|Thomas Westcote's story of the barrow:
A daily labouring man by the work of his hand and sweat of his brow having gotten a little money, was desirous to have a place to rest himself in old age, and therefore bestowed it on some acres of waste land, and began to build a house thereon near, or not far from, one of these burrows, named Broaken-Burrow, whence he fetched stones and earth to further his work;From Westcote's 'View of Devon in 1630'.
and having pierced into the bowels of the hillock he found therein a little place, as it had been a large oven, fairly, strongly, and closely walled up; which comforted him much, hoping that some great good would befall him, and that there might be some treasure there hidden to maintain him more liberally and with less labour in his old years:
wherewith encouraged, he plies his work earnestly until he had broken a hole through this wall, in the cavity whereof he espied an earthen pot, which caused him to multiply his strokes until he might make the orifice thereof large enough to take out the pot, which his earnest desire made not long a doing; but as he thrust his arm and fastened his hand therin he suddenly heard, or seemed to hear, the noise of the trampling or treading of horses coming, as he thought, towards him, which caused him to forbear and arise from the place, fearing the comers would take his purchase from him; (for he assured himself it was treasure); but looking about every way to see what company this was, he saw neither horse nor man in view.
To the pot again he goes, and had the like success a second time; and yet, looking all about, could ken nothing. At the third time he brings it away, and therein only a few ashes and bones, as if they had been of children, or the like. But the man, whether by the fear, which yet he denied, or other cause, which I cannot comprehend, in very short time after lost senses of both sight and hearing, and in less than three months consuming died. He was in all his lifetime accounted an honest man; and he constantly reported this, divers times, to men of good quality; with protestations to the truth thereof, even to his death. It is your choice to believe these stories or no; what truth soever there is in them, they are not unfit tales for winter nights when you roast crabs by the fire.
Posted by Rhiannon
11th December 2006ce
Edited 30th December 2011ce