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Location Information

More detailed version of the story

More background Information

Suggestions for Illustration Discussion points

Location Information

Wroxeter Roman city is 5 miles east from Shrewsbury on the B4380. There is car parking on site. You can also reach it by bus click here for details. The nearest train stations are at Shrewsbury or Wellington Telford West (6 miles).

There are toilets on site and a gift shop and a small interpretive museum. There are seats overlooking the ruins where you could picnic, but you might prefer to travel back towards Shrewsbury and stop off at the rather grand riverside hotel in Atcham, "The Mytton & Mermaid" for a drink or a meal, or visit the café at the nearby National Trust property of Attingham Park - also at Atcham. Further afield Shrewsbury and Ironbridge (8 miles) are also well-served with cafés, riverside walks and museums.

More detailed version of the story

On The Verge Of A Fortune

You hear the racket coming from the wheelwright's shop? He must be hard at work, you'd think. I know better. That's not him hammering at spokes and making a metal tyre ready on his anvil, that's the sound of the cogs and gears in his wife's head whirring and clicking as she dreams and schemes of a thousand new ways of finding a fortune.

We all have dreams but Betty 'Mother' Fox never stopped. Her eyes ever had a far-away look, you'd see her around the village racing this way and that always in search of a dream.

Now, my old teacher said 'Perseverance counts'. I don't know that it ever did for me, but to my surprise it did for Old Mother Fox and this is her story.

It was one night last back end and she sat bolt upright in her bed and poked her old man in the ribs.

"Get up, Jim, and go get your spade".

Well, what a way to wake a man when he's been working hard all of the day trying to earn you a crust. His tired bloodshot eyes blinked and then stared, but he knew better than to make too much of a fuss, Betty wears the trousers in that house.

"What do you want, woman?" he grumbled.

"I seen it in my dreams, man. A crock of gold, full to the brim, I seen it and I know where. Get your spade".

Trousers or no trousers, there is only so much a man can take and he wanted to get back to sleep.

"Hush, woman, it was nought but a dream, now go off to sleep".

Well, I suppose that would've been that, but it wasn't. For in less than an hour there she was prodding at him with her boney finger again.

"Get up, man, I seen it agin. Its buried in the verge by that old elder bush by the Uckington Road".

Woken twice, a working man with a full list of jobs for the morning doesn't think of the consequences of denying his wife her every whim. He thinks only of getting back to sleep.

"I needs me sleep. Now quiet woman, and away with your dream".

Story over? No, far from that. At 3.00 am there she was, after the same dream came again, but not waking her poor husband this time. She was pulling on her clothes and on her way to the workshop for the spade.

Pausing only to tie her apron, because, no matter what, she wouldn't be seen out without that, she bustled off down the lane with her skirts hitched high.

It didn't take a minute or more before she was flinging away the turf and soil from that spot next to the elder. And her enthusiasm took her down a foot before you could've blinked an eye. Then with a dull crack her spade hit something hard. She threw the spade aside and, down on her knees, pulled away at a pottery shard and into her hands tumbled 400 gold coins.

Old Mother Fox is the richest lady in Wroxeter without doubt, but that hasn't stopped that old mind ticking and clicking to see how she can find more.

Just like that lottery, you win two pounds so you buy two tickets to see if you can win four.

More background Information

Wroxeter was the fourth largest city of Roman Britain. Today most of it lies buried under the Shropshire landscape with only the remains of the municipal baths, part of the courtyard shops and street on view. Wroxeter Roman City is owned by English Heritage.

There is more information about the Roman City and an interesting story about how the city was destroyed elsewhere on the main Mythstories website-click here

The song - 'Lousy Miner' - is an American Folk Tune but it amply illustrates how someone can waste away their life always looking for gold.

The road that runs alongside the site down to Wroxeter village is part of the old Watling Street. Follow the road in the other direction, towards Uckington, and you will pass the spot where the treasure was found - in the hedge, next to an elder bush.

No one knows whether the story is really based on truth, but it is definitely true to say that hoards of Roman coins have been discovered in and around the ruins of Wroxeter Roman City, so we prefer to call this a legend rather than pure fiction.

The pot in which the gold hoard was found, shown in the illustration, is an amphora - a large two-handled jar used for transporting oil and wine. Wine is still made nearby at Wroxeter Roman Vineyards, just through the village.

Suggestions for Illustration Discussion points

Illustration 1
Would you like to live in a house like this?
What part of the house do the people live in?
Where do the people work?

Illustration 2
Is the man awake or asleep?
Is the woman awake or asleep?
What is that thing under the bed?

Illustration 3
What has she broken the pot with?
What do you think was in the pot?
Is the woman wearing slippers?
(note-section 3 of the story says how she put on her slippers - we think she must have taken her boots with her to change into when digging!)

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