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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Tom the eldest twin by five minutes didn’t like fishing at all. He told his father that he wanted to be a teacher when he grew up. Jack on the other hand loved fishing and when ever he wasn’t at school he would be out with his father in the Outcast.

Then came the war in September 1939 when Adolph Hitler’s Nazi army invaded Poland, it was a war they said would never happen after the first one.

“The Outcast was used during the War for the evacuation of soldiers in Dunkirk when Tom, Chris, and Steve sailed the little boat to France. The coble built for speed went back and forth amidst the hail of gunfire to rescue over eighty wounded men.

Tom, Chris, and Steve, joined the Merchant Navy and for the next three years supplied troop ships with much needed supplies. When the war ended they returned home to their families. The boys celebrated their 13th birthday with their father and mother. They had endured many hardships at home and also away as people from the isle of Barra joined up and were killed in action. Dougie Sanderson, the young lad from the observatory was among those killed; Tom, Margaret and the two boys went to the memorial service. The boys didn’t get to see their Grand parents as often as they would have liked but they certainly made up for it when they did. Richard told Tom that they had two fine lads. They stayed for the weekend then headed back. Tom knew how quickly the weather could change here. He needed to ensure the safety of his family too so first light on the Monday morning they set off.

They visited their friends Craig and Helen on Sky; who they had invited to their wedding. Tom wrote each week to Craig telling him of life in Cullercoats and of his fishing trips. Jack left school at fourteen and joined his father on board the Outcast; he was a fast learner with an innate sense of navigation. He was going to make a great fisherman. Tom stayed on at school then went onto college where he went onto take a degree in Geography. He travelled the world for a few years before coming back to England to teach at Marden High School.





After her visit to the prison where they were holding Benjamin Leonard; Martha Jones campaigned for over five years to have his case reopened. Eventually in 1935 they relented and the evidence that had convicted Ben was overturned and Ben was sent to a Psychiatric Hospital where he received treatment. In January 1940 Ben was released from hospital. He was no longer considered a threat to society. He was home only three months when he got his call up papers. Passed fit to serve Ben joined the Durham light infantry. He was sent over to Normandy on June 4th 1944 and died within twenty minutes on hitting the beach. Martha Jones never got over his death and she took an overdose six months later. They found her body slumped over the military grave of Benjamin Leonard.


Jack Farrow became the fourth generation of coble fishermen and like his father and mother; he met and married Sally Kinear from the isle of Barra. He was visiting his grandparents when this girl approached him as he was securing the Outcast.

“So your Tom farrows son are you?’

“Aye and what’s it to you said Jack?’

“Nothing I just came along to see what all the fuss the other girls were making over you.

“Well then what’s the verdict asked Jack out of curiosity?’

“You’re vastly overrated if you ask me.’

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