Wednesday, 16 June 2021

Treasure is saved

A £1.35MILLION appeal to buy a treasure trove discovered in Watlington has reached its target.

The Ashmolean Museum in Oxford will now purchase the collection of about 200 Anglo-Saxon coins, 15 ingots and seven items of jewellery dating from the time of King Alfred the Great.

There were fears that if the money wasn’t raised the Watlington Hoard would be broken up and sold at auction to private collectors.

More than 700 members of the public contributed to the appeal with the Heritage Lottery Fund giving a grant of £1.05 million. With a further £150,000 from Art Fund and contributions from private individuals and the friends and patrons of the Ashmolean, the museum reached its target before Tuesday’s deadline.

The hoard was discovered by James Mather, a metal detectorist from Tilehurst, in a field in October 2015.

Museum director Dr Xa Sturgis said: “The Watlington Hoard is one of the most exciting and important acquisitions we have ever made, particularly significant because it was found in Oxfordshire.”

The museum will launch an events and education programme for the hoard, beginning on February 11 when the treasures will be put on display at the Oxfordshire Museum in Woodstock for just over a month.

The hoard will eventually be go on permanent display in the England Gallery at the Ashmolean.

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