Wednesday, 15 June 2016

Storey the Stentor

THE MORPETH HERALD AND REPORTER, SATURDAY, DECEMBER 9, 1899.
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NEWBIGGIN WATER QUESTION.
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THE RATEPAYERS' MEETING.
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(By an Observer.)

'A ratepayers meeting at Newbiggin is an epoch. So I hied me to the history making meeting last week. The subject, of course, was the water, for men may come, etc. Who is there who has not heard of Newbiggin with water, water everywhere, and not a drop to drink. Newbiggin, which is in the same primitive condition in this respect as it was when the "Ancient Mariner" was written. Newbiggin, where the only bath consists of the German Ocean, where modern sanitation is impossible, and where the domestic supply is carried from the wells in the good old-fashioned way in which Rachel carried it when she met her famous lover Jacob at the well.'


You could only find such flowery language in the Victorian age, with references to classic works and the Bible. The reporter is incredibly critical towards Newbiggin and its people, perhaps he believes he is a cut above the common fisherman. 

The water problem was obviously a serious issue, if a 'once in a blue moon' meeting was held. Newbiggin had no water pipes, and the residents relied heavily on the old wells and little stream known commonly as "the pant", for water. It was reported by a councillor that up to two dozen people had been known to be known to be waiting for water at the well at a single time. This simply was not sufficient. 

Numerous schemes were proposed, including one suggestion that the water should come from Woodhorn Colliery, or even North Seaton. The matter was voted on, and the water problem in Newbiggin was soon resolved.

Then enters Bill Storey, the uncle of my 2x great-grandfather, Adam Storey, who spoke after the serious matters had been discussed:

'At this stage the comic element was supplied by a fisherman named William Storey, who, in a voice like a Stentor, proclaimed that he had never obeyed the orders of the Council, but had continued to drink of the well near the graveyard. He had never been "puzzoned" (poisoned), and amid hilarity he declared he was as good a man as any on the platform. Encouraged by the reception of his speech, he proceeded to dilate upon the good men which Newbiggin used to produce, one of whom was as good as two of the present day. 
To this the Chairman naively replied that there was such a thing as slow poisoning and decadence.'

Bill Storey was obviously another of Newbiggin's famous characters and a popular one at that, in the way he was received by his peers and friends. 

Margaret Oliver, sitting,
Bill Storey, displaying fish.
Pictured with their two children, and three grandchildren,

Bill was born in 1834 at Cresswell, and was the youngest son of Adam and Hannah Storey (née Mills). He married Margaret Twizell (née Oliver) on 27 February 1859 at Tynemouth. Margaret was the young widow of Charles Twizell, who drowned out at sea in 1851. Together Bill and Margaret had four children, although only two made it to adulthood. 

As well as being an impressive speaker and a fisherman, Bill also acted as a sidesman at St Bartholomew's Church, Newbiggin. A sidesman was responsible for greeting and ushering members of the congregation to their seats. Bill would also have took the collection after every sermon.

Bill was made a widower in May 1897, when his wife Margaret passed away. He then began living with his daughter Meggie, his son-in-law, George Dent and his numerous grandchildren. There he died on 24 November 1912, at the age of 78.