Rumours of mischief-makers ‘stealing’ Morpeth gadgies have been put to bed.
The two stone figures on top of Morpeth Clock Tower are well known characters and have even been given their own names, Clarence and Cuddy.
The story goes that they look down on the town and comment on the daily happenings, and Clarence is brought to life as the Morpeth Gadgy figurehead at the annual Northumbrian Gathering.
Originally there were four such figures and tales have been circulating that at least one of them was taken as a drunken prank in the 60s or 70s and is sitting in an unknown garden.
However, Morpeth Antiquarian Society member Kim Bibby-Wilson said the missing twosome were lost at least 100 years ago, and the present figures were put up in the 1950s as replicas of the remaining damaged originals.
She said: “In 1951 the Clock Tower was refurbished in conjunction with a fund-raising campaign for the Festival of Britain. During that time the two surviving stone figures in 18th Century costumes were taken down and replaced.
“One of the originals was unrecoverable and the other has his legs sheered off and was put into storage. When the former Castle Morpeth Council depot moved to Coopies Lane that stone figure was brought to the Antiquarian Society for safe keeping.
“We are looking after him until such time as there is some sort of small interpretation room in the Clock Tower or elsewhere where he can be displayed. The other two original figures are long gone. If you look at photographs from the 1870s they can not be seen.”
The rescued original gadgy enjoyed a brief outing in 2006 to celebrate the 300th anniversary of the first Clock Tower bells being presented to the Corporation of Morpeth.