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Crest of Sir Thomas Storey

Copyright © 2007

This page was last updated on
Sunday, 3 February 2008
by Brad Storey


Even in the realm of campanology, a Story of rare metal and fine tone has won fame. Mr. Spencer Story was the eldest son of Robert Spencer Story, junior, who was the elder son of Alderman William Story of Newcastle-upon-Tyne, the younger brother of Edward Story, grandfather of Mr. E. J. Story, the dramatist.

The Ringing World of April 28th, 1911, contains the following obituary notes on the death of the accomplished bell-ringer:-

"It is with the deepest regret that we have to announce the death of Mr. Robert Spencer Story, who for over twenty-two years guided the interests of bell ringers in the two Northern Counties as President of the Durham and Newcastle Division Association. He had been in very poor health for over two years, and quietly passed away at his residence in Whitley Bay, on Thursday week, at the age of 52 years.

"The interment took place on Saturday last at St. Paul's, Whitley Bay, the deceased gentleman being buried close to the tower he loved so well, and in which he had rung so many Surprise peals with his pupils, the Gofton family. The funeral arrangements were excellently carried out by Mr. Thomas Gofton. The other ringers acted as under-bearers. The Vicar (the Rev. E. Smith) met the cortege at the lychgate, and read the opening sentences of the burial service as the mournful procession passed up the centre aisle of the church. The Curate read the lesson, and the choir sang the hymn, 'Now the labourer's task is o'er.' At the graveside the Vicar read the Committal and gave the Benediction, and the choir sang 'On the resurrection morning.' Then the following ringers rang a plain course of Stedman Triples (Mr. Story's favourite method) over the open grave: J. A. Gofton 1-2; T. T. Gofton 3-4; R. A. Gofton 5-6; J. E. Gofton 7-8. A large number of beautiful wreaths and crosses of flowers were sent (one from the Association and one from St. Paul's singers amongst others), and around the grave stood ringers from all parts of the two dioceses. The Tynemouth Priory Lodge of Freemasons, of which Mr. Story was a Past Master, was also represented, as well as many other public bodies. Mr. Story had held office as sidesman and churchwarden for many years at St. Paul's, Whitley Bay, and the bells were rung both before and after the funeral by members of the Association.

"Mr. Story came of an old and much respected Novocastrian family, both he and his brother (Mr. Wm. Story) being Freemen of the Borough and County of Newcastle-on-Tyne. Born September 18th, 1858, he was educated for the mercantile profession, and succeeded to a prosperous business on the Quayside, but retired, owing to ill-health, some two years ago. His interest in ringing was very deep, and he was the moving spirit in the restoration of St. John's belfry, Newcastle, in 1879. He rung his first peal at All Saints, Newcastle, on May 12th, 1883, a peal of Grandsire Triples, which he recorded by erecting a peal board at his own expense. He married, in 1883, Miss Gertrude Ingledene Welford, and went to reside in Whitley Bay. conducted his first peal on St. John's bells at the close of '84, a 5008 Bob Major, the first on the augmented peal and the first in the method by the Association. In October of the same year he was elected President of the Association, on the resignation of Mr. William Reed, of South Shields, and up to the time of. his resignation in 1905 was the guiding spirit through its vicissitudes and its prosperity. He filled the post with tact and dignity and was universally beloved and respected. He was a thoroughly active president and taught young bands at Shotley Bridge, Bishopwearmouth, Whitley Bay, Gosforth, Cramlington,. and Morpeth Watch-Tower, nearly all of . which are still strongly adherent to the Association.