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.


54. 54

There was no answer so father Peter took the key from Ailsa and unlocked the door and went inside. What he saw shocked him to his very core. Iris had tied her sheets around the oak beam and then around her neck. Her lifeless body was just hanging there. She was wearing her nightdress and the light must have been on all night.

There was a stain on the nightdress where her bowels had voided.’

Ailsa was nearly sick as she looked at the young girl suspended on the sheets. Her pretty face had turned a bluish purple colour and her hair hung down onto her shoulders.

Please Mrs Oxbrough could you call the police.’ We cannot touch her until they arrive.

Peter sat on the bed after feeling her wrist for a pulse; the tears streamed down his face and he shouted out loud “Why dear Lord why?’ He felt guilt ridden as he recalled the events of the night before.

“He could have prevented her death he thought. Iris came to him for help and he turned away. He felt like Peter who had denied Christ three times which led to Jesus being crucified. When the police arrived they waited for the coroner to show up before Iris Williamson’s body was cut down. The coroner recorded her time of death at approximately 5am that morning. Ailsa Oxbrough and Ann Clasper laid her out. They washed and changed her body before she was taken to the morgue.

Father Peter was still in deep shock at what had happened. He felt sickened by what iris had done. How desperate she must have been as his rejection to her had ultimately caused her to take her own life. He could not give her absolution because in the eyes of the Catholic Church suicide was a sin. He had to go down and tell the other ladies what had happened and under the circumstances they would be leaving first thing in the morning.


The police in North Shields were informed and a squad car was sent to Kelvin Williamson’s house. He took the news of her death surprisingly well thought the sergeant. Then as they were getting into the car something caught his eye. It was the Black Woolsey with the number 7526.

Hold on a minute said sergeant Philip Hunter, isn’t that the number of the car that Billy Thompson gave us last night.

“I do believe you are right sir.’

“Right then lets see who he’s got in that house. “ Walter would you have a look inside the dash and tell me if there is a paper file with a red ribbon around it would you.

Sergeant Hunter got out of the car and approached the door whilst Constable Walter Hopkins went to look in the passenger side window. He came running back to where the sergeant stood.

“It’s there sir, a file just like the boy described it.’

“Right you go around the back in case this man tries to do a runner.’

Sergeant Hunter waited for a few minutes until he was sure that Constable Hopkins

Was in position then he knocked on the door again. This time Kelvin was stripped to the waist and had no slippers on which was strange considering just five minutes before he was fully clothed.

“Yes officer what can I do for you.’

“I would like to come in if you don’t mind sir, there’s a few questions I would like to ask you.’ Walking down the passage way the bedroom door was open and he saw a shadow on the wall moving quickly.

“Is there anyone else at home sir?

“No I’m on my own replied Kelvin.

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