A Place Beyond The Priory

 "A Place Beyond the Priory " This is a story about Life in North Shields during the 1900's-1920's Tom Farrow is a third generation coble fisherman, Who meets and falls in love with a young herring girl who has travelled from the isle of Barra in the outer Hebrides looking for work. Margaret Linnie, her two friends Kerstin McDonald and Beth Munro all end up on the gutting line in Tyne Brand - their unscrupulous foreman Albert Mortimer treats all the girls on the line like animals including his wife Lizzie who bares him 11 children. forced into a marriage she did not want, Lizzie is abused by Albert for his own sexual gratification. She was in love with a young Greek boy called Leonidas Kostalas whom she had known from her days at school and lost her virginity to but her father will not allow them to marry- this is a story of love and betrayal and will keep you riveted until the last page is read.

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Leaving the small harbour in North Shields to sail out on the low tide Jack Farrow a coble fisherman of some thirty years set out to catch fish; his boat, the Outcast was a twenty foot boat which had been adapted to cope with bad weather conditions in the North Sea. The Outcast had been his grandfather Robert Farrow’s boat initially and he remembered as his father Tom would tell him how the boat was launched using a tractor from the beach using old railway sleepers to drag the flat bottomed boat either out to sea or pulled ashore. The more modernised cobles were known as clinker boats, the lug sail was removed, a tarpaulin shelter across the bow was added, and a diesel engine fitted. They could be moored in the harbour and were easily accessed and taken out past the bar at Tynemouth. Once adapted the coble had a long working life and needed little in the way of maintenance. In the wrong hands the coble could be a dangerous place to be in bad weather but in expert hands they were fast and could be operated safely.

 

The coble was a direct descendent of the Viking long ships that were built. They came along the coast of the North East to plunder the churches, monasteries, and villages. Tales of the Viking raids in 793 A.D as far as Ireland by Erik the Red, Sweyn Forkbeard, Eric Bloodaxe and Ragnor Lodbrok (Shaggy Breeches) became part of folklore. For over 70 years the Vikings raided the North East Coast. Lindisfarne, Holy island, Bamburgh, and Alnwick Castle were attacked. Many works by the venerable Bede and St Cuthbert were destroyed by the Norsemen. What came to be known as the Blood Eagle Ordeal took place when monks who tried to defend the churches treasures and sacred writings were tortured and then had their ribs torn from their bodies and folded back in the shape of angel’s wings. Jack would tell his son stories passed down from many generations of his family to Tom who Jack said were direct descendants of Bjorn Konside a Viking leader.

 

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