The Herefordshire Hoard is coming home.
Over 1,100 years since being buried in a field near Leominster, the precious Viking treasure will be looked after by Herefordshire museum service. Opening days are being agreed to give the public plenty of opportunities to see the hoard in its temporary home in Hereford’s Museum Resource and Learning Centre before it’s re-housed in Herefordshire’s prestigious new museum.
The news follows the success of the campaign to raise the funds needed to purchase the hoard, valued at £776,250. That four-month endeavour ended on Saturday 6 August.
A host of events and activities around the county were organised to help raise awareness and generate public donations. Herefordshire’s museum service is delighted so many residents engaged with those activities, with many donating cash towards the campaign.
Behind-the-scenes, applications were being made to national funding bodies. The National Heritage Memorial Fund (NHMF) provided the lion’s share of the money needed. The large grant NHMF awarded was backed up by other significant grants from the Art Fund, Garfield Weston Foundation and the Headley Trust.
In an emotional statement, Cabinet Member for Commissioning, Procurement and Assets, Councillor Gemma Davies 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 NHMF, 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. Playing a starring role in a redeveloped museum means the treasure will turbocharge our tourist economy by attracting vastly more visitors to Herefordshire.
As well as people coming in from outside the county, the exquisite artefacts that make up the hoard will also support education programmes run in Herefordshire schools and colleges, helping our young people better understand the county’s ancient history. Huge thanks must also go to HMSSG, our partners who, as a charity, were able to successfully secure grant funding for the campaign.
“For me, this sensational success marks a new beginning for Herefordshire’s cultural offering. Thanks to absolutely everybody involved for making this happen.”
Huge support from around the country
On their support for the acquisition, Chair of the National Heritage Memorial Fund, Simon Thurley said “We are delighted to support the acquisition of the Hereford Hoard, which will not only be an exciting addition to Herefordshire museums but also to the story of the county and its history.
“The public support the campaign has received demonstrates just how important heritage treasures are to so many and it’s fitting that the hoard will ‘come home’ to the place where it was buried 1,100 years ago.”
Thanking their members, Director of Art Fund, Jenny Waldman said “We are so excited to have played a part in bringing the Herefordshire Hoard home. The story of this extraordinary treasure, which lay undisturbed for over 1000 years only to fall into the wrong hands, cannot fail to fascinate.
“Hereford Museum and Art Gallery is the best possible place to share these evocative objects with as many people as possible, now and for future generations. It is thanks to our members that Art Fund can support such important acquisitions.”
Speaking to the importance of the Hoard, Chief Executive of the Sainsbury Family Charitable Trusts, of which the Headley Trust is one of the largest trusts, Karen Everett said “Our trustees are delighted to be able to help save the Herefordshire Hoard for the county and the nation. The Headley Trust has been helping regional museums acquire treasure and valuable archaeological finds of considerable local, and sometimes national significance, for nearly 20 years. During that time, the trust has awarded grants to over 90 different regional museums, art galleries and heritage centres for over 350 items, and the trustees are pleased to be able to help on this occasion.”
Judy Stevenson, Hereford Museum team leader who will be looking after the public as they come to see the Hoard, added “We couldn’t be more thrilled about this. Everyone at the museum service is over the moon knowing the hoard is coming home, where it can be cherished by the people who deserve it most – the people of Herefordshire. Thanks to everyone involved.”
Visit the Herefordshire Hoard
For future updates, please visit the Herefordshire Hoard website.
Photo Credit: Herefordshire Hoard