AROUND EMBLETON: WHAT THE PAPERS SAY, by John Yearnshire (email: £6 (all profits for charity). Softback.

THE third book in this popular series looks at the journalistic narrative of times gone by through newspaper reports from the last two centuries, which give an explanation and add visual interest to the events which made up ‘real time’ in village life.

The book features more than 160 articles and over 60 images. Many stories are based on court cases, social events and sports activities, alongside more unusual tales. ‘Extraordinary Capture of a Whale’, a story reported in February 1872, concerns the efforts of 10 local fishermen armed with guns who launched a fishing coble in pursuit of a whale seen in St Mary’s Haven, Low Newton-by-the-Sea.

In the chase they tied a rope from the boat’s stern round the beast’s tail while it lay stranded on the Embleton Rock. As the tide rose, the men towed the whale off but were then dragged backwards out to sea as the creature tried to make a dash for freedom. In an era when there was no sentimentality about cruelty to animals, the report concludes that the 22-feet long whale was finally dragged ashore, secured by anchors and chains, and left to die; its carcase was cut into pieces and its blubber recovered to make oil.

Other stories include that of Jack Fawcus, the National Hunt jockey from Embleton who finished second in the Grand National in 1937. Four years later he found himself in a German prisoner-of-war camp where he formed a turf club, whose members gambled using sardines as stakes.

The parish of Embleton’s most famous figure was Lord Grey of Fallodon, the country’s Foreign Secretary in the years leading up to the First World War. He had a private station on the London and North Eastern Railway near his stately home, at which trains stopped for his convenience. On one occasion, a villager who alighted from a train with Lord Grey was caught by the stationmaster and informed that only His Lordship and his personal friends could use the station. When Lord Grey recognised the man, he said: “This is a friend of mine and can get on or off here whenever he likes.”