Prestongrange, Morrison's Haven / Newhaven, Morison's Haven, Prestongrange Harbour, Firth Of Forth
- HER number: MEL41
- Site Name: Prestongrange, Morrison's Haven / Newhaven, Morison's Haven, Prestongrange Harbour, Firth Of Forth
- Grid Reference: 337158 673816
- Civil Parish:
- Monument Type:
- Summary: Harbour
- Description: NT37SE 12 37158 73817
For adjacent and associated colliery and brick- and tile-works, see NT37SE 78.00 and 79 respectively.
(NT 37158 73817) Morrison's Haven (NAT)
OS 6" map (1854)
(1) 'The name of Acheson's Haven is said to have been derived from Sir Archibald Acheson of Gosford, created a
Baronet of Nova Scotia in 1628, and appointed a Judge in the Court of Session in 1626...yet the sea-port of the ancient monks, which is on the estate of Prestongrange, never appears to have been his property. The present designation of Morison's Haven is from a family of that name, one of whom was a contemporary of Sir Archibald Acheson on the bench, and assumed his seat, also in 1626, by the title of Lord Prestongrange. Morrison's Haven, formerly the harbour of Prestonpans, is now almost superseded by the excellent harbour of Cockenzie, two miles eastward'.
Acheson's Haven was considered of such importance in the 17th C. that Parliament passed an Act allowing an annual fair in 1698 (Acts Parl Scot).
J P Lawson 1847
(2) 'The history of Morrison's-Haven may be given in a few words. In April, 1526, James V empowered the monks of Newbotle, the discoverers of coal in the same vicinity to construct a port within their own lands of Prestongrange (Parl Rec 129). Near the westend of the town of Prestonpans, the monks erected a harbour which was called New-haven, and this name was changed to Acheson's-Haven, and afterward obtained the name of Morrison's-Haven, from the proprietor, at the commencement of the 17th century. It is reckoned one of the safest harbours on this shore of the Forth, having ten feet of water at stream tides (OSA 1796). It is a customhouse port by the name of Prestonpans, extending along the southern shore of the Forth, four and twenty miles between the ports of Dunbar and Leith'. So erected in 1710 (MS Customhouse report).
G Chalmers 1888
Morrison's Haven was known by the name of Newhaven in 1655.
P Humebrown 1891
(3) (4) Morison's Haven fell into disuse after the first World War, land reclamation has largely swallowed it up, and what remains of its pier is being battered to pieces by the sea.
Of these remains, there is evidence of late 18th c. masonry, although much of it is of fairly recent construction. Portions of the pier proper could contain evidence of work done by William Morison about 1700.
A village evidently existed at Morison's Haven, though the date of its origin is unknown. It is marked on Adair's Map of 1682, and a glass-factory which proved unsuccessful, was operating there in 1698. A small two-storeyed house with crow-stepped gables, standing just south of the fort site (NT37SE 23), is most probably a survivor of this village. A weekly market and a yearly fair were authorised in 1701 at the haven.
A Graham MS notes
NT 3710 7385. A portion of the pier remains, c.3m high. No trace remains of the village.
Visited by OS (SFS) 26 August 1975.
(5) A topographic survey was undertaken at Morrison's Haven as part of the Prestongrange Community Archaeology Project in 2004. This showed that 60-70% of the shoreward side of Morrison's Haven is now below several metres of colliery waste. The dense vegetation was cleared and the tops of walls exposed to enhance the structure. An aerial photographic survey was also undertaken to show photographs of the site before and after clean-up.
(6) During the summer of 2005, geo-technical coring was undertaken within Morrison's Haven as part of the Prestongrange Community Archaeology Project. Coring at three locations showed that the haven had been backfilled to at least a depth of 4m, and that the fill is waste material from the Prestongrange Colliery. Water levels suggest that any buried organic material or timbers have the potential to survive within the haven.
