£776,250 fundraiser launched to bring Viking early medieval treasure back home

A campaign has been launched to raise £776,250 to bring a history-changing Viking hoard that was discovered in a field near the south Shropshire border back 'home'.

A unique gold octagonal finger ring dated to the 9th century with black niello rosette and flower motifs on each of its eight facets. It is decorated in the Anglo-Saxon Trewhiddle style.
A unique gold octagonal finger ring dated to the 9th century with black niello rosette and flower motifs on each of its eight facets. It is decorated in the Anglo-Saxon Trewhiddle style.

The Herefordshire Hoard is a very significant treasure that experts believe may have been buried by the Viking Great Army more than 1,100 years ago.

Discovered in a field near Leominster, it includes three items of gold jewellery, a silver ingot and 29 silver coins, including a number of rare ‘two emperor’ coins.

Enthusiasts are applying to heritage and art funders, corporate bodies and other interested parties to help raise funding towards the £776,250 purchase price of the hoard. The aim is to raise most of the necessary funding through those professional bodies.

As well as being of interest to the county’s residents, the hoard is expected to attract significant numbers of visitors from across Britain and beyond. This will help stimulate the visitor economy and benefit local businesses.

Councillor Gemma Davies, Herefordshire Council's cabinet member for commissioning, procurement and assets, said: “The Herefordshire Hoard is part of the county’s history.

"The fact that some of the coins from different kingdoms share designs and features actually changes our understanding of the relationship between Wessex and Mercia at the time.

"The hoard would be an invaluable asset for Hereford Museum and Art Gallery, for the county as a whole and for anyone with the slightest interest in history. I really look forward to seeing it where it belongs, in Herefordshire.”

Jane Adams, chair of Herefordshire Museum Service Support Group (HMSSG), said: “Bringing the Herefordshire Hoard home will mean that all schoolchildren studying the Anglo-Saxon and Viking period will be able to examine evidence from our local region.”

HMSSG also hopes to raise £70,000 from the public towards the purchase of the hoard.

People will be able to give cash donations during an event held between 10.30am and 3.30pm on Sunday April 10 at Hereford Rowing Club. This free, fun family day will feature a Viking village as well as a range of activities to suit all ages.

Judy Stevenson, team leader at Herefordshire Museum Services, says: “The event hopes to raise awareness of what life was like in 9th century England, before it was a united kingdom. We also hope those who can will make a small donation towards our campaign to bring the hoard home to Herefordshire.”

The Herefordshire Hoard is said to be one of the most significant early medieval treasures ever discovered in Britain.

Its discovery was revealed through reports from the Crown Court in Worcester.

In November 2019, four men were found guilty of concealing, stealing and selling the ‘Viking’ treasure they had recovered illicitly from a field in Eye, near Leominster, four years earlier.

The men were sentenced to a combined jail term of more than 23 years, ranging from 12 months to 10 years.

The small portion of the hoard recovered so far includes three gold ornaments, a silver ingot, and 29 silver coins.

But photos recovered by police suggest that, when complete, the hoard had contained several more ingots and around 300 coins.

At the time the hoard was buried in the late ninth century, Britain was divided into different kingdoms, including Wessex and Mercia.

Those kingdoms were individually fighting for survival against the Viking invaders.

If successful, the hoard could be given a permanent new home in the redeveloped, council-run Hereford Museum and Art Gallery.

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