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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Iris came down to dinner she sat with the other ladies as she didn’t want them to think that she was ignoring them. Father Peter Sat with Eileen Featherstone and was in conversation as Ailsa and her husband served up Oxtail soup; after which she had made a beef stew with mashed potatoes and broad beans. Iris ate the stew and potato but left the broad beans. Looking over she caught Peter looking at her, he smiled nervously then looked away. Iris smiled back at him knowing that there was a physical attraction between them. When the dinner was over Iris asked to see the priest privately and he told her to come to the chapel.

The ladies all helped to do the washing up and they would also help with the preparation of all the meals tomorrow. There was a washing tub to do smalls and shirts which could be accessed if they asked. Iris waited in her room until 9.30pm before going down to the chapel where Father Peter was reading from the bible.’

He stood up when she approached.

“What troubles you Mrs Williamson.’

“Please call me Iris Father.’

Alright Iris please sit and unburden yourself; I am here to listen.’

I... I don’t know where to begin Father.’

“Don’t be afraid Iris, the lord is with us.’

“I came on this retreat to get away from my husband.’

“Has he abused you in some way?’

“No father; you see I don’t love him and he doesn’t love me. We were thrown together by my parents and they naturally assumed that we would marry which of course we did. In the eyes of God is that a sin Father?’

“Why did you undertake such a sacred thing?’

“I didn’t want to upset my parents.’ I am in love with a man you see father and for the very first time in my life I feel alive.’

“But in the eyes of god you are married.’

“Are we though father; my husband has only slept with me once and that was on our wedding night.’ He now sleeps in another room.’ We do not talk very often and he only allows me to go to the church. He is hiding something father; I know it.’

She began to cry and Father Peter took her hand and held it for a moment.

“Come now Iris crying will not solve anything. You say that you are in love with another man; have you transgressed?’

“No Father; this man does not even know that I love him; the job he does would not permit him to love me back.’

“The realisation hit Father Peter; I see said the Priest nervously.’

“Can I get an annulment Father?’

“This is something I would have to write for guidance on; legally I do not know where you would stand. “I know that a divorced woman cannot receive the Eucharist.’ Meanwhile, you must put out any thoughts of this other man from your mind do you understand.’ “Legally you are bound together by law and it is a sin to be in love with another.’

“But I do not love him Father.’

“Until I find out where you stand legally you must carry on being a wife to him.’

Now I will pray for you; please go back to your room and pray for forgiveness.’

But father I…

“Let’s hear no more of this; please go to your room.’

“Iris got up and left the chapel.’

 

 

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