The fishermen are a hardy and industrious race, acting also as pilots, and annually engaging in the great herringfisheries in the north of Scotland; and their wives and daughters, in conjunction with the women of Fisherrow, supply the Edinburgh markets with fish and oysters, of which they carry immense loads in baskets.
   The houses in the original village are ill built and of mean appearance, having the staircase on the outside; but the more modern portion contains many good houses, and some inns and public-houses, partly for the accommodation of parties from Edinburgh, who resort hither to dine upon fish; besides several pleasant villas, and numerous lodging-houses for families that reside here during the bathing season. The pier, from which steamboats belonging to the Fife ferry regularly take in passengers, is commodiously formed; and to the west of it is the chain-pier constructed in 1821, by Capt. Sir Samuel Brown, R.N., at an expense of £4000: it is nearly 750 feet in length and four feet wide, and is the property of the Trinity Chain-pier Company. In this part of the village are the Trinity villas and bathing-cottages, furnished with every requisite accommodation for visiters; and near them is the terminus of the railway from Edinburgh, of which the course is north-by-east from the city, and the length of the line two and a quarter miles. For the purposes of it, it was found necessary to make a cutting here more than ninety yards in extent, and seventeen feet in depth. The approaches by land are pleasant on all sides except from Leith, where the sea has made very great encroachments, as well as between the stone-pier and the Trinity cottages, which are now defended by a strong embankment. A large tract of land called the Links has almost entirely disappeared. The quoad sacra parish was separated from the parish of North Leith by act of the General Assembly; and the church was erected in 1837, after a design by Mr. Henderson, of Edinburgh, and contains 630 sittings. The members of the Free Church have a place of worship.

A Topographical dictionary of Scotland. . 1856.

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