Wednesday 17 May 2017

Riding the Bounds in 1947

Adam Storey, my 2x great-grandfather, had once been secretary to the Newbiggin freeholders. He resigned at an advanced age, and in 1947 was a bailiff to the organisation.

Adam Storey

He was a keen historian in his own right, and could hark back to his early years with apparent ease. Adam was 93 at that particular riding.

Below are a few extracts from the Morpeth Herald, who reported on the riding of the bounds in May 1947 - 70 years ago this month.

It is rather humbling to read what Adam had to say on the tradition and custom. He speaks with such pride.
Newbiggin Ceremony
The ancient custom of "dunting" new Freeholders was performed on Wednesday when, at the annual riding of the boundaries by Newbiggin's Lords of the Manor, two lady members were initiated in accordance with the age-old ritual of three bumps on the "Dunting Stone."

This initiation service was not carried out during the war years. The boundaries, however, were still ridden, although perhaps not in the old style of each freeholder being mounted on his horse.

At Wednesday's ceremony, the boundaries were ridden in a modern car and a horse and trap.


Veteran Makes Proclamation

Wednesday's ceremony at the stone saw the initiations of Miss Anne Mann, of 88, Front Street, and Mrs. Arthur Brown, of Hesleyside, Newbiggin. The proclamation was made by the Freeholders' old stalwart, 93-year-old Adam Storey, who has traversed the Freeholders' estates both as a youngster and since he was 23 as a Freeholder.

Mr. Storey, Newbiggin's grand old man, has only missed attending the ceremony when, during the 80's he was away with the fishing fleet. He recalls that his relatives performed the ancient ceremony in the 17th Century.

"I remember when we used to do this bare-footed and all the Freeholders were mounted on their own horses. We used to have a great big dinner which cost £5, with beer, which was cheap in those days. We used to have the dinner in different public houses," declared Mr. Storey. 

Another interesting feature he recalled was a horse race by all Freeholders on the sands and extending up the Fair Banks.

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