Let city keep Viking hoard

A father-of-three who uncovered a hoard of Viking silver is hoping the find will be secured by a Lancashire museum.'Darren Webster's find was officially declared treasure by Deputy Coroner Simon Jones, at an inquest at Preston Coroner's Court.
A father-of-three who uncovered a hoard of Viking silver is hoping the find will be secured by a Lancashire museum.'Darren Webster's find was officially declared treasure by Deputy Coroner Simon Jones, at an inquest at Preston Coroner's Court.

LANCASTER City Museum would be the “ideal place” for a hoard of Viking coins and jewellery found near Silverdale, the British Museum has said.

Gareth Williams, who attended a talk in Lancaster on Monday, said an assumption that large finds should go to the national museum was “an old-fashioned view”.

The hoard of coins and jewellery was found near Silverdale, in September 2011, by metal detector enthusiast Darren Webster.

Mr Williams, the British Museum’s curator of early medieval coinage, department of coins and medals, said housing it in Lancaster will help the understanding of local Viking history.

Alan Sandham, chairman of the Friends of Lancaster City Museum, said: “We would naturally welcome the items becoming a part of Lancaster City Museum’s collection.”

The hoard was declared treasure by a coroner in December and is currently being valued. Any proceeds from its sale will be divided between Mr Webster and the landowner.

Mr Williams said: “It’s the third largest Viking hoard found in England.

“These days there’s more of an assumption that the normal place for important finds will be in regional museums.

“And I think Lancaster City Museum is an ideal place for it.”

The hoard contained coins bearing the name of a previously-unknown Viking ruler of northern England.

It also includes 10 complete arm rings, two finger rings, six brooch fragments, a fine wire braid and 141 fragments of chopped-up arm rings and ingots, known as hacksilver.

Sue Ashworth, collections manager at Lancashire Museums said: “We’re really thrilled to have had this discovered.

“It would be a fantastic acquisition to have.”