Herefordshire Council buys medieval treasures - Museums Association

Herefordshire Council buys medieval treasures

Herefordshire Hoard will be housed in redeveloped museum
Treasure
A gold octagonal finger ring from the Herefordshire Hoard
A gold octagonal finger ring from the Herefordshire Hoard

Herefordshire Council has successfully raised the money to purchase the Herefordshire Hoard.

The hoard, which was buried in a field near Leominster more than 1,100 years ago, was valued at £776,250. The council had four months to raise the funds.

The treasure will now be looked after by Herefordshire museum service, initially in a temporary home at Hereford’s Museum Resource and Learning Centre. It will later be rehoused in Hereford Museum and Art Gallery, which is to undergo an £18m redevelopment.

Councillor Gemma Davies, cabinet member for commissioning, procurement and assets, said: “I feel genuinely emotional about this. First, I want to say a massive thanks to the organisations that looked so favourably on our applications and awarded us funding to secure the hoard for the people of Herefordshire. 

“Without the unbelievably generous support of the National Heritage Memorial Fund, the Art Fund, Garfield Weston Foundation and the Headley Trust, it’s highly unlikely we would be here celebrating the conclusion of our fundraising campaign.

“It’s also impossible to know how to adequately thank members of the public for their generosity. In the midst of a cost of living crisis, it’s amazing that our residents had the presence of mind to grasp how important it is to house the hoard in its home county.”

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The Herefordshire Hoard is an Anglo-Saxon and Viking age hoard that was buried in about 878. The small portion of the hoard recovered so far includes include a gold arm bangle with beast head clasp, a pendant made from a rock crystal sphere encased within a gold decorative cage, a gold octagonal ring with black inlay, a silver ingot and 29 silver coins.

The hoard was found buried in a privately owned field at Eye, near Leominster, in 2015 by two metal detectorists. The finders did not have permission to be on the land and did not declare their finds to the local Coroner’s Office or the museum service, which is a legal requirement under the Treasure Act (1996). Instead, they began to sell objects from the hoard on the illicit market. 

Following notification from the local finds liaison officer, West Mercia Police launched an investigation. This resulted in four people being found guilty of crimes relating to the hoard in 2019 with three receiving lengthy prison sentences.

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