June 9, 1860.]
A LEGEND OF SWAFFHAM.
walked quietly out at his back door, and commenced digging at the foot of a large tree that grew close by. He had worked on for some time perseveringly; and, as in the case of his walk upon the Bridge, was on the point of dubbing himself a fool for his pains, when his spade struck against something hard, and stooping to discover what caused the obstruction, he found a large brass pot filled with money, and inscribed:—
“Under me doth lie, another much richer than I.”
The sentence was in Latin, but by the aid of what little learning he had, John contrived to make out something of its meaning, and to set to work with renewed vigour. His toil was rewarded by the finding of another vessel much larger than the first, and filled with old coin. Soon the hole was filled up, and the ground made to look as much as possible like what it did before he had made the excavation, and John conveyed his prizes into the house, examined them, found them of great value, concealed them, and then retired to rest, to think over his treasure and the purpose to which he should devote it.
I should, perhaps, ere this, have mentioned, that for some years past Swaffham church had been very much out of repair, and those entrusted with its affairs had been straining every nerve to raise money for the purpose of re-decorating and partially rebuilding it, but as yet not more than half the requisite sum had been obtained. Now it occurred to our hero that he could not do better than devote some portion of his new gotten wealth to the cause; and he, therefore, took the first opportunity that presented itself of calling upon his pastor, and to the latter’s no small astonishment offered to rebuild the north aisle and tower, informing him how he had “dreamed a dream, wherein was disclosed unto him a way in which he might become the possessor of an exceeding great treasure. That his dream had been fulfilled beyond his greatest expectations; and now, being no longer poor, he wished to show his gratitude by doing all he could for the service of the Church.”
John Chapman lived to be a man of some standing in the parish of Swaffham, though tradition saith that he altered but little his simple manner of living, and did not give up his bi-annual excursions until years after the necessity for carrying his pack with him had gone by. It is also supposed that he strengthened the ties that held him to the place by taking unto him a wife; and I am led to place some faith in