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British Folklore and its Buried Treasure.
Great Britain is home to some intriguing local legends, which speak of vast riches buried deep within this land's soil. These local tales have their roots in thousands of years of invasions and tribal conflict. These treasures are also the spoils of religious turmoil and the ancient burial customs of our long passed ancestors. Although the legends do not have the same level of historical accuracy of more recent lore such as the Aztec cities of gold, or the missing sunken treasure ships of the old Spanish Main. There maybe great reward in further exploration and investigation.
The British legends are tied to the identity and mythological history of a small but culturally rich collection of kingdoms. Over the passage of time great treasure has been won, lost and buried by invaders who took trophies from their tribal conflicts as a reward for their service to their chieftains.
The following article will highlight some of the well known and obscure examples of the treasures hidden in British folklore.
In the parish of Shillington, Bedfordshire lies the local landmark of Knocking Knoll. It is also known to its locals as Money Knoll. Due to modern ploughing, the earthworks look different to how it originally looked in Neolithic times. For as long as the locals have been able to recall, the earthwork have been rumoured to hold large amounts of gold coins left there by either an ancient warrior or a haggard old man.
The long barrow was excavated in the mid 1850's but no written record of treasure found at the dig is known to exist. The earthwork is named the Knocking Knoll due to the sound of an old man or ancient warrior, banging on a treasure chest to make sure his mortal goods are still were he left them and completely intact.
Before the influence of Christianity on English burial practices, many people of high standing or great legend were buried in grave mounds with their trophies and wealth alongside them.
Caistor St Edmund
Caistor St Edmunds or Caistor-by-Norwich has a local legend about buried Roman treasure. Modern day Caistor is the site of the former Roman walled town of Venta Icenorum. Venta Icenorum was the administrative centre for the whole of Norfolk. The folklore of the area tells of golden gates buried in the area surrounding the present day town. It is highly unlikely that a Romano-British settlement would have built gates of solid gold, purely as it would be inviting attack by those ruled by greed. Although it is entirely plausible to believe that the settlement would have been home to great riches and affluence. The farmland around Caistor has turned up a number of Roman artifacts including gold coins from across the Roman timeline and empire.
Castle Neroche in Somerset is home to another legend of buried treasure, but to this day, who put it there is still unknown. It is entirely likely that the "castle"( which are presumed to be either medieval earthworks or maybe an ancient burial mound ) has no treasure, and the legend arose from the locals creating their own folklore. Archaeologists have dug the site and have found little evidence of treasure or who was responsible for creating the earthworks.
Local legend speaks of a group of workmen who uncovered the treasure in the 1920's, upon trying to remove the treasure chest one of the workmen swore. As soon as the workmen cursed the treasure hoard sunk deeper into the earth, and the workmen took it as a sign that the Devil was involved in the protection of the untold riches.
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The British Isles has a wealth of both mythical and historical treasure buried in the ground or lost in the sea. Over many years we have uncovered Roman gold, Viking silver, Celtic jewellery, Spanish wealth from the New World and trinkets from the ancient world. What lies under the waves of the sea that surrounds us, and under the unexplored lands is still waiting to be discovered. Perhaps the true treasure out there for us to find, is actually rediscovering our heritage rather than how much loot we can find with metal detectors in windy fields.