London Bridge Legend

old-london-bridgeA pedlar from Swaffham, Norfolk, had a dream that he would meet someone on London Bridge who would give him some wonderful.  So the pedlar made the hundred and ten mile journey to London. He stood on London Bridge for two or three days, but sadly no-one gave him any news.  At that time, London Bridge was filled with shops, so one of the shopkeepers, who had noticed the pedlar, came out of his shop to ask him what he was doing. When he explained about the dream, the shopkeeper laughed at the pedlar. He too had had a dream once.  In his dream he had gone to an orchard in Swaffham and under a specific oak tree he had dug and found a great treasure. But, the shopkeeper said he was not stupid enough to believe such dreams.

The pedlar returned to Swaffham, despondent, but decided to find the tree the shopkeeper had spoken of.  He dug under the tree and found a pot with a very large treasure.

The legend of course evolved, and today it is told that the pedlar had the pot proudly displayed in his house, when a visitor noticed a Latin inscription on the pot that, translated, told of a much richer treasure under ‘this pot’.  The two friends went to dig deeper around the tree and of course, they found a much bigger treasure.

This legend in an adaption of a story found in the ‘Arabian Nights’ and it is believed it was given a local twist to explain a medieval carving in the church in Swaffham which shows a man with a pack on his back and a dog, as well as a shopkeeper and the word CHAPMAN, which was the old word for pedlar. The story first appeared in the mid-1650s in a letter by William Dugdale and has remained a part of Swaffham history ever since.

Image: Travelers Today and is of a Lego creation of Old London Bridge.


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