|Ruth Tongue (County Folk Lore v 8) quotes an informant at Ashridge in 1907:
"There be a bit of verse as do go:
"If Dolbury digged were
Of gold should be the share."
but nobody hasn't found the treasure yet. And for why? Well, to start up with it don't belong to they, and so they won't never meet up with it. Twill go on sinking down below never mind how deep they do dig. I tell 'ee tis the gold of they Redshanks as used to be seed on Dolbury top. To be sure there's clever book-read gentlemen as tell as they was Danes, and another say twere all on account of their bare legs being red with the wind, but don't mind they.
My granny she did tell they were fairies, and all dressed in red, and if so the treasure med be theirs. If they was Danes how do 'ee explain all they little clay pipes as 'ee can find on Dolbury Camp. They did call em 'fairy pipes' old miners did. An' if there be fairy pipes, then there was fairies, and nobody need doubt they was the Redshanks."
(taken from 'A dictionary of fairies' by Katherine Briggs)
Grinsell records an earlier instance of the couplet, from 1540, when it was recorded by Leland.
(Folklore of Prehistoric Sites in Britain)
Posted by Rhiannon
4th February 2004ce
Edited 4th February 2004ce