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BETTY FOX HAD A DREAM COME TRUE

Owdo me owd butties thank’ee for joining me for some more of me chunnerin’s. As I’m sure you probably know, here in Shropshire if you have the same dream it will come true, keep reading (it wonna hurt yer) to find out about a dream that did just that.

Betty Fox was alus (always) known by her friends, family and neighbours as owd Mother Fox and she lived in the village of Wroxeter with her husband, the local wheelmaker. Now poor Betty was a daydreamer and much given to grubbing about the Roman ruins, dreaming of finding treasures and becoming rich. For many a year her searches were fruitless and much laughter and ridicule was aimed at her by locals.

Then one night Betty had a dream that there was a crock of money buried in the bank of the lane that runs betwixt Wroxeter and the Horseshoes at Uckington. The dream revealed that the location was by an owd woller (alder) bush near to the Bell Brook. Betty awoke her husband and excitedly told him of her dream but he didn’a share her enthusiasm and calling her a silly fool, suggested she go back to sleep. Betty did this but had the same dream again, so quietly rising, Betty dressed herself, borrowed one of her husband’s tools and hurried away.

As Betty hurried down the lane the clatterin’ of the clogs on her fit (feet) awoke a neighbour who looked out of her window and asked whither she was goin’ “ah! I have dreamt it at last” was Betty’s excited reply.

It was nearing three in the morning when she came upon an alder just like the one in her dream and she vigorously started to dig. Her hadna dug down very far when her spade struck a Roman earthenware vessel and with one single blow the vessel burst open and out spilled about 400 silver Roman coins or dinders as we say in Shropshire. In great joy she scooped up every last one into her apern (apron) and hastened whum (home).

The nosey neighbour was still leanin’ out of the window and Betty shouted “Ah! I have found it at last” as she hurried past.

When she got got whum she emptied all the coins into a ” two penny dish” and said to her husband “fool or no fool, I’ve found the coins.” ( A tuppenny dish was a cheap little pot, the potter Martha Rhoden was renowned for making wonky pots which gave us the owd Shropshire saying “all asiden like Martha Rhoden’s two-penny dish” which is where a local Morris team get their name)

It was a large collection and in very good condition, Mr. Oatley of Wroxeter had the first choice of the hoard and he bought a hundred coins at a shilling each, other persons in the neighbourhood purchased some and the rest were taken to Wellington to be sold. Altogether Betty realised £28 which would’ve bought an awful lot of butterbuns in those days.

Betty’s son was said to have inherited his mother’s faculty of dreaming of treasures. Whilst workin’ on the cemetery excavations at Uriconium he was often found working at different locations to what he had been assigned and explained that he was following one of his dreams.

Sadly Bettys daughter, Maria, died in Atcham Workhouse aged 83. She was said to have been quite an original character, very intelligent, shrewd, full of folklore and a very entertaining companion.

Now why was Betty so sure that she would find riches? (I hear you ask), well it had alus bin (always been) said by locals that on the northern side of Watling Street, not far frum where it crosses the Bell Brook, there was near the brook a buried well at the bottom of which vast treasures lay hidden. They even used to recite the rhyme:

Near the Brook of Bell
There is a well
Which is richer
Than any man can tell

Now the Bell Brook not only fed the Roman baths at Uriconium, it also flows passed the church at Uppington and in the graveyard was a Roman altar that was found in the brook.

Danker me! that’s enough of my owd chunnerin’, thank’ee most kindly to anyone who is still reading this far down, now run along and play nicely – shroppiemon