His Lucky Day!

Roadworker discovers treasure

By Cheryl Bailey

In February 1880 a new road was being constructed between Wrythe Lane and Sutton and one of several labourers was employed to grub up hedges.  The next day he did not return to work, saying that he had suddenly inherited some money.  A rumour flew around that he had, in fact, uncovered a hoard of  700 gold sovereigns under the hedge.  This would be a lot of money to discover today, but in 1880 its value was well over a quarter of a million pounds.

At first it was thought the find might be connected with a fairly recent robbery in Sutton but eventually it was linked to a robbery in Brighton two years previously when three men named Chitty, Clements and Stedman had taken 700 sovereigns and half sovereigns from an eccentric old money lender who didn't trust banks and kept all his money in his house.  They had broken down the door while he was out. All three were convicted but only a few pounds were found in the soil of a flowerpot at one of their homes.

Following the rumour of the find, an Inspector Gibbs spoke to Stedman who had only been convicted as an accessory and was out of prison by 1880.  He took the inspector to Carshalton and indicated the place where the money had been hidden - the very same area where the workman had been working.

Meanwhile, the lucky workman had become elusive and was reported to be spending his time drinking and taking cabs.  I have not been able to discover whether the police ever caught up with him!

This page was added by Cheryl Bailey on 19/01/2012.
Comments about this page

Hi, fantastic little story. Just a little snippet, but it brightened my day, THANKS.

By Vince Bridle
On 02/09/2012

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