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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Jeffery Worthington was a high flyer in the courts. His sharpness to detail won him many cases and he was tipped to become one of the youngest barristers in the country.’ He was thirty years old but looked ten years younger. His blonde wavy hair and boyish looks endeared him to many men. His love of the arts and poetry fascinated young Kelvin, who would sit in bed with Jeffery listening to Keats, Wordsworth, and Byron after they had made love. He so wanted to be like Jeffery. He asked one day if he was prepared to help him get into university so that he could practice law. Jeffery of course obliged. They would sit for hours reading case law books.

Four years later Kelvin passed the bar and he got a job working with Jeffery at Crutes one of the biggest law firms in the North East. Jeffery Worthington had paid all of Kelvin’s fees for services rendered. Homosexuality was deemed a crime in Britain in those days; if caught, that person found having sex with another male especially a minor, carried a sentence of up to two years. When they first met Kelvin was only seventeen. Jeffery could have actually been sent to an asylum as people thought then that homosexuality was an illness.



If he had been discovered Jeffery would have been disbarred and imprisoned.

Kelvin would have been sent to an asylum where he would have been given drugs and a lobotomy. In 1553 the sentence would have been death by hanging. This was changed to life imprisonment in 1861. In 1885 a new law came into effect called the Labouchere Amendment which stated that a man caught for gross indecency could be sentenced to two years imprisonment without hard labour if proven.

Kelvin told Jeffery that he couldn’t wait for his parents to die so he could divorce Iris and come and live with him.

Iris helped run fund raising events in the church and was asked to join the church council. She accepted readily as it meant she could be near to Father Peter. They held dances in the church hall and Iris always made sure that she fixed her hair and make up before leaving.

Iris was a good looking woman for twenty seven. She had no children; Kelvin made that absolutely clear on their wedding night after he had performed his duty to consummate the marriage much to his behest. For months he would make excuses for not sleeping with his wife. Kelvin started sleeping in the spare room of their house six months after they were married, Iris thought that there was something wrong with her and blamed herself for the breakdown of their marriage. She tried wearing nice clothes to please her husband, she cooked him nice meals but nothing seemed to work. Then when she questioned his whereabouts he began to beat her. After a year of marriage she resigned herself to a life without love. It was the arrival of the new priest that excited her. They seem to get on so well together. Father Peter would dance with her when she asked him and he was very good at most of the dance steps.’

The more she saw of Peter Woodward the more she was attracted to him. He had a warm soothing voice. One afternoon during a bible reading class he asked if she would like to go to Holy Island on a retreat with him and several other women from the church. Father Peter quickly pointed out it would be nice to sit with someone his own age. The weekend retreat was used for spiritual guidance, meditation, and those who just needed a break. Iris was certainly in need of something.

The priory coach picked them up at eight o’clock on Saturday morning. Iris found a seat at the back of the coach where they would not be overheard by the other women. She had baked and made sandwiches along with a thermos of tea. 

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