South Scotland

Bid to display Viking treasure trove in Kirkcudbright

Image caption In total, more than 100 items were recovered, including armbands, a cross and brooches

One of the most important hoards of Viking treasure ever found in Scotland could go on display in Kirkcudbright.

Efforts are being made to secure the haul for exhibition in a planned "art gallery of national significance" in the town.

A group called the Kirkcudbright Charter has drawn up plans for a £3.16m transformation of the local town hall.

The Viking treasure, which included more than 100 gold and silver objects, was found in the Stewartry last year.

It was discovered by retired Ayrshire businessman Derek McLennan, as he combed a field with a metal detector in September.

The hoard, which is believed to be worth up to £1m, also includes important Anglo-Saxon artefacts.

Image copyright MJ Richardson
Image caption Plans have been drawn up to transform Kirkcudbright Town Hall into an art gallery of 'national significance'
Image copyright National museum of Scotland
Image caption Among the objects within the hoard is an early Christian cross thought to date from the 9th or 10th century

Representatives of the Kirkcudbright Charter have described the discovery as an "important opportunity" for their project.

In a report to Dumfries and Galloway Council's community and customer services committee, councillors have been told: "It is considered that securing this for the gallery would be of significant local interest and would also broaden the demographic of potential visitors."

However it is likely they will have to bid against the National Museum of Scotland for the valuable discovery, as it is of "national significance".

Treasure Trove, which ensures significant historic objects are preserved for museums, will make the final decision.

The council report also reveals that a new Kirkcudbright art gallery is expected to attract 40,000 visitors a year and it is predicted they could spent about £1.4m in the region.

The Heritage Lottery Fund will be asked for about £1.5m to fund the art gallery project, while the council will be asked to support the funding application with a capital investment of £1.655m.

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Follow the discussion on the BBC South of Scotland Live page.

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