Centuries before, in 1504, King James IV would ride down from Holyrood to inspect the construction of the Great Michael and would often adjourn to the house of one of his French shipwrights for breakfast, the Frenchman’s wife being known to local fame as a fine cook. King James, therefore, set the seal of royal patronage on the village’s long-standing renown for good fare.
The lure of the freshest of fish brought many to Newhaven’s notable inns, foremost of which is The Peacock.
Very early in its fishing history, Newhaven became the premier port in Scotland for oysters. The Free Fishermen Society of Newhaven states that they fished the oyster beds from 1572 until 1890 when they became scarce through overworking. During this time great quantities were despatched to London and Holland. The oysters were famed for their size and quality and were popular fare at The Peacock.
For centuries The Peacock Inn stood on the strand with a sandy beach in front. Young bucks would come down to The Peacock from Edinburgh. Fisherlassies would gather on the beach and sing to them to receive coins thrown from the windows in appreciation by the gentlemen by now full of alcohol induced bonhomie.
Gradually land reclamation pushed the sea further and further away.