Treasure trove: the Watlington Hoard

Round & About

James Mather shares the story behind the 1,200-year-old journey of his remarkable find.

Imagine finding items more than 1,200 years old and then finding out they are worth £1.35million…

That’s exactly what happened to metal detectorist James Mather when he unearthed the first large Viking hoard to ever have been discovered in Oxfordshire in 2015.

The Watlington Hoard was declared “treasure” by a coroner the following year and a fundraising effort launched to enable Oxford’s Ashmolean Museum to acquire the find.

Thanks to key grants, the museum was able to save the hoard which included about 200 coins, items of jewellery and silver ingots, for the nation. Many of the coins are of great significance, being from Alfred the Great, King of Wessex, 871 to 899.

This month, James will tell all about his hobby of responsible metal detecting and share the stories of some of his more exciting and unusual finds recorded over the past 25 years which include much more than just the Watlington Hoard.

There’ll also be the chance to get “up close and personal” with some of his treasures as he’ll bring along a number of “hands on” finds.

James has given a number of well-received talks and has appeared on local radio and national TV and this talk promises to be a real treat.

• The Abingdon & District National Trust Association talk takes place at Trinity Church Hall, in Conduit Road, Abingdon, at 2.30pm on Tuesday, 22nd January. Everyone is welcome and the group asks for a small donation of £3 for non-members.

  For more information, please call Ruth on 01235 524119.