Staffordshire Hoard to stay in Britain for good

view gallery VIEW GALLERY

£3.3m fundraising drive saves Anglo-Saxon gold for the nation

When it was dramatically uncovered by an unemployed amateur metal detector last summer, the vast haul of Anglo-Saxon gold and silver now known as the Staffordshire Hoard was hailed as the finest example of treasure hidden by the founding fathers of the British Isles.

Yesterday, it was confirmed that the collection of ornate sword pommels, helmet parts and processional crosses will remain on display in this country, after they were "saved for the nation" through a combination of local fundraising and a government heritage fund.

The hoard was unearthed on farmland in Staffordshire on 5 July last year by Terry Herbert, a 55-year-old metal-detecting enthusiast from Burntwood. It was later valued at £3.3m by the independent Treasure Valuation Committee, a sum which will be split between Mr Herbert and Fred Johnson, who owns the land on which it was found.

Members of the public donated more than £900,000 towards an appeal to ensure the hoard remained in the region where it was found. Birmingham and Stoke city councils contributed £100,000 each, and the independent charity the Art Fund donated £300,000.

Yesterday, the National Heritage Memorial Fund, which was set up to save heritage items at risk of being sold off, pledged a further £1.285m. This grant helped the fundraising total reach its £3.3m target, meaning that the hoard can now be purchased and displayed permanently in the UK.

The campaign had been given a deadline of 17 April to raise the sum, and failure to do so would have resulted in a public sale. While this could have raised more money, it might also have attracted bidders from overseas. In the end, the amount was secured more than three weeks ahead of schedule.

Mr Johnson, 65, told The Independent yesterday that he was happy with his share of the money. "Some people said it would make more on the open market, but I didn't want it to go out of the area," he said. "It belongs to this country, really, because it's Saxon. Besides, there's always the chance that it might not have made as much if it had been sold privately, and I didn't want it to come to that."

Jim Wall, the secretary of Bloxwich Research and Metal Detecting Club, of which Mr Herbert is now the most famous member, added: "It's great that this funding has been found to save the hoard for the nation. I think it's evident from the huge amount of people who've been to see it in Birmingham and Stoke-on-Trent that there's huge interest in it, which can only be a good thing.

"The letters pages of the local newspapers are full of ideas about where it should be kept, and everybody in the Midlands region has shown an interest. It's got people talking, sparked a lot of conversation and has made them more aware of history."

Stephen Deuchar, the director of the Art Fund, said he had been "absolutely bowled over" by the enthusiasm and generosity of those who donated money. Donations from members of the public ranged from £1 to £100,000.

The collection, which dates back to the 7th century, is made up of more than 1,600 items, mostly gold and silver. The largest collection of Anglo-Saxon treasure ever discovered, it is believed to have been buried by its owners at a time of danger and never recovered. More than 100,000 people have so far viewed the hoard, which has been displayed in Stoke-on-Trent, Birmingham and at the British Museum.

The historian and broadcaster Dr David Starkey, who helped to launch the fundraising campaign in Birmingham, said: "This is wonderful news for historians worldwide – the Staffordshire Hoard provides us with vital clues to our ancient past, and now we can set about decoding them."

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Life and Style
Divers at Bouldnor Cliff underwater site in the Solent off the Isle of Wight, where the silt sample containing the einkorn DNA was found
Life and Style
A monstrous idea? Body transplants might no longer be science fiction
Science An Italian neurosurgeon believes so - and it's not quite as implausible as it sounds, says Steve Connor
Demba Ba (right) celebrates after Besiktas win on penalties
footballThere was no happy return to the Ataturk Stadium, where the Reds famously won Champions League
Arts and Entertainment
Natural beauty: Aidan Turner stars in the new series of Poldark
arts + ents
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
Mia Freedman, editorial director of the Mamamia website, reads out a tweet she was sent.
arts + ents
Arts and Entertainment
The write stuff: masters of story-telling James Joyce, left, and Thomas Hardy
arts + ents...begging to differ, John Walsh can't even begin to number the ways
Jose Mourinho on Sky Sports
footballEXCLUSIVE COLUMN Paul Scholes: It was not a leg-breaking tackle, as the Chelsea manager had claimed
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Bookkeeper

£23000 - £26000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This small, friendly, proactive...

Recruitment Genius: Photographic Event Crew

£14500 - £22800 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: Software Developers - .NET / ASP.NET / WebAPI / JavaScript

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: A Software Developer is required to join a lea...

Austen Lloyd: Corporate Tax Solicitor - City

Excellent Salary: Austen Lloyd: A first rate opportunity to join a top ranking...

Day In a Page

HIV pill: Scientists hail discovery of 'game-changer' that cuts the risk of infection among gay men by 86%

Scientists hail daily pill that protects against HIV infection

Breakthrough in battle against global scourge – but will the NHS pay for it?
How we must adjust our lifestyles to nature: Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch

Time to play God

Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch where we may need to redefine nature itself
MacGyver returns, but with a difference: Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman

MacGyver returns, but with a difference

Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman
Tunnel renaissance: Why cities are hiding roads down in the ground

Tunnel renaissance

Why cities are hiding roads underground
'Backstreet Boys - Show 'Em What You're Made Of': An affectionate look at five middle-aged men

Boys to men

The Backstreet Boys might be middle-aged, married and have dodgy knees, but a heartfelt documentary reveals they’re not going gently into pop’s good night
Crufts 2015: Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?

Crufts 2015

Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?
10 best projectors

How to make your home cinema more cinematic: 10 best projectors

Want to recreate the big-screen experience in your sitting room? IndyBest sizes up gadgets to form your film-watching
Manchester City 1 Barcelona 2 player ratings: Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man?

Manchester City vs Barcelona player ratings

Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man at the Etihad?
Arsenal vs Monaco: Monaco - the making of Gunners' manager Arsene Wenger

Monaco: the making of Wenger

Jack Pitt-Brooke speaks to former players and learns the Frenchman’s man-management has always been one of his best skills
Cricket World Cup 2015: Chris Gayle - the West Indies' enigma lives up to his reputation

Chris Gayle: The West Indies' enigma

Some said the game's eternal rebel was washed up. As ever, he proved he writes the scripts by producing a blistering World Cup innings
In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare and murky loyalties prevails

In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare

This war in the shadows has been going on since the fall of Mr Yanukovych
'Birdman' and 'Bullets Over Broadway': Homage or plagiarism?

Homage or plagiarism?

'Birdman' shares much DNA with Woody Allen's 'Bullets Over Broadway'
Broadchurch ends as damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

A damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

Broadchurch, Series 2 finale, review
A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower: inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

Inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower