Today, you could get rich quick by winning the lottery, but, long ago, poor people stayed poor and finding a horde of treasure was your only hope! The idea of buried treasure or gold has inspired many a myth or legend and one such story involves Callow Pit.
The pit lies on the boundary of the parishes of Southwood and Moulton in Norfolk. There is a tradition that an iron chest, filled with gold, is hidden deep in its depths!
One summer's day, many years ago, two daring and adventurous young men noticed the unusually low level of the water in the pit and grasped their chance. Times were hard and a chest full of gold would transform their lives. They felt it worth the risk of falling into the dark forbidding waters.
The young men were determined to obtain the gold, so they formed a platform of ladders that bridged the pit and slowly and carefully searched the dark waters.
After much difficulty, they found the chest and passed a pole through the ring of the chest lid. With a great effort they hauled it up from the waters.
Jubilant, the young men placed the pole on their shoulders and prepared to bear off their prize across the bridge of ladders.
They laughed as they clasped the chest and one of them cried, "We've got it safe. Not even Old Nick (the devil) can get it from us now!"
In an instant, the pit was enveloped in a cloud of steam with a strong choking sulphurous smell; a black hand and arm rose from the depths and, emerging through the water, grasped the chest.
A terrific struggle took place - the young men pulling to secure the chest, the devil to recover it. It was an uneven contest.
Unable to bear the enormous strain, the chest was ripped from the pole by which the men had it secured and the chest, with the gold, sank beneath the water, never again to be seen by a mortal eye.
The young adventurers carried away nothing. Well, that is not quite true, for there was one reminder of their tussle with the devil as, during the struggle, the ring of the chest had snapped away and was still attached to the pole!
The young men placed the ring on Southwood Church door, where it still serves to close the door and to remind those who visit the church, both of the truth of the legend and the danger of challenging the devil.
As for the mysterious pit, although the devil's hand has never been seen again, it is said that a headless horseman rides at midnight, from Callow Pit to a place called Cantley Spong, a distance of about a mile. So the pit may still have new mysteries and stories to tell.