A VIKING drama that unravelled a few years ago has led the battle for cultural recovery in Herefordshire as the county commits itself to improving its libraries and museums.

The campaign to return the Herefordshire Hoard, an Anglo Saxon and Viking age treasure, buried around c.878 and discovered in Eye, near Leominster, by detectorists in 2015, was launched with a Viking Fun Day at the Rowing Club on 10 April.

The story of the hoard is an intriguing detective story which will be featured in Hereford’s refurbished museum when the treasure finally returns to the county. By that time it is hoped that the current museum and library will be a ‘world-class’ museum, sitting alongside jewels like Hereford Cathedral, the Mappa Mundi and the Chained Library.

Gemma Davies, coalition councillor, has championed the creation of the new museum, and moving the library to Maylord Orchard where it will sit alongside a learning resource centre creating a community hub in the heart of Hereford.


Speaking after the success of the Viking Fun Day, Gemma said: ‘It was absolutely packed when I got there! Full of young people excited about history. I loved it and this is exactly what we will be able to do all the time in the new museum. We want to use our past to help enthuse a love of learning in our future.’

Leominster’s incoming mayor, Trish Marsh, said bold moves to save libraries and museums have saved Herefordshire’s culture. ‘‘When the coalition was voted in during May 2019 elections the museum was about to be totally written out of the budget and the libraries were also on a steep downward trajectory. Now the position is entirely different and the redevelopment of the Hereford museum and art gallery to create a new high quality visitor attraction has been approved – and funding is being found to develop our ideas into reality. This will only be good news for our heritage and cultural recovery and economy as we build on the incredible strengths and resources in the county.’

‘We know that once the hoard is back, we will be able to feature some of its glory here in Leominster, not far from where it was buried all those years ago. It’s terribly exciting at a time when there seems to be so much bad news around.’

Gemma Davies said: ‘Herefordshire’s delivery plan for 2022-23 has committed itself to investment and improvement of libraries and museums as part of the county’s economic, cultural, environmental and family recovery plans.’

Davies said: ‘The delivery plan is ambitious, but we are realistic about the scale of the challenge - the loss of government funding, rising costs and changing demands means facing tough choices about where to focus resources. Our day to day services are crucial for residents to get on with their everyday lives, for businesses to thrive, and provide support to people at different stages of their lives. This delivery plan focuses on commitments beyond those day to day services to show how the council will continue improving life in life in Herefordshire.