(7) Field Survey undertaken by the Prestongrange Community Archaeology Project in 2009 recorded that the harbour remains inland were as described by the NMRS. Coastal erosion has revealed more of the harbour remains within the tidal zone, with the two flanking or outside walls (of horizontal stone slabs) now visible. Brickwork is also visible on the NE end of the Northern pier and shows bedrock has been utilised for foundations of the pier. At 337110 673845, a wooden post was recorded in situ, on
the edge of the harbour wall (descending into the sea). The post was 0.3m by 0.3m and 0.5m high and may have originally acted as a buffer between the ships and the harbour wall, to prevent damage to ships hulls. No upstanding remains of the buildings were identified in the location depicted on cartographic sources, the area is now reclaimed land. It is likely that the buildings were destroyed either when the area was utilised as a coal tip or landscaped in the 1970’s. A beacon stance (Site 8) survives on the southern pier.
- For more information contact: East Lothian Council HER
- Related Interventions:
- Related Places:
- Associated Periods:
- Bibliographic reference: OSA. 1791-9. The statistical account of Scotland, drawn up from the communications of the ministers of the different parishes. Vol.17, 72-3.
- Bibliographic reference: Acts Parl Scot. 1814-75. The Acts of the Parliaments of Scotland. folio, Vol.10, 180.
- Unpublished document: James, H F. 1996. Coastal Assessment Survey: The Firth of Forth from Dunbar to the Border of Fife. 158.
- Digital archive: PCAP. 2007. The Haven - Prestongrange.
- (1) Bibliographic reference: Lawson, J P. 1847. Scotland delineated: a series of views of the principal cities and towns, particularly of Edinburgh and its environs: of the cathedrals, abbeys and other monastic remains, the castles and baronial mansions, the ????B???????B???B???????B???B???B?????????
- (10) Photograph: Ross, P and Drysdale, M. 2004. Prestongrange Community Archaeology Project - Year 1, Photographic Archive.
- (11) Photograph: Ross, P and Drysdale, M. 2004. Prestongrange Community Archaeology Project - Year 1, Photographic Archive.
- (12) Photograph: Simpson, B. 2004. Prestongrange Community Archaeology Project - Year 1, Historical Photographs.
- (13) Index: Ross, P and Drysdale, M. 2004. Prestongrange Community Archaeology Project - Year 1, Photographic Archive.
- (14) Photograph: Ross, P and Drysdale, M. 2005. Prestongrange Community Archaeology Project - Year 2, Photographic Archive.
- (15) Photograph: Ross, P and Drysdale, M. 2005. Prestongrange Community Archaeology Project - Year 2, Photographic Archive.
- (16) Index: Ross, P and Drysdale, M. 2005. Prestongrange Community Archaeology Project - Year 2, Photographic Archive.
- (17) Projected and video material: Ross, P and Drysdale, M. 2006. Prestongrange Community Archaeology Project: Year 1 and 2 Video.
- (2) Bibliographic reference: Chalmers, G. 1887-94. Caledonia: or a historical and topographical account of North Britain. Vol.3, 499-500.
- (3) Bibliographic reference: Graham, A. 1964b. 'Morison's Haven', Proc Soc Antiq Scot Vol. 95 1961-2, p.300-3. 300-3.
- (4) Bibliographic reference: Graham, A. 1971. 'Archaeological notes on some harbours in eastern Scotland', Proc Soc Antiq Scot Vol. 101 1968-9, p.200-85. 254.
- (5) Unpublished document: Cressey, M. 2005. Prestongrange Community Project: Interim Data Structure Report (Year 1).
- (6) Unpublished document: Cressey, M. 2006. Prestongrange Community Project: Data Structure Report (Year 2).
- (7) Unpublished document: Cressey, M and Oram, R. 2005. Prestongrange Community Archaeology Project: Desk Based Assessment.
- (7) Unpublished document: Jones, C. 2009. Prestongrange Community Archaeology Project: Archaeological Field Survey. Site 6.
- (8) Projected and video material: Ross, P and Drysdale, M. 2004. Prestongrange Community Archaeology Project: Year 1 Video.
- (9) Projected and video material: Ross, P. 2006. Prestongrange Community Archaeology Project: Year 1 Video.