Photograph of Ray Morse at North Shields Fish Quay

Ray Morse

Ray belongs to: The Fishermen's Mission

Ray was born in Sunderland into a fishing family. He has fished since the age of 3. He worked from North Shields and Grimsby. Ray is now retired and continues to fish in his leisure time.

Ray was interviewed by Carl Greenwood on 8 November 2005. The interview took place at North Shields Fishermen's Mission and lasted 54 minutes and 21 seconds.

Photograph of Ray Morse at North Shields Fish Quay
Photograph of Ray Morse at North Shields Fish Quay

Burning the Witches

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"There’s something I had done that I learnt it from an old Dane"

There’s something I had done that I learnt it from an old Dane, and each time I’ve done it, it’s been right, and he told me it was burning the witches. And I said, “what’s this?” We were having a bum trip- I was mate on the boat and he was the skipper. And he said, “we’ll have to burn the witches- we’ve sailed with the witches onboard.” And I, “yeah, yeah.”

So he showed me what you do. The whole crew have to be on the deck, we just stopped fishing, and he put a cloth dipped in diesel oil and he put it all the way around the top rail of the boat from stem to stern on one side, and then stern to stem on the other. And he said, “now, what you’re supposed to do is pour the diesel on the fish-room hatch,” he said, “obviously with it being a wooden boat, you can’t do that, so we’ll put a bucket with diesel and diesel rags in the thing,” and he got a stick and wrapped some dieselly rag on the stick and lit it and then he went all down one side where all the diesel was and lit it all the way around. You know, I mean, it was only, you know, it wasn’t a great bonfire or anything, and then he lit the bucket on the fish-room hatch and we all had to chant, “burn the witches, we burn the witches, we burn the witches, we burn the witches,” you all had to say it three times and then we put the little bit fire out and chucked the bucket with the diesel and the burning rags in over the side and we started to fish straightaway.

Ray has 17 memories in the memorynet:

This memory has these themes:
Superstitions | Traditions

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